The 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. This 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.