French really is the official language here, but we were able to get by with my high school French, smiling and pointing. There is a beautiful stone wall surrounding “Old Quebec” that you can walk on. These ramparts are the only remaining fortified city walls in the Americas north of Mexico, and were declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1985 as the “Historic District of Old Quebec”.
The wall was originally built by the French to keep out the British. The British did not set out, however, to persecute Quebec’s native French population. The Quebec Act, (1774) allowed the Québécois to have religious freedom. The French-Canadians were therefore not unhappy enough with British rule to choose to participate in the American Revolution. Without Canadian cooperation against the British, the thirteen colonies instead attempted to invade Canada. The city was therefore once again under siege during the Battle of Quebec (1775). The initial attack was a failure due to American inexperience with the extremely cold December temperatures. Benedict Arnold refused to accept the defeat in the Battle of Quebec and a siege against the city continued until 1776 when the American army finally retreated.