Friday, August 1, 2014

Montreal

This city has charm. Its charm runs deep. It has layers and textures. Montreal is a city of facets and contrasts.

It is old, and it is new.

It's French, and it's English, and Italian, and Portuguese. It is Greek, and Vietnamese. Chinese and German. It's proudly Jewish, and Catholic, Muslim and Hindu.

Montreal lives underground, and on a mountain. It's surrounded by water in the middle of a vast plain. Far inland, yet with an ocean port.

It can be steamy and hot, or bitterly cold.

It has passion, and culture runs very deep. It is strident, and gentle; boisterous, yet with dignity to spare.

Montreal loves food, and food loves Montreal.

Montreal strolls, it rides bikes. Traffic never stops. It gets around. Once or twice a year cars scream at hundreds of miles an hour, in Montreal.

We work hard, and play hard. We ski and we sail. Politics and controversy are a way of life here. We are discrete. Possessions and social standing are rarely a topic of conversation.

It's hard to be indifferent here. Over-stimulation is a risk.
So it's nice to shift gears sometimes. To coast into one of the city's layers, stop for a moment. Sit in the sun. Savour a rich impossibly perfect café au lait and croissant, leaf through a morning paper. Listen to children chatting as they make their way along the sidewalk.
Croissanterie Figaro is one of Montreal's Parisian oases. Fifteen minutes from the skyscrapers, yet a world away.

Ten minutes here lasts all day.

PS: I returned a few days later to indulge again.

11 comments:

  1. Sounds like a perfect spot to while away a few minutes on a hot summer day.

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    1. It's odd that I love this city, don't have much love for Toronto, but can't wait to move there.

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  2. A beautiful view of your city ... did I hear you say you are moving to T.O.?

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    1. More like hoping to move. It's something we both want. It will happen, the question is when.

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  3. How lovely.

    I'd love to go back to Montreal. One day I hope to.

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    1. The best time is mid June to end of July when things are hopping.

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  4. I did my best while on my Maritimes trip to avoid Montreal and instead concentrated on Quebec City before heading out to Gaspe. One more thing that needs remediation....

    I thank you David for adding to the list.

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    1. Doug, Quebec City is a jewel. The old city both above and below the ramparts is breathtaking.

      Where Montreal shines is in the variety of urban settings. With 17th century architecture that rivals Quebec City, through thoroughly modern, 19th century mercantile, early and mid 20th century commercial, to late 20th and 21st century vast 'quartiers' focused around public spaces that make urban living a charm rather than a chore.

      Think more Chicago or Boston, than New York or Toronto.

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  5. Ah, David. Your posting makes me want to visit again. This is exactly how I remember this beautiful city.

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    1. And the good news is, if you do come, you have a place to stay, a choice of complimentary car, or Vespa, and willing tour guides on weekends and holidays.

      So it's only air fare away.

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    2. We might be taking you up on this one ;-) Thanks so much for your kindness.

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The copyright in all text and photographs, except as noted, belongs to David Masse.