Founded by fur trappers, Montreal is now the largest French-speaking city outside France. Cosmopolitan and lively, it is a center for cinema, high fashion and finance. Here the finest shops are underground, around the modern subway. Ascend Mont-Royal for a view, or venture into the Laurentian Mountains for the stunning scenery.
The only walled city in North America and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Quebec City has a distinct French flavor and is blessed with a spectacular location on a cliff overlooking the St. Lawrence River. Dominating the skyline is the splendid hotel Chateau Frontenac, a romantic sight with its steep-pitched roofs and French-style turrets. Quebec City is an explorer's delight with cobblestoned streets, 17th and 18th-century buildings, an immense star-shaped fortress and a funicular that you can ride between the upper and lower towns. Visit the Petit Champlain quarter, the oldest part, the Place des Armes and Plains of Abraham-all with a genteel, European character.
The largest Fjord in eastern North America, this majestic fjord was created during the last Ice Age when glaciers deepened an ancient river bed. In some places the cliffs tower 1500 feet above the river and you'll delight in watching for cavorting whales at the junction of the Saguenay and St. Lawrence Rivers.
Nova Scotia's second largest city, Sydney is located on Cape Breton Island. While the tradition is definitely Scottish, one of the highlights of a visit to Sydney is the restored French fortress at Louisbourg-where shopkeepers and inhabitants dress, live and produce goods in the tradition of the 18th century. At Sydney, you'll also find some of Eastern Canada's most beautiful parks and trails. The Alexander Graham Bell Museum is worth a visit, too.
Ascend the hillside streets to the Citadel, a star-shaped fort built in 1749, where the traditional Noon Gun recalls the British garrison. Visit the restored wharves of Historic Properties, now filled with shops, and Halifax Public Gardens, the oldest formal Victorian gardens in North America. Or drive out along the Lighthouse Route to the rustic fishing village of Peggy's Cove, for postcard-perfect Nova Scotian scenery: lobster pots, fishing boats, and a shining Atlantic seascape just offshore.
Drawn by the pines, granite shores, fresh lobster and stunning views from Cadillac Mountain, captains of industry once kept summer homes here. The charming little town, and all the rest, remain. And the rocky boulder beaches on its shoreline are now Acadia National Park, a preserved expanse of vintage Down East scenery.
The history and brick-laid beauty of Boston is easy to enjoy. Just follow the Freedom Trail past the Old North Church, Paul Revere Park, Fanieul Hall, the Commons, Old Ironsides and more landmarks of America's birth. Across the Charles River is Cambridge and Harvard. You can also venture to Marblehead and Salem to the south, or Lexington and Concord to the north. Back in town, you have your choice of clam chowder at the wharf, or great Italian food in the North End.