All images © Spiral Light Photography
We just spent a week in Quebec City, one of the oldest cities in North America. With the castle-like Chateau Frontenac Hotel perched high above the St.Lawrence River, it is probably one of the most beautiful cities too. Inside the stone walls of the old city are cobblestone streets lined with shops, restaurants, and hotels. Our hotel was situated just inside the Saint Louis gate which made for perfect walking distance to many attractions both inside and outside of the walls.
On our first morning we went looking for breakfast and came upon Paillard, a cafe and bakery that would not be out of place in Paris or New York. As soon as you walk through the doors you are greeted with the warm scent of freshly baked pastries. The bilingual staff are friendly and helpful, and were kind enough to never wince at our horrible French pronunciations! Needless to say we were hooked, and became regulars for a week, having our breakfast there every morning. Luckily Quebec City is best explored on foot, so we were able to walk off our pastries and cappuccinos as we discovered this grand old city.
The “lower town” known as the Petit-Champlain has a European charm with buildings dating back to the 1800’s. You can access this picturesque area by staircase or by the Funicular that runs in front of the Chateau Frontenac Hotel. There are numerous art galleries and boutiques where you are sure to find a special souvenir to take home. We spent several afternoons browsing through the boutiques and sampling the local fare. I must have tried three or four different versions of French Onion Soup…all delicious!!
In the evenings, we would look for a place to have a cup of tea, or late night snack. One time we did stop by the bar in the Chateau Frontenac, but most nights we would return to Paillard. It had become our favourite hangout…our home away from home! Sometimes we would sit at one of the communal tables and eat our decadent pastries, other times we would be ‘good’ and forgo the sweets, and just get some hot drinks to go. We would say au revoir to the late night staff, knowing that in a few hours we would be back again for breakfast, because no matter where we started or ended our day, all roads in this beautiful city did eventually lead us back to Paillard.