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The Key to Quebec City

In-the-know Québécois reveal the little streets and historic gems of their capital. By Olivia Stren

Even the license plates in Quebec (tagline: "Je me souviens" or "I remember") celebrate nostalgia and The Way Things Were. But Quebec City, blowing out its 400 birthday candles this year, is not only a poetic throwback to another time but also a town in its prime. (Four hundred is the new 40?) Quebec celebrities helped the city throw a starry birthday bash: Celine Dion performed a free concert on the Plains of Abraham; theater artist Robert Lepage's 40-minute sound-and-light show "The Image Mill" was projected for 40 days onto the giant grain silos that flank the banks of the Bassin Louise; and Cirque du Soleil provided a vibrant finale in a performance on October 19. Quebec City's Lower Town, with its cobbled streets and bonhomie, is part of the city's historic district and now, also, party headquarters. Here, locals share tips for making your own memories.