Quebec City has great pastry, deep history, French speakers and an extra perk: proximity.
“Bonjour!” I said bouncily to the man working behind the pâtisserie counter, reveling in my opportunity to say one of the handful of French words I know, and ordered three delicate, brightly hued macaroons — coconut, strawberry and salted caramel, s’il vous plaît — in what was probably a very annoying and affected voice.
But I couldn’t help myself. I felt inspired inside the expansive farmers market, surrounded by bags of fresh cheese curds at La Fromagere, paper produce boxes filled with deep-green fiddlehead ferns, bottles of locally made rosé wine, and families chatting in beautiful French.
Was this the perfect picture of a Paris afternoon? Perhaps. But actually, no, it wasn’t. It was the North American version in Quebec City, Quebec.