Largely French-speaking Québec is Canada's largest province and consists of hilly agricultural land along the banks of the St Lawrence and vast tracts of barren mountains in the north: a breathtaking panorama of towering rock faces, 13,323km (8279 miles) of coastline, looming canyons and craggy fjords.
The province's three national parks, 23 provincial parks and 15 wildlife reserves beckon outdoor enthusiasts. More than 100,000 lakes and numerous rivers offer excellent fishing. In the tundra of Québec's Far North, caribou and other game roam the land.
What distinguishes Québec from other Canadian provinces is its French heritage, sustained for over 400 years. Québec's official language is French and Montréal (the province's largest city) is the largest French-speaking city in the world after Paris. Both it and provincial capital Québec City have lively old sections of cobblestoned streets where the atmosphere is overwhelmingly French.
Indeed, there is a strong separatist movement that has put the province at odds with the rest of Canada, its aim to secure sovereignty for Québec or at least win greater autonomy. Nevertheless, two referendums held in 1980 and 1995 to determine the fate of the province returned a 'no' to the issue of separation.
Regardless of politics, Québec offers a friendly welcome to all who visit, not to mention the greatest gastronomy in Canada, cosmopolitan shopping, wide, sandy beaches, and excellent facilities for adventures ranging from winter sports and watersports to hiking.