AOL PICK from our Editors
Québec City’s consumer allure can essentially be summed up by three words: art, antiques and jewelry. Of course, as with any cosmopolitan city, you’ll find your share of major department stores; hip clothing boutiques selling many of the same designer labels you’ll find in New York or Paris; quite a few stores specializing in outdoor sports gear; and, of course, quaint souvenir shops to fill all your beaver- and maple syrup-themed needs. (Old Québec, both Upper and Lower Towns, have tons of souvenir shops.) But when you wonder about Québec City’s best shopping, and things that people come specifically to Québec City to buy, the answer is threefold. The streets of Petit Champlain, Saint-Roch and much of Old Québec are lined with art galleries and antique shops with stunning treasures just waiting to be discovered, and many fine jewelry shops feature unique pieces and crafts handmade by the province’s jewelry designers and Inuit native artists—their pieces are truly amazing. The city’s fashion designers are also worth checking out.
Neighborhood: Basse-Ville (Lower Town)
Open year-round, this fabulous open-air market sells fresh, quality products direct from Québec's farmers and artisans. You'll enjoy browsing, tasting and buying everything from fruits and vegetables to meats and seafood, wines and ciders to maple products and cheeses, delicious baked goods like pastries and breads, pastas, plants and flowers, and more. It's fun to purchase directly from friendly vendors who often make the wares being sold.
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Québec City is full of art galleries for you to admire and purchase big-ticket items and trinkets alone. A gallery and boutique, Centre Materia, has both. The shop aspect sells a variety of unique and beautiful objects, jewelry and accessories—most made in Québec by local artisans whose process is ecologically responsible. (Think pillows, shelves, linens, purses, dishes, ceramics, lamps and lovely hand-crafted jewelry.)
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Neighborhood: Haute-Ville (Upper Town)
Medieval times are a way of life for a certain Québec subculture, and this concept shop peddles high-end hats, clothing, swords, gargoyles, jewelry, books, masks and other 11th century-themed accessories to tourists and locals alike. While Excalibur's more authentic period outfits are more like gorgeous costumes, others—say, jester hats, for instance—can pass for normal attire without raising too many eyebrows.
Specializing in chic recycled fashion, this recently revamped boutique with three locations (two in Québec City, one in Montreal) sells women's clothing and accessories that can feel like wearable works of art. Designed and produced in la belle province, owner Christiane Garant's signature is "remixing" new and used fabrics and colours into one-of-a-kind pieces. Dresses are retro yet contemporary, with sexy silhouettes and whimsical detailing.
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We don't live in igloos, but one Québec (and Canadian) stereotype rings somewhat true: our love of the outdoors. As such, it's no surprise that a huge outpost of world-renowned Canuck brand Mountain Equipment Co-op is located in Québec City. Committed to sustainability, the shop aims to provide quality gear and reasonable prices, all while reducing their impact on the environment. True to the member-own-and-run consumer cooperative concept, you must be a member to shop here, but a lifetime membership costs only five bucks.
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Best in Quebec City Travel