Discover the 10 best things to do and see in Old Québec. A stay is not complete without visiting these must-see attractions.
Agritourism and Artisan Producers
The Québec City area is a hive of culinary excellence, with artisan producers specializing in everything from wines and ciders to maple syrups, breads, and cheeses. Ready for an edible experience nonpareil? Let’s go.
Sugar Shacks and Maple Products
Sampling maple treats is a must on any trip to Québec. Yes, you’ll get to douse your crêpes and French toast in the stuff, but that’s just the beginning. Many chefs in the province have a love affair with maple, and with good reason! It’s the kind of ingredient that adds a special twist to all kinds of recipes, which is why it’s so handy to have in your pantry, in multiple forms: maple syrup, maple sugar, maple butter, maple liqueur…If you haven’t yet tasted them all, this is your chance. And if you have, this is your chance to stock up! Many fine grocery stores and maple producers also carry special souvenir formats that make lovely gifts.
If you’re in Québec City during the spring, you simply must plan a visit to a sugar shack, where maple syrup is made and syrup‑drenched feasts are eaten in a centuries‑old tradition that will have you dancing on the tables—or rolling under them.
Lorraine Richard Nolin
Nothing beats a farmer’s market for sampling everything in one spot. Enjoy fresh food and find out more about how it’s made as you chat with local farmers and artisans. Perfect example: Le Grand Marché, known throughout the province as an essential foodie destination in all four seasons.
Jeff Frenette Photography
Brewing is serious business in Québec, as can be seen by the impressive array of craft breweries using local ingredients to brew stand‑out beer. Craft breweries are an integral part of the local scene, so they’re a great place to meet people and spend a fun evening. Taking a guided tour is also an excellent way to see—and taste—what Québec’s craft brewers are up to.
Wineries and Local Liquor Producers
No survey of local whistle‑wetters would be complete without a nod to Île d’Orléans, an island known for its idyllic country vistas and numerous vineyards, cider breweries, and berry liqueur producers. Visitors to the island can sample unique products at their leisure, including Québec icewine and ice cider. Products of our northern climate, they’re made using a natural freezing process that yields heavenly beverages highly specific to the region. The past few years have also seen a rise in the number of artisanal distilleries crafting spirits (mostly vodka and gin) flavoured with ingredients sourced locally and from the boreal forest.
The Québec City area is home to numerous artisanal cheesemakers famous for the quality of their goods, like Fromagerie Des Grondines, located in the Portneuf area. These master cheesemakers produce a wide selection of cheeses made with raw milk from cows, goats, and sheep, as well as artisanal organic cheeses. If you can’t get out to Portneuf, they have a second location in Québec City’s Saint‑Roch neighbourhood where locals and out-of-towners can load up on their delicious creations.
For a cheesemaker with a sense of history, try Fromagerie de l’Isle d’Orléans, which uses a recipe that dates back to the early days of the colony. Their famous cheese comes in three varieties: La Faisselle, Le Paillasson, and Le Raffiné. If you haven’t tasted them yet, the cheeses made here are a culinary treasure not to be missed.
Bakeries and Pastry Shops
When it comes to bakeries and pastry shops, Quebecers are said to have inherited their talent from their French ancestors. Indeed, bread and pastry-making skills have been transmitted from one nation to the other since Québec was founded. With the healthy rate of immigration from France to Québec and the many Quebecers who spend time perfecting their craft in France, our shared tradition is in good hands.
In these little havens of heavenly sights, smells, and tastes, you’ll find a wide variety of breads and mouth-watering pastries made with love, plus the kind of croissants that truly make life worth living!
Chocolate and Candy Shops
If you have a sweet tooth, you’ll love our local chocolates and candies, carefully crafted by experienced artisans. Érico is a beloved favourite, with exquisite pastries and a little chocolate museum to boot. If you happen to be on Rue Saint‑Jean, stop in for a moment of pure chocolate bliss. Not sure what to order? The shop is famous for its hot chocolate. We recommend the choco espresso—it’s thick, velvety, and intense.
Outside the city, but still in the Québec City area, there’s Julie Vachon’s chocolate shop in Deschambault. This creative chocolate maker was named pastry chef of the year in 2018 by the Québec chef’s association, SCCPQ. There’s also Praline et Chocolat in Château‑Richer, a tiny artisanal pastry shop with a vast selection of chocolatey treasures.
Treat the kids—and the kid in you—to specialty candies and chocolates at C’est si bon, a candy shop on Rue Saint‑Jean. On Île d’Orléans, you can satisfy your sweet tooth at La Nougaterie, which sells artisanal nougat (surprise!), marshmallows, and all manner of sugary delights.
Ice Cream and Gelato Parlours
If there’s something the Québec City area has in abundance, it’s ice cream parlours. Dig into the unique flavours and toppings at La Bûche glacée, the chocolate ice cream at Érico, and the homemade ice cream at Cassis & Monna et Filles. Yum!
Specialty Grocers and Delicatessens
Delicatessens are the perfect place to pick up local specialties. If you’re looking for souvenirs for the pantry or a quick and tasty snack, you’ll find an abundance of artisanal products there, from homemade ketchup, mustard, vinegars, and jams to meats, cheeses, and plenty of ready-to-eat dishes. Located just outside Old Québec, J. A. Moisan is the oldest delicatessen in North America.
Jeff Frenette Photography
During the summer and fall harvests, many farms on Île d’Orléans and in Côte‑de‑Beaupré and Portneuf are open to visitors for fruit picking, a fun family activity that will leave you with lasting memories and oodles of fruits. Strawberries come first at the end of June, followed by raspberries in July, blueberries in August, and apples in September and October. This is a popular activity among Quebecers, with many people going several times a year.
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