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Jul 10, 2008 12:27 AM

Where to buy for picnic lunch? (Quebec upper town or St Roch)

Hello fellow foodies, I'll be visiting Quebec City for 2 days next week. After arrival, I'm planning to head outside QC to visit Canyon Saint Anne the next morning. I saw on the website that they have a picnic area inside the canyon, and wants to know where I can buy stuff for a simple picnic lunch in St Roch area. (I'm staying at Best Western City Center) If needed, I could pick up my car and drive to the old town for the food, but not sure how easy it'll be to find parking on a Monday. I don't need anything fancy, perhaps a bottle of inexpensive wine, some cheese and fruits. Thanks in advance!!!

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  1. There is practically nothing within the old city walls in Upper Town - few permanent residents any more. Your Upper Town shopping will be in St-Jean-Baptiste, just outside Porte St-Jean. But St-Roch is actually a much better place to shop, with a normal supermarket (Intermarché) and several good boulangeries/pâtisseries - and a bit east of there, near La Gare du Palais, you will find an SAQ Sélection, a bigger supermarket (Métro) and le Marché du Vieux Port, with local fruit/veg, cheeses etc.

    When in Upper Town (St-Jean-Baptiste) don't miss Épicerie Moisan, a historic monument. It claims to be the oldest grocery in North America still in operation and (even in the English site) "épicerie fine" - perhaps they think gourmet shop would be too restrictive:

    Even if you are buying inexpensive wine, in Québec it is wise to shop at the SAQ - the government wines and spirits monopoly - as there isn't really any decent wine in grocery stores, and the prices are higher in the latter.

    1 Reply
    1. re: lagatta

      I agree with lagatta about St Roch / Rue Saint Joseph + Marche du Vieux Port + Gare du Palais. For Upper Town, I would add the following:

      1. In Saint Jean Baptiste, Epicerie Europeenne, Great selection of cheese + cold cuts + bread + desserts/cookies. Moisan and EE are both very good places. I think EE is better because less of a hardware store...

      2. In Saint Jean Baptiste, Tutto Gelato, , I know it will melt by the time you get to the canyon, but you still need some energy for that 30-minute drive. Try the limone one, or grapefruit, strawberries. Try them all.

      3. Inside the walls, Old Quebec: 60 Rue Garneau, by Saint Jean Street: they have amazing pastries, and "sandwhich jambon-fromage" (ham and cheese sandwhich, on fresh baguette + butter + dijon mustard), which I used to have twice a week when I was in high school. My personal favorite: rum baba.

      4. Paillard, Rue Saint Jean,, also tend to have good pastries and potential material for picnic. They opened a few years ago after I moved out from Quebec City, so I cannot really tell, but heard very good things about it.

      Have fun.

    2. Oh thanks so much for your suggestions. It helped a lot. A few questions though,

      1. Does Le Marché du Vieux Port offer free parking?

      2. What time does the Marché opens on a weekday? I did some research, some sites say 9am while some state 9:30am.

      3. If I park at the Marché, can I easily walk to the SAQ and the Métro supermarket?

      4. What is my best if I just want something simple and fresh? ie. I don't need any gourmet Italian cured meats or fancy unpasteurized cheeses? Will the Intermarché suffice?

      Thanks again!! I'm really looking forward to Quebec!

      2 Replies
      1. re: LeeLeeLee


        1: There is no free parking in Quebec City. You will need to pay at Marche du Vieux Port too...I often times push my luck with my foreign plate but always get a PV ticket. I even tried once to fake an foreign, non-native accent with a parking agent, but to no avail... They need your money, and they will have it.

        3: Marche du Vieux Port -- SAQ/Metro is a 5-minute walk.

        4: I can't tell you what's your best option. You'll find fresh stuff for your picnic at either Marche du Vieux Port or Metro/SAQ. You also have several grocery stores on your way to the Canyon. There is a IGA right after the church in Sainte Anne de Beaupre. If I were in Quebec City for a picnic at this time of the year, I'd probably get a ham and cheese sandwich from Le Palet d'Or, some fresh cheese curds ("fromage en grains" from either Boivin, Bergeron, or Kinsey) from any grocery store, and strawberries from Ile d'Orleans.

        Hope the weather will be nice.

        1. re: gulliver

          Thanks so much for all your suggestions. It's calling to be cloudy tomorrow, I hope we can do the picnic lunch at the Canyon. Thanks again!