by Lydia Schrandt for USA TODAY 10Best

(Virtually) visit Quebec City

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French-speaking Quebec City, perched on the banks of the St. Lawrence River, feels like a slice of Europe in North America. Explore it from afar on this virtual tour.

In a city well-known for its European-style architecture, no building is quite as iconic as the Château Frontenac. This grand structure has served as a luxury hotel since 1893.

Photo courtesy of Tourisme Québec / Paul Fleming

Some 30 sets of stairs link the Upper and Lower Towns, and the Breakneck Stairs are the oldest. This set of 59 steps linking côte de la Montagne with rue du Petit-Champlain was completed in 1635.

The Fontaine de Tourny was gifted to the City of Quebec in 2007 to celebrate the city’s 400th anniversary. It was one of six designed by French sculptor Mathurin Moreau in 1853.

Photo courtesy of Ville de Québec / Québec City Tourism

The Petit-Champlain in Old Quebec dates back more than 400 years, home to cobbled streets permeated with a rich sense of history.

Photo courtesy of Luc-Antoine Couturier / Québec City Tourism

Millions of people visit the Plains of Abraham each year. This sprawling park is more than a green space; it’s a part of Quebec’s history – the site of a battle between the French and British in 1759.

Parc de la Chute-Montmorency is best known for its 272-foot-tall Montmorency Falls. Ride a cable car to the top of the falls for a breathtaking view.

Photo courtesy of François Gamache / Québec City Tourism

Rue du Trésor in Old Quebec doubles as an outdoor art gallery, where local artists sell their paintings, engravings and other works. The street gets its name from the royal treasury once located here.

The Citadel of Quebec is the largest British-built fortress in North America. Today, it serves as the home of the Canadian Armed Forces’ only Francophone infantry contingent.

Porte Saint-Jean serves as one of four remaining entry points through the fortified walls surrounding Old Quebec. Climb the steps to the top of the gate for views of rue Saint-Jean below.

Photo courtesy of Luc-Antoine Couturier / Québec City Tourism

Quebecers know how to embrace the winter weather, and snow sledding has been one of the region’s most popular pastimes since the mid-nineteenth century.

In Île d’Orléans, visitors can go wine tasting, pick fresh summer strawberries, attend a culinary workshop or tour ancestral homes dating back to the 1700s.

Foodies shouldn’t leave Quebec without sampling poutine. Chefs around town have put many spins on this regional comfort food, often made with fries, fresh cheese curds and brown gravy.

During the annual Winter Carnival, ice canoe teams – with spiked paddles and shoes outfitted with inch-long screws – paddle, push, "scooter" and pull their boats across the St. Lawrence River.

Photo courtesy of Renaud Philippe / Québec City Tourism

If you want to spend the night in an ice hotel without leaving North America, you’ll have to visit Quebec. The Hôtel de Glace, open from January to March, is made entirely of snow and ice.

Come winter, ice skating rinks begin popping up in plazas, parks, back lanes and forest trails throughout Quebec City.

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