Day 1: Vieux-Montreal

Organ

Originally uploaded by ryanocerosk.

My mother and I decided that a day in old Montreal was in store on our first full day. We walked to the area through the financial district, stopping for a french pastery and coffee for breakfast. Walking is generally a good choice especially for a sunny, if a bit nippy, day.

We simply stumbled upon our first stop: Notre-Dame Basilica. Although it’s named Notre-Dame, it bears little resemblance to Notre-Dame in Paris. In fact, apparently, it’s more like Westminster Abbey in London. I’ve seen (and sung in) in a lot of churches but this one certainly takes the cake for most colorful (minus perhaps the gold of Saint Mark’s Basilica in Venice). Its deep blue color dominates the palate completed with ornate wood carvings (see picture above). Lovely rose windows in the ceiling with an organ in the back. We also went to the Sacre-Coeur chapel behind the main altar. The chapel is a modern shock but very well lit and designed as well as acoustically sound.

We wondered around the rest of Vieux-Montreal taking in the European charm of a lot of restaurants, cafes, and shops. The Montreal streets are certainly wider than in Paris. We also made our way down to the waterfront which makes for a nice stroll much like Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco except it’s cold and the boats have all been pulled from the water.

We ate lunch at Le Club Chasse et Peche on Rue St. Claude. This place just has an symbol for a sign and an unmarked door. The restaurant was featured in the New York Times (36 Hours in Montreal) as a hot spot for excellent cuisine. It was indeed a treat especially after being holed up in Middlebury for the last several months. I had the lobster bisque to start and the bison flank steak with polenta for an entree. Excellent all around and somewhat less expensive for the same food than eating there dinner.

We walked back to the hotel through the several blocks of Chinatown. Eh, at least it’s bigger than the Atlanta Chinatown. Before making it back to the hotel, we took a walk through the main gates of McGill University. It has got the urban campus thing going on.

More to come but feel free to click on the picture to browse today’s collection of photos.

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