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Wandering through the narrow, cobbled streets of Old Québec City may leave you with a distinct sense of dysphoria, wherein you'll find yourself asking, "Am I in Europe, or still in Canada?" Cafés spill out onto the street, narrow alleys twist and turn between masonry buildings, and the Québécois dialect of French fills the air. There are even city walls, still intact from the days when the British and French fought for dominance of the region recognizing the importance of such an outpost in the New World.
Despite this connection to the past, including a UNESCO World Heritage Site designation, Quebec City isn't afraid of looking forward. Traditional dishes, like pâté chinois (sheperd's pie), are featured on menus alongside warm duck liver salad and microbrews from around the region. Innovation exists in the kitchens of yore - heralding visitors in from the cold winters.
Not to say, of course, that the locals are afraid of the cold. Residents have plenty of options for getting outside all year round, with no less than four ski resorts within driving distance, endless snowshoe trails, precipitous valleys covered in ice perfect for climbing, and even an internationally renowned Winter Festival that lights the city with excitement for nearly two weeks in January and February. Oh, and did we mention the art scene? The only fights happening around the city walls nowadays are about what to do with your time in this timeless destination.