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Unexpected Quebec: 5 Hidden Gems Beyond the Walls

Parc St Roch (Photo by Amy Pantone, Pantonephotography.com)

By Amanda Halm

The Old City seemingly has it all: winding cobblestone streets, Artist Alley, the looming Château Frontenac. But adventurers will discover some of the city’s best treasures in Saint-Roch, an industrial-area-turned-artist hub, and Limoilou, the city’s oldest borough.

Beat the swarms of tourists circling the Château and experience these unexpected gems, just a hop, skip, or $7 cab ride away from the expected.

1. La Korrigane

Outdoor terraces and breweries come pretty standard in Quebec. But there’s something special about La Korrigane—maybe it’s the foosball table or the fashionable after-work crowd. Or maybe it’s the way they name their tasty, blonde, red, and dark beers. Mary Morgan anyone? 380, rue Dorchester

2. Benjo

Kids and parents love Benjo, a whimsical toy store on Boulevard Charest. Neatly divided games, toys, and storybooks speak to everyone’s inner child—in French, of course. The true magic of Benjo comes from the café with its oversize thrones and the ice-cream shop that serves up sprinkle-covered waffle cones. 550 boulevard Charest Est

3. Parc St. Roch

It’s not people-watching in Parc St. Roch’s, it’s circus-watching. When there’s no performance-theatre act or fire-twirling practice, bubbling fountains and well-groomed gardens create a tranquil space to grab a bench and share a baguette. Boulevard Charest Est

4. Limoilou

With très bonne ethnic eateries, a happening main corridor on Third Avenue and a church-turned-circus school, Limoilou, just north of Saint-Roch, is the next neighborhood du jour. Wide, tree-lined streets and lofty apartments with spiral staircases make it the little Brooklyn of Quebec.

5. Soup & Cie

Don’t expect classic chicken and noodle here. The menu at Soup & Cie features the best broths from around the world. Patrons slurp up hearty tortilla soup, flavorful Vietnamese pho, smooth gazpacho and others. Sip imported blood-orange lemonade and order soup for dessert, in dark or milk chocolate! 522 3rd Avenue


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