The Malls of Quebec City Sure Are Terrific!
What a vacation! Wow, everything people have told me about Quebec City is
true! What a simply beautiful city! Quebec City has some of the most beautiful
shopping malls that I've ever visited!
A trip to Quebec City has to begin with a trip to the incredible Place Fleur-de-Lys.
The first thing that you'll notice about this mall set on the scenic suburban
plains of Boulevard Wilfrid Hamel is the beautiful, neo-classical architecture.
The lines, the spiraling, the door construction, the usage of big windows,
it all shouts Gustave Montfort, the Swiss legend who was commissioned to re-design
the mall in 1996.
The largest shopping mall in the Quebec City area, Place Fleur-de-Lys offers
tourists 250 stores and boutiques from which to choose, including uniquely
Canadian department stores like Future Shop, Zeller, La Baie,
as well as American-as-apple pie Sears, not to mention the other outlets
of large corporations that just ooze with character and charm, or the supporting
cast, as I like to call them! There's also a few stores with strange names
you've probably never heard of that offer some of the most peculiar retail
experiences you'll ever enjoy, like La Boutique des Cravates; a store
dedicated exclusively to ties. Honest, that's all they sell! Crazy, isn't
it? Are you sure we're on the same continent?
Bring the kids along! This shopper's paradise proudly proclaims itself as
the most child friendly shopping centre in Canada. Every June, it's host to
North America's largest competitive musical chairs competition, with eight
different age categories for children up to 18. Not only that, but there's
child-care available if you want to spend some time alone with that special
someone at one of Place Fleur-de-Lys's seven lingerie retailers, (naughty
naughty!) group activities for kids like gift wrapping and coat checking,
and breast feeding is welcome and encouraged throughout the mall! What a liberated
society in which these people live! Vive le Québec libre indeed!
Place Fleur-de-Lys also has a recently renovated food court (also done by
Montfort) featuring the finest of mall cuisine, including Subway, McDonald's
Express and A&W, to name but a few. Be sure to try 'poutine,'
a Quebec delicacy composed of french fries, cheese curds, covered in gravy-fattening
but delicious! Hey, you're on vacation, live it up! Bring a fresh credit card
with a big limit, and maybe a debit card to boot when you go to Place Fleur-de-Lys!
Our next stop was the Les Galleries de la Capitale. In the French language
spoken in Quebec, I learned that it is common for their shopping malls to
be called 'Galleries.' And how appropriate that is! A classical, understated
shopping environment in the West end of the city, Les Galleries de la Capitale
is a throwback to simpler times, possessing small mall ambience in a medium-sized
Here, you're not just viewed as a number or a wallet, but as a human being.
You can just tell that the clerks serving you truly care about their work.
Shoeing tourists isn't just a paycheck, it's a calling for these people.
Aside from the diverse stores and services, Les Galleries de la Capitale
has one of the finest food court areas in terms of both selection and quality
of fare that I have ever seen in a mid-range, 120-150 store mall. A highly
recommended dining experience is to stop by Nickels, a 50's-themed
diner at the far end of the food court that I was told by my delightful waitress
Melanie is a chain throughout Quebec. Nickels is in fact part-owned
by pop diva Céline Dion, who originally is from Quebec province. (I
had no idea she was of French-Canadian ancestry, I always thought she was
a native Floridian.) I could go on, but see Les Galleries de la Capitale for
Forgive me for my repeated usage of the word 'beautiful,' but Place Ste-Foy
in the West-end suburb of Ste-Foy is a shopper's mall. Clean, orderly, well
organized-what you see it what you get. No gimmicks, no flash, just plenty
of parking and pure unadulterated shopping. This is how malls were meant to
be. To top it all off, Place Ste-Foy is actually attached to the Hotel Québécois,
so you never have to venture outside of air conditioning in the humid Quebec
City summer. You step out of your room, and you're literally right there,
in time for the store openings first thing in the morning!
Although the dominant language in Quebec City is French, there is no language
barrier when shopping in the malls of Quebec City. Once you've proclaimed
in no uncertain terms that you can't speak French (it might take a couple
of tries-be sure to be excessively loud) and the staff realize you're not
Canadian, you'll have no problem getting served in English, especially when
they see all of those U.S. greenbacks.
Speaking of which, with the Canadian dollar trading at an all-time low against
the U.S. dollar, the exchange rate is phenomenal for Americans. For example,
after doing the math, I figured out that the Whitney Houston CD that I purchased
cost me only 87 cents U.S.! What a bargain! When I'm back in Canada, I'm going
to pick up every Kenny G CD that's missing from my collection.
I can't wait to go back to Quebec City to hit all the malls that I missed,
but duty calls! Make way for Melva!
Next Week: The Shopping Malls of Rome
Melva McClintock is the Editor of Shopping Mall Tourist Magazine,
based in Orlando, Florida.
Posted on August 10th, 2001