Le Moulin de Provence // Ottawa’s open-air neighborhood bakery.

If you ever find yourself in Ottawa, Canada, more specifically the Byward Market district, and in need of a no frills, no fuss place to grab a morning snack or lunchtime meal then seek out Le Moulin de Provence. Our first afternoon in Canada’s capital city was full of exploring the Byward Market area where we were staying. This area of Ottawa is teeming with local produce stands, restaurants of countless varieties, brewhouses, eclectic stores, and so much more. It was late afternoon when we first happened upon Le Moulin de Provence and I made it a point that my family and I needed to go there for breakfast the next morning.

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The entryway even boasts of President Obama’s visit in 2008! He “loves this country!”

Located at the north end of the Byward Market, Le Moulin de Provence easily stands out. The front of the shop is inviting, with red umbrellas dotting the outdoor tables and creating a shady, come take a seat, atmosphere. When the weather is good, the “windows” are all rolled up and the entire shop is open. Being able to sit inside and hear the goings-on of the vendors and passerby creates a very cozy and welcoming atmosphere. I genuinely felt like I was in a neighborhood where I belonged and could sit and enjoy a cup of coffee and a morning paper in peace.

Once through the front doors, you will be faced with case after case of baked goods and pastries. The front of the shop is dedicated to breads and morning treats, while the cases that run down the side of the shop are filled with sandwiches, cold dishes, and decadent desserts. Behind the front counter is a shiny espresso machine they use to make the classic drinks on their menu. Their coffee list is pared down, only ranging from black drip coffee, cappuccino, espresso, and the like. While it may not satisfy someone needing specialty drinks we’ve all become used to, the coffee at Le Moulin de Provence is made well and is truly a perfect complement to one of their baked delights.

On my first visit to this shop, I started off my morning with their chocolate almond croissant and a cappuccino. The cappuccino was rich and bold with the thick foam on top acting as the perfect balancing note. It was definitely the most authentic cappuccino I’ve had in my life. To accompany the drink I had a just-sweet-enough chocolate almond croissant. It was much more almond than chocolate, but when I did get a taste of chocolate it was a great addition to the natural, subdued sweetness of the almond cream. The pairing of the cappuccino and the pastry was great; the bitterness of the coffee played off of the sweetness of the croissant and made for a well balanced breakfast.

Our second visit to Le Moulin de Provence was much different from our first. Our first visit was languid as we had little to do but explore the shops around us. Our second day was booked with sightseeing tours around the city, so we had much less time to sit around the shop and pick at our baked goods. So, in a no nonsense fashion, I started my day off with a simple coffee with cream and a huge (and I mean huge) plain croissant. I’m a sucker for a croissant any day, but freshly made ones really get me going. This pastry was the perfect combination of fluffy and flaky, and the flavor was so buttery I didn’t have to add anything to it. My coffee was standard and a great basic staple to any breakfast. This is honestly a meal I could see myself having any morning. Simple yet being fresh and locally made makes it seem decadent.

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When I said it was a big croissant, I meant it!

As our trip to Ottawa wound to an end, we decided to get some desserts from le Moulin de Provence to celebrate a great vacation. We had a sampling of cheesecake and a custard tart topped with fresh fruit! The cheesecake was rich and decadent. I’m not the biggest custard fan, it was well received by the rest of my family. My biggest dessert highlight was their famous “Obama cookies” featuring the face of the Right Honorable Justin Trudeau. I got three and some even managed to make it back to the states!

After making a stop to Le Moulin de Provence a part of my morning routine for a few days, I sorely miss it back at home. One thing Indiana is definitely lacking is open-air French bakeries and we need to get on that ASAP.

Find out more about Le Moulin de Provence here!
Visiting Ottawa? Check out the actual place!
Le Moulin de Provence // 55 Byward Market Square, Ottawa ON

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