One of the most delightful features of Quebec City is the centuries-old defensive wall that surrounds Vieux-Quebec, the old city.

The wall was begun just after the city’s founding in 1608 to keep out the Indians and the British. It didn’t do its job.

In 1759, the British defeated the French at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham just outside Quebec City, and the city and all French Canada was taken over by Great Britain. But the city wall was left standing, and even reinforced by the British. Fortunately the beautiful, historic wall has been preserved, unlike in other cities, leaving Quebec City as one of only two fortified cities in North America, the other being Campeche, Mexico.

The wall encircles the “upper city,” the section of Vieux-Quebec built on the cliffs of the Cap Diamant above the “lower city,” the original settlement on the banks of the St. Lawrence River.

The wall continues on to abut the Citadelle de Quebec, a large, star-shaped fortress standing at the highest point of Cap Diamant, which offers a tremendous view of the city and river below.

Visitors might be surprised to learn that the Citadelle is much younger than the wall. The fortress was built by the British beginning in 1820 to defend against a different potential enemy, the United States, when distrust from the War of 1812 was still fresh.

The Citadelle never faced an attack, but it still is in use as home to the Royal 22e Regiment, an active Canadian military unit, formed in 1914 as the first French-Canadian regiment.

Each day, the regiment holds a flashy changing-of-the-guard ceremony, very British, although conducted in French. Visitors are welcome to enjoy the ceremony performed by the regimental band and soldiers marching in full dress uniform, including traditional tall bearskin caps, just like at Buckingham Palace.

One thing Citadelle visitors will see that they won’t in London is Batisse X, the regiment’s mascot goat, in full dress uniform with horns that shine like gold (paint).

After the ceremony, visitors can snap a picture with Batisse X, tour the site with English- or French-speaking guides or visit the regimental museum that tells the history of the much-decorated Royal 22e Regiment. Visitors also pass through the Dalhousie Gate, the only original gate in the city wall that has not been enlarged and rebuilt to accommodate vehicular traffic.

— Steve Stephens can be reached at sstephens@dispatch.com or on Twitter @SteveStephens.