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Quebec City’s Amazing Market for Fresh, Local Foods

Marche du Vieux-Port in Quebec City has it all!

Marche du Vieux-Port in Quebec City has it all!

Our first introduction to Marche du Vieux-Port was cruel. We’d just arrived in Quebec City from Mont Tremblant, and struck up a conversation with a gentleman staying at our hotel. (Affiliate: Check out our hotel here.)

“You must not miss that market across the street,” the man said in his musical French accent. “They have the best blue cheese I’ve had in my life.” He went on for about ten minutes about this life-changing blue cheese.

Do not miss entering this humble-looking building in Quebec City.

Do not miss entering this humble-looking building in Quebec City.

So, why was this mean? Well, I was secretly two months pregnant at this time, and knew that many blue cheese varieties are off limits to preggos since they’re unpasteurized!

I vowed to never set foot in that stupid market that would serve only to tempt me. How glad I was that I broke that vow during our visit… three times, in fact!

Exploding rainbow flowers in the light.

Exploding rainbow flowers in the light.

The impetus for our first foray into the Marche du Vieux-Port came from our hungry toddler. It was the afternoon following our encounter with Blue Cheese Man, and Devi was ravenous, yet none of us had the energy to attempt sitting down at an actual restaurant.

“Maybe,” mused my husband Colin, “we should just go to the market across the street that guy was salivating about and pick up some munchies for Devi before he eats us whole.” I grudgingly agreed, on the condition that I would get a (non blue cheese) snack, myself.

A burst of colorful veggies!

A burst of colorful veggies!

The market took my breath away. Flowers! Fruits! Jams! Syrups! Pastries! I scampered about like a reindeer on leave from Santa, inhaling the aromas of strawberries and basil and agonizing over which treat to buy.

Meanwhile, Devi was busy trying to knock over a glass display of infused oils. I graciously let Colin wrangle the little guy, since I’m a famous travel photographer and had to focus on eating cookies — er, my craft.

I love this moment: The tender gaze of a vendor on my toddler.

I love this moment: The tender gaze of a vendor on my toddler.

We ended up buying a vat of fresh strawberries which had just been harvested from a nearby farming island. Heavens! Having those strawberries in my mouth was like a troupe of angels in red sequined dresses doing the cha-cha on my taste buds.

SO DELICIOUS! Devi devoured a dozen tender crimson orbs and became drenched in red juice and happiness. Our first trip to the Marche du Vieux-Port was a rousing success.

I love the dainty ends of fresh carrot bunches.

I love the dainty ends of fresh carrot bunches.

This first tale illustrates why no visitor to Quebec City should miss the Marche du Vieux-Port: Not only is the food local and scrumptiously fresh, but it’s also extremely affordable since the market is used more by locals than tourists. Plus, it’s a feast for the eyes, too!

The public art outside the market is as colorful as the produce!

The public art outside the market is as colorful as the produce!

We ended up in the market the next day, too, because I (or perhaps my fetus) craved cheese. I trudged up to the artisanal cheese stand the man had raved about, bracing for a non-pasteurized slap in the face and a fast about-face.

To my absolute joy, the ladies behind the counter had tons of pasteurized options, including a fresh brie whose creator was there that day handing out her handiwork, herself! I purchased that, and a fresh baguette for less money than a fancy Boston coffee.

Just like that, our lunch was born: Cheese and French bread. Quebec City’s slogan is, “So Europe, So Close!” for a reason, my friends. We felt positively Parisian, eating our simple feast while lounging on the back patio of the market, watching St. Lawrence river roll by!

We bought delicious brie and a baguette here and made a lunch of it!

We bought delicious brie and a baguette here and made a lunch of it.

Our final visit to the market was one I recommend you replicate if you have small children and an upcoming long car ride departing from Quebec City. Colin came up with the bright idea that he would do all the packing for the final departure from Quebec City while I ran laps with Devi around the market like an Arabian stallion (er, teetering baby pony).

The logic was that our little man would thusly tire himself out enough to make the eight hour drive back to Boston a breeze. My challenge, and I chose to accept it, was to simultaneously buy us road snacks and take blog photos whilst keeping Devi from sticking his face into the open vats of strawberries and ripping off flower faces.

A riot of fresh flowers!

A riot of fresh flowers!

Miraculously, we achieved all tasks! What’s ideal about the market is it has all styles of food to go, including a delicious quinoa and vegetable salad, plus sandwiches which I bought for the road.

I’ll stop typing for a moment now to let you just take in the next few photos which document more luscious sights you will encounter on a stroll through the Marche du Vieux-Port.

Colorful cookies. So many desserts at the market!

Colorful cookies. So many desserts at the market!

Shiny vats of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Shiny vats of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

I couldn't get enough of the sunlight shining through the jam jars.

I couldn’t get enough of the sunlight shining through the jam jars.

Devi was very serious about walking the whole market twenty times over.

Devi was very serious about walking the whole market twenty times over.

Exuberant green beans and... yellow beans?

Exuberant green and yellow beans dancing.

I think the vendor is growling at me as I ogle the meat.

I think the vendor is growling at me as I ogle the meat.

There are drinks for all ages at the market.

There are drinks for all ages at the market.

These were the best strawberries I've had in my life.

These were the best strawberries I’ve had in my life.

Enough snacks for you?

Enough snacks for you?

Want some fresh meats?

Yummy cured meats await a hungry mouth.

Flowers in your face!

Flowers in your face!

This fellow is forming modern art with his strawberry display.

This fellow is forming modern art with his strawberry display.

Delectable fresh basil plants.

Delectable fresh basil plants.

Once he finished packing our suitcases and loading the car (a task made far easier without a toddler in the room to pull all the clothes out of the suitcases), Colin tracked us down in the market.

We spent our last half hour in lovely Quebec City savoring a fresh strawberry and maple syrup crepe from one of the many crepe kiosks in the market. We sure left the city with a good taste in our mouths!

We got a fresh crepe at one of several crepe stands in the market. YUM.

Our fresh crepe from the market. YUM.

In short, you should put Marche du Vieux-Port on a par with le Chateau Frontenac for must-see Quebec City attractions. All it will take is a mouthful of those fresh, local strawberries, and you’ll know what I mean!

How to save money and time on your Quebec Trip:

Want to read more Quebec City articles? Click here (why it’s so great) and here (photos galore), or see my full set of posts from our Montreal to Quebec City road trip.

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Barb

Tuesday 3rd of July 2018

We love the Quebec strawberries too. They're always great every time we've been there. Not too far from New Brunswick. Yum!

Lillie

Tuesday 3rd of July 2018

Yes! You're reminding me I need to get to New Brunswick, too!

Dariece

Sunday 13th of September 2015

Wow, the market looks fabulous! I love all of the colours. So glad to hear that there were pasteurized cheese options, that would've been just too cruel! haha.

Lillie

Thursday 24th of September 2015

Right?! Thank goodness for pasteurized brie!

Cathy Sweeney

Tuesday 8th of September 2015

Now I say that you are mean! It's not fair to post all these mouth-watering and beautiful photos when I'm so far away.What a great tip you got from that man to visit the Quebec City food market. I've scrolled up twice to look at the desserts! :)

Pierre Coutu

Friday 26th of May 2017

A visit of that nearby farming island is believe me Worth a trip to Québec.

Lillie

Thursday 24th of September 2015

Haha! Sorry but also not sorry. :)

Wandering Educators

Tuesday 8th of September 2015

Looks amazing - like it is! I would love to have Devi wear a Fitbit so we can see his steps - he's a marathon walker! Love QC...

Lillie

Tuesday 8th of September 2015

Hah! A little toddler Fitbit would be so cute! He'd probably triple whatever Colin's Fitbit steps show...

Cat of Sunshine and Siestas

Tuesday 8th of September 2015

I can't resist a market when traveling... or even when I need an armful of produce! Off to my local mercado now...

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