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Though it feels like the end of the world today, the village of Louisbourg has had three lives. The first was early in the 18th century, when the French colonized the area aggressively and built a stone fortress -- imposing but not impregnable, because the British captured it in 1745. The fort was returned to the French following negotiations in Europe. War soon broke out again, however, and the British recaptured it in 1758 (and blew it up for good measure). That appeared to be the end, but the Canadian government decided to recreate about a quarter of the stone-walled town in the 1960s, based on a few documents about what had been there. The park is built to show life as it might have been in 1744, as an important French military capital and seaport that had not yet been captured; you arrive at the site after walking through an interpretive center and taking a short bus ride. (Keeping cars at a distance definitely enhances the historic feeling.) After walking through an impressive gatehouse -- complete with costumed guard on the lookout for English spies -- you can wander narrow lanes and poke through the faux-historic buildings, some of which contain informative exhibits, others furnished with convincingly worn reproductions. Chicken, geese, and other barnyard animals peck and cluck away, and vendors hawk freshly baked bread from wood-fired ovens. It really does feel like old Europe. Ask for the free tour, and don't hesitate to question the costumed guides; come in June or October, and your cost is 60 percent less to compensate for the weather. Allow at least 4 hours for the experience.