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The narrowing of the Saint Lawrence River approximate to Quebec City and Lévis, on the opposite bank, provided the name given to the city, Kébec, an Algonquin word meaning "where the river narrows". Founded in 1608 by Samuel de Champlain, Quebec City is one of the oldest cities in North America. The ramparts surrounding Old Quebec (Vieux-Québec) are the only remaining fortified city walls in the Americas north of Mexico, and were declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1985 as the 'Historic District of Old Québec'.
Quebec City is internationally known for its Summer Festival, Winter Carnival, and the Château Frontenac, a hotel which dominates the city skyline. The National Assembly of Quebec (provincial parliament), the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec (National Museum of Fine Arts), and the Musée de la civilisation (Museum of Civilization) are found within or near Vieux-Québec. Among the other attractions near the city are Montmorency Falls and the Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré in the town of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré.