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"French" imports to QC?

Pennsylvania
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"French" imports to QC?

I hope no one will be offended by this, but are there [for want of a better phrase] carry-overs from France in QC? I had lunch with friends last weekend , told them I would be going to QC for two weeks this Fall instead of Paris or Nice. They - as I - have never been to QC and asked me questions about finding food imports from France [I have brought back foodie items we don't get where I am in the US - brands/kinds of French chocolates, lentils du Puy, special mustards, etc], if walking with a baguette is a familiar sight, ditto for scarves worn perfectly, and well-behaved dogs everywhere, if Bastille Day is celebrated. Although I've looked at dozens of fabulous photos of QC, I could not answer. One friend has never been abroad and asked if going to QC would feel like a trip to France. This is not to denigrate the culture of QC, she's just afraid of flying. I told her that QC would have its own culture, but then found myself at a loss re describing what that would be. So, other than the familiar photos of the CF and the ice hotel QC will be a lovely unknown adventure for me. Thanks.

Montreal, Canada
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1. Re: "French" imports to QC?

The Province of Québec, now officially recognizd as a "nation" by the Government of Canada has it's own culture. The official language is French although most of the population speaks some English, for the rest we are much closer to other North-Americans than to the French.

First the accent is really different, even the French have problems to understand us when we fall into "joual" (the slang) some visitors that have learned French to the point of being fluelently bilingual have problems adapring at some points. I was touring some last year, French teachers in a NYC highschool and ended the day at the drag cabaret Chex Mado in Mtl and they catched nothing of the very comical ad libs between musical numbers.

Normally the anchormans, reporters and announcers on TV will maintain a mid Atlantic accent, but the language will become more familiar in other shows and for fictions it could cover all the range, according to the status and education of the individual characters.

Yes we do have great bakeries around but, again our NA origin cannot be missed as we will also buy sliced bread. Same for breakfast we can go easily from a croissant and coffee to a full Amarican breakfast depending on the day and mood. Butter will be salted.

Gauloises cigarettes almost never found nowadays but the whole ban on cigarette in public spaces is enforced except sometimes on terrasses in summer while it is still encountering a lot of opposition in France.

Yes we do dress differently form both French and Americans and the ROC, and the good people of Qc City are probably the best dressers of all. That being due to the prosperity of the city and the fact that it is small enough so that opinion of other cinizens is much more important than in a large city like Montreal. Since your question is posted on the Québec City Forum I would suggest to visit the Simon department store as, more than any other clothing stores the european flair is really strong. But I have seldom seen woman wearing scarves around.

I could go on and on, just keep in mind that, business wise, we often market the province as a bridge between Europe and America so many companies will try to sell ther products here before going to the ROC and then the US markets. A few years ago that was the case of Zara that opened here first but now has stores in many large cities on the continent.

Same way you will find many French food products tha are not often, even not at all, showcased in US supermarkets but will be available around. They can be just local or from France and often the rest of Europe too. And there are some products that are typically grown or manufactured in the Province or the rest of Canada that are different from what you will find in the US. Like lentils du Puy, that are cultivated in Canada but are calld "Dupuis" to avoid the DOC problems. Chocolate candies are much different (ever had a caramilk?) but on top of that real eating chocolates of better qualities are also available.

So a stop in a supermarket and one in a fancy food/deli shop and you will find many different products that haven't crossed the US border. For example we get large assortments of European cheeses but there is also a large local economy of Qc artisans cheeses, many done with unpasteurized milk.

Finally Bastille Day is a small party for the French immigrants done at their consulates, not something that Québécois celebrate, here the big holiday is La Saint-Jean on June 24 which is "Jour Nationnal des Québécois".. One week later, on July 1 is Canada Day that is much less celebrated than our own holiday and much less than in other provinces.

I stop there as there would be some other exemples to add but I and might come back after I see how this thread is running.

Massachusetts
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for Quebec City, Block Island
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2. Re: "French" imports to QC?

Rexaroonie, my friend rickb, who offered a terrific response by the way, knows that later this year I will be doing the exact opposite of you. For years we have traveled to Quebec City but never to Europe or Paris, but now we will finally make the trip across the pond in October with Paris being our last stop. Besides of course just seeing it I too can't wait to see some of the similarities, and I'm sure differences, between the 2 cities.

The only French import I ever take home from Quebec is wine. I think their French wine selection in their province run SAQ stores is far better than in the States.

Outside of that, I love the local food, cheeses, etc., much of it done with a French flair, but there is also a strong Quebecois cuisine I would not ignore. Meat pies, maple pies, ragu, game meat specialties, they are many distinct Quebecois dishes. We bought a Quebec cookbook a few years ago. My wife, whose family on both sides was French Canadian, didn't like many of the dishes as a kid, but recognized many from the recipe book, and is really loving them now. Of course with the harsher winters their food choices are going to be different. But I also think their bread, coissants, baggettes, are terrific, as well as their cheese.

And the other thing I think they share with France is they are also a cafe society, eatting outdoors whenever possible. It is always a treat for us to do so, especially along Petit Champlain with some good music playing nearby.

Enojoy the local culture and cuisine and do share your experience with us when you come back.

JDP

Pennsylvania
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3. Re: "French" imports to QC?

Thank you both for the time and the thoughtfulness of your responses. Am sending them on to the friends who asked. Your responses are making QC even more intriguing and interesting that I had imagined. Merci.

Montreal
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4. Re: "French" imports to QC?

Québec City physically provides a much more "French" experience than Montréal does since its old town is like a small French seaside village with older architecture, winding narrow streets, and so on, compared to Montréal which is more urban, built on a grid, and its old town more commercial and with more British neoclassical architecture than French (although French buildings still exist: look for uncut rather than cut stone façades, sharply sloped roofs, and smaller windows -- glass was shipped over from France and smaller panes that break waste less glass than larger panes).

In both places, you can get café au lait in bowls, baguettes, croissants, French pastries, and can find French-inspired restaurants easily. And your friends will want to check out the JA Moisan store outside Old Québec on Saint-Jean street which has tons of great stuff. However, if they start digging a bit culturally and product-wise, they'll find a lot of québécois stuff, but not much else. If they're specifically looking for things from France, they'll find more of that in Montréal, since it's a larger and much more international city, and plus we get more French immigrants here (and lots of others as well, making it very interesting to explore indeed; Québec's neighbourhoods vary slightly in terms of wealth but that's about it).

As for fashion: well, Québec is a bourgeois government town, so people wear nice, if fairly conservative, clothes. Montréal is much fresher in terms of fashion -- anything goes here. I prefer my cities on the gritty, artistic side (like Montréal) to nice and fixed up and slightly uptight (like Québec), and I prefer Montréal's do-what-you-want approach to Québec's don't-stray-too-far-from-the-norm approach. But that's for living -- as a tourist, you will find both cities very lovely and interesting to visit.

Greater Sydney...
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5. Re: "French" imports to QC?

This has been a good read. Thank you Rexaroonie for asking the question and the people who have provided very interesting responses. We will be visiting both cities in June, and I now have a clearer perspective of the Quebecois. Our eldest daughter lived in Montreal for 11 years, and totally lost her Ozzieness (ha, a new word) there. She will be accompanying us in Montreal from where she now lives in Calgary. Looking forward greatly to our trip.

Pennsylvania
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6. Re: "French" imports to QC?

I was in Montreal too long ago to remember, and your reply has made me very curious, indeed, to come back for another stay. I think because I spent several weeks the past two years in Nice, bringing back food items, that I became the French connection for one friend in particular [the one who does not fly]. She was hopeful that I not only would find the same items in QC but that my experience would give her the push she needs to make the drive herself. Now she will have even more encouragement. The responses from all reverse the idea that a picture is worth a thousand words. The photos I have looked at are great, but the responses to my question brought them into a better focus. Merci.

Montreal
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7. Re: "French" imports to QC?

If you need more encouragement, you could check these sites for some very pretty pictures of Montréal:

www.lovelettertomontreal.com

issuu.com/alittlerelish/…alittlerelish_issue2

writing.gather.com/viewArticle.action…

www.tourisme-montreal.org/Accueil/MontrealTV

I'm sure there must be some of Québec, too, which is even prettier :)

Massachusetts
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8. Re: "French" imports to QC?

We love Montreal as well, though Old Montreal has a much different charm than Old Quebec. As stated it is far more cosmopolitan, the overall shopping I think is better, and it has definitely become a foodie destination with some world class restaurants and chefs. I agree too that you would probably find more items from France there, as well as from all over the world.

Seeing them both in the trip trip is really quite easy, though if you do it I would not cram it all in within 3 or 4 days. Rather it can be done with a week with 3 nights in QC, and 4 in Montreal. They are only 150 miles apart, under 3 hours by car, or a little over 3 hours by train. And if you have more time there are some great attractions not too far off the beaten path as well.

I would not do a day trip from one city to the other and return. It just doesn't give you the feel of the place.

JDP

Pennsylvania
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9. Re: "French" imports to QC?

Oh my, the photos, the video - just lovely. Thank you!

10. Re: "French" imports to QC?

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