Do Saint-Jean-Baptiste Like a Local

Caroline Décoste
Caroline Décoste
Published on July 11, 2023
Julie et Simon dans Saint-jean-Baptiste
Caroline Décoste

Between the two of them, they’ve spent 40 years in the neighbourhood. Julia, a journalist and broadcaster at the CBC, and Simon, an artist who works in culture, are as in love with each other as they are with Saint-Jean-Baptiste. Together, they chose 7 places everyone should visit just outside the walls of Old Québec, on Rue Saint-Jean. 

  • 1

    Coffee at Cantook

    In the summer, the sidewalk in front of Cantook turns into the unofficial neighbourhood hangout for residents and tourists alike. For Julia, Cantook coffee is a daily staple. 

    The staff are friendly and nice to kids. The baristas have watched my daughter grow up. Personally, I think it’s the best coffee in town!

    Whether to enjoy at the café or take home after hosting the morning show, it’s always a latte for Julia. Simon prefers brewing his coffee at home. He likes to buy Cantook’s infinity blend or their Yirgacheffe beans. 

  • 2

    Chocolatey Goodness at Érico

    The seductive smell of chocolate wafting out of Érico is hard to resist. Julia, Simon, and their daughter like to pop in for chocolates and other treats. With the shop’s artisanal ice cream, that gets even more tempting in the summer. 

    Simon gets a cone with two scoops of Île d’Orléans strawberry ice cream when it’s in season. I always get a chocolate-dipped cone. And our daughter loves everything that’s colourful and fruity!

  • 3

    Pit Stop at Épicerie Scott

    The side streets off Rue Saint-Jean have plenty of little gems as well, like Épicerie Scott, with a cute playground just across the way that’s a popular meet-up spot for parents. 

    For us, that grocery store and park kind of symbolize what it means to be parents in the city. We go to the park to play and then swing by the grocery store when everyone’s hungry. The owners are parents who live in the neighbourhood and they always make us feel welcome.

    Julia and Simon love the snacks and last-minute dinner options, especially the housemade tacos. 

  • 4

    Lunch at Gao

    Julia loves this Vietnamese lunch counter for its family history and its delicious bubble tea! 

    It’s run by people who’ve been in the neighbourhood for generations and who love it as much as I do. 

    Her go-to is a tofu bun cha gio (a rice noodle salad with crispy spring rolls) and a Hong Kong‒style milk bubble tea, which is made with strong black tea, lightly sweetened. 

  • 5

    Happy Hour on the Fou-Bar Patio

    Simon likes to joke that he’s old enough to go to Fou-Bar now. The neighbourhood pub has been around since 1983 and is a pillar of Québec City’s nightlife. It’s even more than a pillar. It’s an institution! 

    I love going for the shows, but it’s also just a nice place to grab a drink.

    The bar brings in jazz, folk, and blues musicians and also hosts art exhibitions. 

  • 6

    Pizza Night at Nina Pizza Napolitaine

    Nina Pizza Napolitaine is a family favourite. Julia loves the Greenpoint pizza with fresh mozzarella, lemon, and arugula, while Simon sticks with the classic margherita. 

    We like that there are plenty of vegetarian and even vegan options on the menu. It’s nice to have in the neighbourhood.

  • 7

    Côte Badelard: From Upper to Lower Town

    Walking towards the cliff along Rue Lavigueur, Julia and Simon end their tour at the top of Côte Badelard. 

    It’s the best way to bike down the Lower Town and back up again without too much effort! We also take the Badelard stairs when we’re on foot. They’re the shortest and least steep stairs in the neighbourhood.

15 Fabulous Years in Saint-Jean-Baptiste, and Counting

Simon likes to joke that he moved to Saint-Jean-Baptiste before it was cool. He still remembers when Côte Badelard was open to vehicles!

I decided to live here because all my friends from university were here. It was the neighbourhood for activists and artists.  

For Julie, Saint-Jean-Baptiste was the obvious choice when she moved here 15 years ago, since it’s home to the CBC’s Québec City studio. When it came time to start a family, the two already knew the lively and welcoming neighbourhood would make a great place to raise a child. 

Events in Saint-Jean-Baptiste

  • Deux orchestres pour une symphonie
    Deux orchestres pour une symphonie
  • Hommage à Stevie Ray Vaughan
    Hommage à Stevie Ray Vaughan
  • John Roney
    John Roney
  • The Rural Alberta Advantage
    The Rural Alberta Advantage
  • Jean-Michel Blais
    Jean-Michel Blais
  • Augustin Hadelich joue Brahms
    Augustin Hadelich joue Brahms
  • Queen Symphonic
    Queen Symphonic



Caroline Décoste
Caroline Décoste

Caroline is a city girl who has spent most of her life in Québec City. The writer, translator, and author is passionate about her home town and loves sharing all things Québec with tourists and friends, from hot new restaurants to iconic spots and hidden gems. Her favourite hobby is exploring the city with her two kids and seeing it through their eyes!

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