Sketching At Paillard In Quebec City

2013-10-10Gallerie_colorThe first restaurant I sketched was the new Paillard in one of the Quebec City Malls.  You can read about it in a post about the brown-paper sketchbook, if you like.  This one has few walls and I sketched it while standing outside the restaurant.

But there’s another Paillard that is more famous, if restaurant fame is measured by being part of tourist’s agenda items when they visit Quebec City.  logo-paillardThis one, the original Paillard, is in downtown Quebec City, the “old” city, on rue St. Jean.  This is not a really old cafe where poetry was read and music played in the 60s like Chez Temporel.  In fact, when I came to Quebec City long ago to do a post-doctoral fellowship, the location of Paillard was a grocery store ‘down the street’ from my apartment and I shopped there regularly.

But in the intervening years I moved away and Paillard took the place of the grocery store. It has become a ‘hot spot’ for tourists.  It’s a large, brightly-lit and roomy melange of a bakery and a café.  Their pastries are wonderful but the real star is their frothy coffee drinks, including one of my favorites, the bol de café au lait.  I’m mostly ignorant of differences between latte, cappuccino, and the other frothy drinks are but in the case of café au lait  I think it’s heaven.  While I normally drink my coffee black, I’ll break with tradition for a bol de café au lait.  It’s strong coffee with lots of frothy milk added to it and I add a bit of brown sugar to the mix.  But it’s the bol part of the equation that’s important…it comes in a soup bowl so you get a lot of it.

I’m rambling.  Sorry.  Claudette and I went to sketch Paillard the other day and we had a great time.  I got my bol de café au lait and a muffin.  She was less of a cochon (pig) and got a regular café au lait.  We were there early and pretty much had the place to ourselves.  There were a couple people sitting behind me and Claudette started sketching them.  With no people in my sight line I drew food and chairs and tables.  Ultimately I did quickly sketch a woman who was ordering something, maybe her own bol de café au lait .  Here is my tribute to Paillard.

Stillman & Birn Alpha (4x6), TWSBI MIni, Platinum Carbon Black

Stillman & Birn Alpha (4×6), TWSBI MIni, Platinum Carbon Black

Sketching At Chez Temporel

I first came to Quebec City to do a post-doctoral fellowship.  That was to last two years and it did, and I left as I took a research position in Ontario.  More significant, though, was that during that period I met my wife.

I knew nothing of Quebec and even less French than I know now.  You can’t do much with a vocabulary that consists of bonjour, champagne and pamplemousse.  Why I knew the word for grapefruit is still a mystery to me.  If you’ve ever been in a city where you don’t speak the language, you know that sticking to tourist areas and shopping where prices are clearly marked is a survival skill.  I ate at McDonalds a lot because I could order by number.  And so life was for me.  Many parts of the city were off limits to me.

When I started dating my wife, she took me places I’d never been.  One of those places was Chez Temporel, a small cafe off the main streets.  Its facade would not be out of place in Paris and, at the time, the inside could easily have been a place where writers and artists went to talk and philosophize.  In fact, according to history, Chez Temporel hosted poetry readings and folk music on its second floor.

I discovered bol du cafe au lait (bowl of coffee with milk).  I’d never heard of drinking coffee from a bowl and, typically, I put nothing in my coffee.  But I LIKED this stuff, particularly the large volume of it that came in the bowl.  My remembrance of that first bol might be sweetened by the memories of a budding love affair but that’s another story, for another time.

Today I’m reporting on a more recent trip to Chez Temporel, this time with sketching buddy Claudette.  We arrived at 9:30 which, on a Monday, is a great time to go there to sketch there if you want to sketch the restaurant itself.  Not so much if you want to sketch people as this is their lull period.  We had a great time.  Claudette did sketch the few people who were eating.  I sketched this:

Stillman & Birn Alpha (4x6), TWSBI Mini, Platinum Carbon Black

Stillman & Birn Alpha (4×6), TWSBI Mini, Platinum Carbon Black