Caraquet is the oldest French settlement in New Brunswick and the Cultural Capital of Canada (a title granted by Canadian Heritage). Acadians settled there in 1758, 180 mi/290 km northeast of Fredericton on the northern coast. Stop there to see the Acadian Historical Village—more than 40 restored buildings, with costumed staff re-creating an 18th-century Acadian settlement.

Be sure to try whatever French you know when you order a lunch of authentic Acadian food at the restaurant. Take a ride through the village in a horse-drawn wagon: It's a nice break from walking.

The Festival Acadien takes place in the area every August, culminating on 15 August, the Acadian national holiday. Events include live theater, musical performances, poetry readings and the very impressive Blessing of the Fleet. Every weekend throughout the summer months, you'll find a variety of festivals that celebrate the arts-and-crafts community, as well as antique-car shows and a motorcycle exhibition.

Just east of Caraquet is the New Brunswick Aquarium and Marine Centre in Shippagan, where visitors can learn about native marine species (look for the rare blue lobster) and watch seals glide around in the outdoor tank behind the building.

To the west, at Grande Anse, is the Pope Museum (the only one in North America). The details of the scale replicas of world-famous sites, including St. Peter's Basilica and the Great Pyramid, will appeal to Catholics and non-Catholics alike.

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