Quebec City’s “French charm” is one of the top reasons why tourists love to visit. Lots of travelers come to Quebec to enjoy a taste of France without having to suffer the long (and expensive) flight overseas. Quebec has indeed inherited a lot from its founding nation, and the cuisine served in cafés and restaurants around the city center is a delicious legacy; it should come as no surprise that finding an outstanding baguette or a perfect croissant is rather easy in Quebec City. Here are the top ten bakeries that should be visited by any Francophile longing to taste the very best delicacies the city has to offer.
This bakery makes all of its breads by hand, using tried-and-true ancestral methods. It uses a wide variety of organic flours (wheat, rye, spelt and many more) and makes creative specialty breads daily. It has truly mastered the art of mixing delicious flavors into breads that turn into savory and sweet indulgences, such as the Petit Reconfort, a delightful date, dark chocolate and dried pear bread. Le Paingrüel is a favorite among locals who like to visit everyday, lured in by the delicious bread aromas, to discover what’s on offer.
One of the first gourmet shops to open its doors in the newly revitalized St-Roch neighborhood ten years ago, La Boîte à Pain is a favorite of business workers who flock in at lunch time to enjoy the bakery’s delicious ficelles (individual slender baguettes garnished with creative flavor combinations such as duck terrine, blueberry jam and grated beets). The bakery also makes soups, quiches, salads and even pizzas, along with coffee and specialty drinks. Eat in, or take your lunch out to eat in neighboring Jardin Saint-Roch.
The only baker known by name in Quebec City, Borderon is a French-born and trained artisan baker and pastry chef. His baguettes are regarded as the best in the city, and his creations are served at many of Quebec’s finest hotels and restaurants. Downtown, his breads and viennoiseries are sold in a couple of gourmet grocery stores, as well as at his own take out counter located on the popular Rue Cartier, inside the Les Halles du Petit Cartier food hall, which is also home to several other gourmet boutiques where you can stock up for an impromptu picnic.
La Fournée Bio
While this bakery is admittedly a little off the tourist map, a growing number of food enthusiasts love to walk along Limoilou’s 3rd Avenue, where several new creative restaurants have opened their doors in the past few years. In this growing new generation of gourmet establishments, La Fournée Bio is the founding mainstay, having been catering to hungry locals for over ten years now. It makes over 75 different bread varieties that cycle in and out of seasonal offerings, which customers can pair with homemade jams and local artisanal products. Light meals are also served on site.
This bakery-café is certainly the city’s most popular due to its location -- right in the heart of the Old City -- and its authentic Parisian ambiance. Communal tables allow diners to enjoy made-to-order sandwiches or any of the bakery’s sweet creations. Paillard’s croissant won the “best in Quebec City” prize in 2010, making it one of the best places to enjoy an early morning café-croissant this side of the ocean.
Praline et Chocolat
Praline et Chocolat’s main store is located a half-hour out of the city, but fortunately for Quebec’s gourmands, it also has a reselling location inside the Old Port’s Market. Its specialty is pastry (their croissants and viennoiseries may very well be Quebec’s finest) and fine chocolates, but it also sells Éric Borderon’s much sought-after breads and delicious homemade gelato during summer. Its macarons are also consistently well-made and flavorful -- something that can’t be said of most other macaron makers in the city.
Located on Rue Cartier, L’Artisan du Pain makes bread the traditional French way, without using any sugar or fat. This bakery’s classic flavors, such as olive, nuts, or dried tomatoes, are reliable and comforting, and it also offers 100% pur beurre (pure butter) croissants and pains au chocolat, as well as tempting classic French pastries such as éclairs and mille-feuilles.
Named after the intricate French dessert made with cream-filled profiteroles bound together with pulled caramel, Le Croquembouche impresses with its wide range of individual cakes and pastries. Its large store, welcoming tables and lunch options make it a reliable place to refuel after enjoying a walk on trendy Rue St-Joseph.