Live the French way in Quebec

A DINER at one of Quebec's restaurants is always welcome to stop by the wine store and bring a bottle along to the outlet. Provincial legislation allows it.

This is one way which Quebec has maintained its French culture.

The province offers a vibrant culture, cuisine and fine scenery.

Most vacations in Quebec begin in Montreal, the largest city in the province and its financial hub.

In Montreal, the traveller who does not speak French, will not feel helpless because there are a large number of English speakers.

Montreal is a meeting place of cultures, where English and French have come together for centuries and, more recently, where immigrants (especially from French-speaking countries) have arrived to form new communities.

The main tourist attractions in the city include Man and his World, the fair now occupying the site of Expo '67, the world fair held to celebrate Canada's centennial.

Le Musee de Beaux Arts is one of the finest art galleries in Canada and hosts some good retrospectives.

In the past decade, it has held international exhibitions, such as one by Marc Chagall.

Dining experiences will depend on individuals. For the business traveller or wealthy tourist, the traditional favourite is the Maritime Bar at the Ritz Carlton Hotel.

A short distance away, there are numerous French restaurants on Sherbrooke Street.

When wandering in the city at lunch time, the best bet is to stop by a deli, such as Schwartz's or Ben's, for the smoked meat for which the city is renowned.

Montreal is a beautiful city, but Quebec is much more attractive.

Quebec's most recognisable landmark is the Chateau Frontnac, the massive hotel perched on the rocky outcrops that dominate the city.

The chateau is situated within the old walled city, which has been well preserved to show the architecture of Quebec's original buildings.

Bars and restaurants and stores are all found among the thick stone structures.

Quebec City's greatest attraction is its history. Old Quebec is within walking distance of the National Assembly, the Citadel and the Plains of Abraham, the battle site of 1759.

Although the city is most pleasant in the summer, its finest tourist event is the Quebec Winter Carnival in February.

Another urban area of Quebec is Hull, which is across the Ottawa River from Ottawa, Canada's capital.

Its main tourist attraction is the Museum of Civilisation, a spectacular work of architecture that portrays the heritage of the country, its natives and various ethnic groups.

Visit the Gatineau Park outside Hull, a lovely wooded area that former prime minister MacKenzie King saved from loggers in the 1930s.

The best time to visit the park is in the autumn.

Quebec boasts lovely rural areas, such as the wilderness in the north where travellers can go camping.

The province also has great ski areas, outside Quebec City or Grev Rocks north of Montreal.