Last Updated on February 27, 2023 by MacNaughtan
Over the last 12 months, Rimouski and Le Bic have become my escape destination of choice in Quebec. Located about 3.5 hours from Quebec City, in the region of Bas-Saint-Laurent, Rimouski is a vivacious city.
Rimouski (which translates to dog’s abode in Mi’gmaq) was colonized 1696 by Sir René Lepage de Sainte-Claire from Ouanne, Bourgogne, France; after trading his seigneurie on Île d’Orléans with Augustin Rouer de la Cardonnière for the seigneurie of Rimouski. Seigneuries were all the rage in the 17th century, with colonists from France trading land like Monopoly tycoons and building like Settlers of Catan.
Today, Rimouski is a city of around 48,000 people snuggled around the mouth of the Rimouski River and the Saint-Lawrence River. It’s considered the oceanographic capital of Quebec, and the birthplace of famed explorer, Bernard Voyer, who has completed The Explorers Grand Slam (among other adventures).
Rimouski and Le Bic are also a paradise for foodies, which is of the reasons I love them so much. The area is rich with delicious flora and fauna, many of which end up on the tables of local restaurants and in delectable treats at the pâtisseries and boulangeries. Some of the finest Quebec terroir can be found here. Are you ready for some winter gluttony?
Here are 11 delicious reasons to go to Rimouski and Le Bic in winter!
chistmas markets filled with local terroir
In Rimouski and Le Bic, the Christmas Markets are a stage for local artisans and producers to shine. Ideal for dipping your toes into the local culture, and discovering why this part of Quebec is magical.
marché de noël de rimouski
In December each year, Marché de noël de Rimouski takes place Parc de la Gare on the corner of avenue de la Cathérdale and rue de l’Évêché Est. Held on December 17th this year, the Rimouski Christma Market features local artisans and producers: beef, pork, lamb, and chicken producers; preserves, sweet treats, and chees; skincare and herbal products.
where: corner of avenue de la cathédrale and rue de l’évêché est, near parc de la gare, rimouski
marché de noël de vieux loup de mer
This year the Garde Manger at Vieux Loup de Mer will be having a Christmas market from December 16th to 18th. While this delectable little épicerie was created for guests staying in their chalets, the Garde Manger, and the Christmas Market are open to everyone, locals, guests, and whoever is driving by and craving the finest Québec terroir. A must-stop!
where: 3250, route 132 ouest, le bic
vieux loup de mer’s garde manger is a passageway to discovering local artisans and producers
I fell in love with the chalets at Vieux Loup de Mer last year when I was invited to spend a couple of nights. In winter there are five chalets available (there are 15 available the rest of the year), each one with a view of Rose Bay and L’Île-aux-Amours. There are other hotels in Le Bic and Rimouski, but staying at Vieux Loup de Mer feels like home; if home was a rustic chic chalet that represents the history and culture of Quebec.
Inside the red clapboard house, next to the reception desk is the Garde Manger – my bank account’s mortal enemy. Added during the pandemic, this small épicerie is filled with products made by local artisans; prêt-à-manger from Chez Saint-Pierre, Arlequin, and Le Farinographe Boulangerie. Charcuterie, fromage, preserves, and sweet treats by producers in the Bas-Saint-Laurent region. Wines curated by sommelier Julien Gagnon, and Quebec craft beers. There are also beautiful leather bags made in Kamarouska, teddy bears made with recycled mink, art, linens, and books on regional cuisine.
where: 3250, route 132 ouest, le bic
dining at arlequin
Arlequin is one of the best restaurants in Rimouski. Headed by chef Tommy Roy, Arlequin is a 20-seat restaurant with a bring-your-own wine policy. Each week Tommy introduces a new 5-course tasting menu (no à la carte here), which features local fish, seafood, and meats. If you want to experience the flavours of the area, Arlequin is a good place to start. If you have trouble getting a reservation, Tommy offers prêt-à-manger through the Garde Manger at Vieux Loup de Mer.
where: 170-a, rue saint-germain ouest, rimouski
delectable treats at pâtisseries et gourmandises d’olivier
I first visited Pâtisseries et Gourmandises d’Olivier in November 2021 with a friend from Quebec Maritime. It’s long and white, and filled with desserts and pastries that have me salivating just thinking about them. Olivier is incredibly talented, and meticulous in his method. Olivier doesn’t cut corners to save time, and uses local ingredients in each of his creations. I’ve enjoyed little cakes and tartes made with mushrooms, thé Labrador, and various berries – each one moan-worthy. They also have buttery croissants and chocolatines with bananas.
where: 102, rue saint-germain est, rimouski
gourmet foodstuffs at l’ardoise épicerie sympathique
L’Ardoise is an épicerie and comptoir in Rimouski known for its gourmet lunch counter, prêt-à-manger, local products, and wine selection (they also sell crockery, and gifts any foodie would love). L’Ardoise is owned by Yann Boitel, Annie Franck Hudon, Karin Lapointe, and Phillippe Trépanier, and opened its doors in 2015. It’s a local gem and a go-to for high-quality foods (made in-house) – a part of my foodie routine each time I visit!
where: 152, rue saint-germain est, rimouski
les halles st-germain
Les Halles St-Germain is home to a few tasty places. Ma Cabane en Gaspésie is a go-to for all things maple, as well as freshly baked bread and pastries. Then there are the desserts, candy, and sweet terroir at Péchés Mignon. Boucherie des Halles is family owned and operated, and offers high-quality cuts of meat and poultry, as well as charcuterie. Le Maître Saucissier has all things sausage, and Fromage en Tête is cheesy goodness.
where: 119, rue saint-germain ouest, rimouski
croissants and breads at le farinographe boulangerie
Boulangeries are a carb addict’s paradise, and in Rimouski, Le Farinographe is one of my favourites. As a self-proclaimed croissant snob, I am happy to announce that the croissants at Le Farinographe are top-notch. If I’m in Rimouski, I will take time to stop for some, but if I’m staying with Vieux Loup de Mer I’ll buy their ready-to-bake croissants from the Garde Manger. If they have blue cheese baguettes when you visit, buy them! OMG… amazing. Oh, and don’t get me started on the shortbread cookies.
where: 97, rue saint-germain ouest, rimouski
chocolates at aux bienfaits
Aux Bienfaits is a chocolaterie and pâtisserie located in Maison Gauvreau. The house, a Neo-Queen Anne, was built in 1907 and was home to a hydrotherapy clinic and pharmacy. The choclaterie and pâtisserie opened here in 2006, by the Beaulieu family. When visiting Rimouski in winter, stop here for artisanal chocolates, and maybe a bûche de noël if you’re visiting around Christmastime.
where: 1, rue de l’évêché ouest, rimouski
drink at distillerie du st-laurent
You won’t find wineries in Rimouski, but you will find a fabulous distillery, Distillerie du St-Laurent. Known for their gins, St-Laurent was founded by Jean-François Cloutier and Joël Pelletier in 2015. The gin is infused with seaweed from the Saint-Lawrence River, and the whisky is made with local grains. Stop by the distillery and enjoy drinks at the bar, along with charcuterie and local cheeses.
where: 135, ave du père nouvel nord, rimouski
tea and herbal products at flore et fleuve
Flore et Fleuve is a lovely little boutique in Rimouski that specializes in natural products. They work with several artisans, producers, and herbalists to provide products made with ingredients grown in Rimouski and the Bas-Saint-Laurent region. I love their tea selection, especially thé Labrador. The boutique also sells dried medicinal plants, aromatherapy, and skin care products, all made with locally grown natural ingredients.
where: 22, rue saint-germain est, rimouski
coffee at chapeau moustache café
Chapeau Moustache Café is a new addition to Rimouski’s coffee scene. It’s a serene little spot, and a nice way to take a break from exploring Rimouski in winter. Coffee at Chapeau Moustache is roasted on-site, a process that the owner, Evan Couture, started while working at Le Crêpe Chignon (with their encouragement). An excellent spot for coffee lovers, or those like me who enjoy relaxing in a café. Don’t forget to buy some of their beans to enjoy at home, too!
where: 129, rue saint-germain ouest, rimouski