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The Province of Quebec is the largest francophone political area outside of mainland France. From the 16th to the 18th centuries it formed the heart of the nascent French empire in North America. Coming under British rule in the mid 18th century, it was allowed to maintain many aspects of French law and custom, including the practice of the Roman Catholic religion, which was banned in other British-ruled areas at the time. Today it is a massive bloc between the English and Acadian French-speaking Atlantic Provinces on the east and Ontario and the western provinces to the west. Its two great cities, while both French-speaking, are different ...

The Province of Quebec is the largest francophone political area outside of mainland France. From the 16th to the 18th centuries it formed the heart of the nascent French empire in North America. Coming under British rule in the mid 18th century, it was allowed to maintain many aspects of French law and custom, including the practice of the Roman Catholic religion, which was banned in other British-ruled areas at the time. Today it is a massive bloc between the English and Acadian French-speaking Atlantic Provinces on the east and Ontario and the western provinces to the west. Its two great cities, while both French-speaking, are different in almost all respects. The western metropolis, Montreal, is a modern and dynamic city. Essentially bi-lingual, Montreal is the major financial and commercial city in the province. It abounds with exciting new architecture, cutting-edge art and multi-cultural vibrance. To the east, older Québec rules over what were the original settlements and is the most truly European city in Canada or the United States. It is the only completely walled city in North America. The high bluffs of the city offer commanding perspectives on the St. Lawrence River at their feet. Between the St. Lawrence River and the U.S. border lies a great agricultural plain. A section of this area, the Eastern Townships, includes an exciting year-around vacation and outdoor sport area, including excellent skiing, although it is less well-known than the bigger mountains in the Laurentians. Farther east the rugged and formerly isolated Gaspe Peninsula provides additional touring and outdoor sports opportunities. Off-shore and reached by air or by ferry from Prince Edward Island, the beautiful Îles de la Madeleine are the province’s idyllic summer playground, marked by golden beaches and charming auberges.

Barbara Rogers
About the Expert

Barbara Radcliffe Rogers has written or coauthored more than 30 guidebooks, including The Portugal Traveler, Drive Around Portugal, City Spots Munich, City Spots Helsinki, City Spots Stockholm, Eating New England, and the Maine section of Thomas Cook's Independent Traveller USA.

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