As a travel writer and blogger I am always looking for cozy cafés where I can enjoy a cup of chocolate chaud, and do a little work at the same time. Most of the cafés I visit are in the neighbourhoods of Old Québec, Petit-Champlain, Place Royale, Old Port, Saint-Roch, or Saint-Jean-Baptiste, and they all have free wi-fi. Cha-ching!
Finding free wi-fi in Québec City is not as difficult as in other cities. Many cafés, restaurants, and hotels have their own, and some that do not, use a system called ZAP which is a city-run service (If you log in to ZAP know that you only get 1 GB of data usage per week).
Note: There are so many cafés in this city that it will take me months to visit them all, which is why this is a version 1.0. I’ll be publishing version 2.0 with new finds mid-Spring.
Old Québec (a.k.a Upper Town, or Vieux Québec)
Café-Boulangerie Paillard • 1097, rue Saint-Jean • Free wi-fi • $ • A vaulted ceiling, and the smell of freshly baked croissants greets every person who walks into Paillard. Probably the best croissants in the old city, this café-boulangerie also sells bread, pastries, fresh sandwiches and salads.
Café Caffè • 46, rue Garneau • Free wi-fi • $ • Located on the edge of the well-worn tourist path in the old city, Café Caffè is small, features metal tables and chairs, as well as window seating. The café au lait is fairly good, and they also sell a small variety of pastries.
Chez Temporel • 25, rue Couillard • Free wi-fi • $ • A small café located down a quiet street, Chez Temporel has been a favourite among locals, artists, and writers for 40 years and is still going strong. Chez Temporel serves a light menu, and some of the best café and chocolate chaud in the city. The staff are friendly, speak English, and don’t mind customers who like to lounge, sip café au lait, and read. This venue also features live music on most weekends.
La Maison Smith • 23, rue Notre-Dame • Free wi-fi • $ • A gourmet and speciality food shop and café, La Maison Smith is located across from Notre-Dame-des-Victories church (the oldest church in North America, circa 1688) and a busy place in high season. The café sells pastries, maple treats, and macarons; as well as jams and teas. The coffee is good, and the chocolate chaud delicious.
Café-Bar Artefact • 8, rue Saint-Antoine • Free wi-fi • $$ • Located in Auberge Saint-Antoine, Café-Bar Artefact is decorated with artefacts dating back to the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries has comfortable seating, and one of the BEST chocolat chaud in the city.
Chez Baguette & Cie • 217, rue Saint-Paul • Free wi-fi • $ • A small café on rue Saint-Paul, Baguette & Cie serves really good coffee, fresh croissants, and homemade meals. This café is more of a locals hotspot and a good choice for some quiet time.
La Brulerie St-Roch • 375, rue Saint-Joseph Est. • Free wi-fi • $ • A local café chain, La Brulerie has five locations in the city (the Saint-Roch location was the first). La Brulerie offers a worldly selection of coffees and okay pastries. The café has three floors, which makes it easy to find a quiet space to work or read.
La Brulerie Ste-Jean • 881 rue Saint-Jean • Free wi-fi • $ • Another location of the local La Brulerie chain, this space is two storeys and a little roomier (the Saint-Roch location is skinny and tall). There are very few tables on the ground floor, it’s best to sit upstairs.