Québec City at its Best
Faubourg Saint-Jean: The Bohemian Neighbourhood
Sandwiched between the fortifications of Old Québec and the Montcalm district, Faubourg Saint-Jean is often overlooked. But this urban hotspot, rich with 400 years of history and intrigue, has plenty to offer.
Hungry? You’ve come to the right place!
Your gourmet adventure begins on the outskirts of the neighbourhood, with finger-licking-good Portuguese chicken at Poulet portugais. Next, head towards Old Québec for crepes at Le Billig, or an Indian poutine on Bonnet d’âne’s cozy terrace. Care for a glass of wine? Try Buvette Scott or Moine Échanson, where the cuisine is exquisite. Hungry for a real burger? Chez Victor is a must. Brunch in Faubourg Saint-Jean means a window seat at Le Hobbit, and late nights are usually spent at Le Projet microbrewery. Swiss fondue bubbles at La Grolla, while there’s pho on the menu at La Campagne and miso soup at Tokyo. For late-night cravings, try Snack-Bar Saint-Jean.
An Open-Air Grocery
Credit: André-Olivier Lyra Zoom
Get your caffeine fix at local favourite Cantook Micro Torréfaction or mainstay Brûlerie Saint-Jean. Le Crac - Aliments sains, affectionately nicknamed “the happy carrot,” has organic, fair trade, and healthy fare. Beer-lovers will want to bring home a microbrew or two from specialty beer shops like La Duchesse d’Aiguillon and L’Axe du Malt. L’Épicerie européenne carries a wide range of deli meats and cheeses, but if you prefer seafood, only Poisson d’Or will do. For dessert, there are so many options: Érico for fabulous chocolate creations, Épicerie J.A. Moisan for an entire wall of gourmet cookies, Le Paingrüel for pastries, and Le Panetier Baluchon for baked treats. If it’s a millefeuille you’re after, Pâtisserie Simon is the answer to your prayers. And if the weather is warm, why not top it off with a gelato from Tutto Gelato?
Faubourg Saint-Jean is well known for its festive atmosphere. Beer brings everyone together at legendary bars like Le Sacrilège, Le Temps Partiel, and Fou Bar, and before shows at La Ninkasi. But if you prefer scotch, try Pub Nelligan’s. No matter what you drink or who you love, Le Drague Cabaret Club is where Québec City’s LGBT+ community goes to dance the night away.
A Bit of History
In summer it’s all dogs and strollers, and in winter the neighbourhood kids take over with their crazy carpets. But Côte Badelard wasn’t always so wholesome. In the 19th century it was known as “the flaming corner” because it was lined with houses of ill repute.
Street Corner Surprise
On Rue Lavigeur near Rue Philippe-Dorval, you’ll find a military relic—Martello Tower 4. Built in 1812 to protect Québec City but never put to use, it is all but forgotten except by neighbourhood residents, who cherish it as a hidden gem.
This article was written by Caroline Décoste and published in the 16.08 magazine.