This is Montmorency Falls, near Québec City, Canada. I missed it the last time I was in town in 2002, because it was January, and people don’t visit the falls during the winter unless they want to go ice climbing.

I wish I had. It’s taller than Niagara Falls, and in many ways, it’s more accessible because of its cable car and bridge. Takes a good picture, too.

I know I’m not the first person to say this, but after two days in the provincial capital, I feel like I’ve been to France. Oh, I know the Québec-is-more-French-than-France thing is a travel writer cliché — but that doesn’t make it any less true.

Something else I missed when I visited Québec City almost a decade ago: All this green!

Here’s a view of the capitol building and Old Town, straddling the St. Lawrence River. I remember the grays and whites of mid-winter, but never had the opportunity to appreciate how many parks and trees the city has.

I’ll have more on our adventure in National Geographic Traveler’s Intelligent Travel blog. In the meantime, I wanted to make one observation about visiting Québec that might be helpful when you come here.

The culture is irresistible.

Our kids took to the Québec lifestyle frighteningly fast. They watched French-language programs on TV. They played with kids in the park who didn’t speak any English, and somehow managed to communicate just fine. Our youngest daughter even started saying a few words in French.

It is an easy culture to like, with its emphasis on good food and a slower pace of life than what we’re used to in the States.