We visited Quebec City for a week recently through a Road Scholar program. We were steeped in history, food, art, and architecture of the older part of the beautiful city under the enthusiastic guidance of a group leader and two experts. Perfect weather and a diversity of experiences and restaurants made for a wonderful week. We had a few distinct impressions from the visit.

The people of Quebec City are proud of their city and quite devoted to it. They were all cordial to us visitors and to each other. It’s almost like a city with a small-town vibe. They mention being the third-safest city in the world.

Everybody we encountered, no matter what role or age was effortlessly bilingual. Their native language is French but they immediately switch to excellent English when they sense they’re talking with a non-native. They were unfailingly polite and friendly.

We had the sense that Canadians made more progress reconciling issues with treatment of what we call native Americans or indigenous peoples. Canada refers to them, perhaps more descriptively, as First Nations.

Winters in the city are apparently challenging with lots of snow and frigid temperatures. Quebec City has ordinances requiring building owners to shovel their roofs at least twice in the winter. It’s obvious why when walking along the old narrow streets surrounded by 17th and 18th century buildings with classic French and English style roofs ready to shed ice and snow unexpectedly.

All signs are in French. All temperatures, weights, and distances are metric. (Sigh. Some day the US might limp toward the far more rational metric system.) Google helps us foreigners contend plus the guides were adept at making mental conversations for our benefit.

All told, it’s a delightful city with wonderful people and it was a welcome respite from our American cranky and weary doldrums.