Quebec City Stories and Tips

Picnicking in Quebec City

Epicerie Richard Photo, Quebec City, Quebec

Quebec City is filled with picturesque spots that are just perfect for a picnic or just taking a relaxing break from sightseeing. Even a quick snack becomes a memorable event due to the surroundings.

A picnic means food and there are many places in which to find picnic goodies. A small store near the church in Place Royale sold individual containers of creamy maple yogurt and I found myself making a couple of return visits just for that. Outside the walls, along busy rue St. Jean, almost every block had at least one small bakery/deli or mouthwatering chocolate shop. There was also a grocery store that has been in existence since the 1800s. Prices were high but there was a good selection of imported specialties.

One of my favourite places was Epicerie Richard within the walls of Upper Town at 42 rue Des Jardins. It is just off rue St. Louis, not far from Chateau Frontenac and it is open every day. The store has it all: cheeses, pates, ready made meals (a big selection of Chinese), deli meats, sandwiches, wraps, fresh baked goods, chocolate, alcohol and snacks. One of my favourite treats was chaussons framboise - a large, buttery, raspberry turnover that melts in the mouth and costs less than $2.00. Along with regular sized bottles of wine, they also sell half bottles and individual coolers and beers - just the right size for a picnic.

Getting the food was easy and so was finding a scenic spot to enjoy it since the town is really one big photo opportunity. In Upper Town some of the more scenic places included:

Along Terrace Dufferin on a bench overlooking Lower Town and Levis across the River. Chateau Frontenac is up close and personal which makes this one of the most popular spots in town so don’t expect solitude.

At one of the observation points along the stairway that runs from Terrace Dufferin to the Citadel. I wouldn’t recommend a heavy picnic basket for this one since there are lots of stairs to climb. Good views of Levis and the River.

Anywhere on the grassy slopes of the park located at the top of the stairs and near the Citadel. This is probably the best place to find somewhere semi private since it’s a very big park.

In Lower Town, I enjoyed relaxing with my maple yogurt at Place Royale. This large square doesn’t have any benches but you can sit on the steps of Eglise Notre Dame des Victoires, Quebec’s oldest stone church. Place Royale is filled with restored buildings that have been converted into shops and there is an impressive mural that covers the complete side of a building at the opposite side of the square.

For a quieter, but no less scenic picnic spot, take the ferry across the river to Levis. Terrace Levis is on a hill above town and commands an extensive view of the St. Lawrence River as well as Quebec City’s skyline. Again, pack a light picnic basket since there are a lot of steps to climb or else take a cab from the ferry terminal. The ferry runs frequently, costs $2.00 each way and takes about 10 minutes. Some people take the ferry just for the views of Quebec City and it is definitely worth the few dollars for the return trip.

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