Drive half a day north from Boston, and you arrive in French-speaking Québec City, established in 1608 on a strategic bluff above the St. Lawrence River, still surrounded by its wall.
Charles Dickens' 19th-century description of the place still holds true: "The impression made upon the visitor by this Gibraltar of America, its giddy heights, its citadel suspended, as it were, in the air; its picturesque steep streets and frowning gateways; and the splendid views which burst upon the eye at every turn, is at once unique and lasting.”
“I still remember the harbour far beneath me, sparkling like silver in the sun, the answering headlands of Point Levis on the south-east, the frowning Cap Tourmente abruptly bounding the seaward view in the north-east…You look out from the ramparts of the citadel beyond the frontiers of civilization. Yonder small group of hills [form] the portals of the wilds which are trodden only by the feet of the Indian hunters as far as Hudson's Bay."
Mid-summer in Québec city is one giant festival. Come in July for a plethora of outdoor performances in the late-lingering twilight: http://www.infofestival.com/