Baie Saint Paul is just over an hour outside Quebec City and is one of the best day trips for food hunters. Although it is known for having the most art galleries per capita in Canada, I went for the food.
It’s also home to some of the country’s best food producers with amazing cheese, foie gras, charcuterie. Yet food is reasonably priced. Locals here eat well for a fraction of what you would pay in larger cities.
ALSO READ: The Best Thing to Do in Montreal? Eat!
A small town with a centre just under 5000 people, Baie Saint Paul reminds me of many towns in the Annapolis Valley. Houses are colourful and the main strip is populated with bright souvenir shops and art galleries to tempt visiting tourists.
It is a great day trip but you need to be wise when choosing where to eat as you could end up in a tourist cafe catering to visitors looking for burgers, pizza and chicken nuggets. There’s nothing wrong with that if that’s what you’re looking for. But when I travel I want great local flavour. I can eat a pizza anywhere.
Unfortunately I visited on Family Day/Patriots Day in Quebec. Here’s a tip for visitors to Quebec, when there’s a holiday most people take it so you’ll find most places closed or with a limited menu and hours.
So this list includes fantastic places I visited (marked with an asterisk) and those I’d like to visit the next time I visit. Charlevoix is worth a second visit.
Where to Eat in Baie Saint Paul
Any visit to a cheese producer in Quebec is a good idea. Yet this Laiterie takes it up a notch. Not only is it spearheading a project to save a species of cow that is unique to Canada, it also wins many awards for environmental innovation.
With an aim to minimize waste, residual whey is turned into protein powder and used by pork producers. As well, it turns it into methane gas, which burns to produce a reserve of hot water for cheese production.
But most importantly it wins awards for taste. You can take a tour of the facility ending with a cheese tasting of its raw milk, pasteurized milk of different varieties including jersey cow and holstein or just stop in for ice cream churned on site.
There’s also a shop with lots of food and drink (yes wine and beer) to create the perfect picnic and it’s very reasonably priced with pate for only $3.25. I’m blown away.
1167 boul Mgr de Laval, Baie-Saint-Paul
Centre de l’Émeu*
Just on the outskirts of Baie Saint Paul is the largest emu farm in Canada. Although emus were initially raised for their lean meat, the ranchers soon realized that emu oil was far more useful.
If you call ahead you can get a tour or a self-guided tour. With a dedication to using all of the animal that gave its life you can buy one of 24 emu food products on site such as rillette, pate or emu bolognese sauce.
If you want someone else to do the cooking you can find their emu at the St.Germain hotel restaurants in Baie Saint Paul and Chez Bouquet.
706,Saint-Édouard (Route 381), Saint-Urbain
Le Germain Hotel Charlevoix
Built by Daniel Gauthier, co-founder of Cirque de Soleil, this Germain Hotel is one of the most unusual. Although it’s quite modern there are touches of farm pasture throughout. I stayed here overnight and was sorry to leave, it’s such a memorable hotel.
It’s home to two restaurants, but its upscale restaurant Les Labours is known as one of the best places to eat in Baie Saint Paul. However, it’s closed on Mondays, the day I was there – just my luck!
50 Rue de la Ferme, Baie-Saint-Paul
A fantastic cider producer in Charlevoix, the location in Baie Saint Paul was closed but I visited in nearby Isle aux Coudres. It’s well worth a tasting as staff are quite generous and allow you to try the cider and mistelle (produced by alcohol adding to grape juice).
74, Rue Saint Jean Baptiste, Baie-Saint-Paul
With a riverside terrace this may be one of the most scenic spots to eat in Baie Saint Paul. Fine French cuisine with local ingredients, it topped my list but was sadly closed.
43 Rue-Sainte Anne, Baie-Saint-Paul
Chez Bouquet Éco-Bistro
The in-house restaurant for Auberge La Muse, I arrived here hoping to try the emu tartare but unfortunately they were offering a holiday brunch menu and it was not available. Zut alors! I’ve heard great things so I’d love to stop by again just for the tartare
39 Rue Saint Jean Baptiste, Baie-Saint-Paul
A Chacun Son Pain
One of three locations in the region, this bakery with a wood fired pizza oven is just on the outskirts of the historic centre. However, while tourists may miss it, locals keep it full.
Known for its great coffee, local products, bread and pizza I was sad to see it was closed for the holiday. I was not the only one as a number of locals also pulled up hoping it would be open.
1006 Boulevard Mgr de Laval, Baie-Saint-Paul
How to Get to Baie Saint Paul
From Quebec City follow Route 38 then 138, Baie Saint Paul is just over an hour’s drive. While Montreal is between four and five hours driving.
Throughout the summer a special Train de Charlevoix runs from Quebec City for $74 return and continues as far north as La Malbaie. The Charlevoix station is the Hotel Le Germain, although if you stay elsewhere the town is small enough to walk to your accommodation.
I traveled to Baie Saint Paul and throughout Charlevoix as part of a pre-conference tour before the Travel Media Association of Canada conference in Quebec City. However, I wasn’t asked to write anything about my tour. Yet I wanted to share the region as Charlevoix is a destination I’d love to return, even if I didn’t get a chance to eat everywhere I wanted.