Wednesday, June 06, 2007

One more night in Montreal

Well that's about it. Just like that, our (almost) 2 week stay in Montreal is almost at an end. Here I sit, alone in our lovely suite here on Place Square Phillips, waiting for my dear Yoshiko to return from her day trip to Quebec City, and I decided to spend the time posting to ol' S&M.

It has been quite nice to spend this time here in Montreal, even if my days were taken up with work. I'm glad to report that I am now fully functional in the technical department, just in time for the end of my contract tomorrow. Oh well, with any luck, something else might be spawned from this little séjour in Montreal. It would be really great if the Firm could find a spot for me, even if it is temporary or contract or whatever, working out of the Ottawa office... with the technology we have, it doesn't really matter where one is actually sitting, I can work on any computer across the country in our various offices. Something to ponder...

Almost every day, we've ended up strolling around Old Montreal, mostly since it has such a concentration of GREAT food... and I have an expense account! Last night, for the first time, we busted out over the 100$ mark... and neither of us are drinking! Good stuff though... here's a quick breakdown of our top picks during our stay here:
Best appetizer: Escargot, Le St-Amable, Place Jacques Quartier.
Best main course: Anything on the menu, Creperie Chez Suzette, rue St-Paul Est
Best dessert: Creme Brulee, Restaurant du Vieux Port, rue St-Paul Est
Best atmosphere: Le St-Amable, Place Jacques Quartier
Best service: Creperie Chez Suzette, rue St-Paul Est
Best bang for the buck: St-Hubert

I will certainly miss having my meals subsidized as my contract ends, we've had some REALLY fantastic food here.

Here are some more pictures I took recently.... the weather has been crap this week so I haven't taken my camera out much. This lovely building I ended up taking pictures almost every time I walked by. Just walking around the city, even in the newer part of downtown around out hotel, you'll find an old relic crammed between modern skyscrapers... the city really has a great character.

Not far away, you can find a street where the lights are on 24 hours a day. The reason for this is that the street still has its original gas lighting system.

Last Friday night, we went to a great little Creperie down in the Old Port and had some of their fantastic dinner crepes. The place is called Creperie Chez Suzette (you'll see it mentioned twice above) and this is their shrimp crepe... AMAZING!

This is the Notre Dame Basilica, which towers over the neighbourhood, standing up to the office buildings which have cropped up around it.

One of the great features of Montreal, especially in the winter or when it rains, is the network of underground tunnels which let you run around downtown while staying dry and warm... yes warm... most of the underground areas are heated. Much like Toronto, the network connects hotels, metro stations, shopping malls and office towers together, though traveling from one place to another can be quite disorienting.

Here is another example of Montreal's mix of old and new. This shot was taken from the roof of our hotel, the Square Phillips. You can see the roofline of older building right across the street with the towering skyscrapers a little further out and the beautiful Christ Church Cathedral nestled in the middle.

Montreal holds some of the most fantastic churches to be found outside of Europe. This is the inside of the massive domed Cathedrale Notre Dame.

Another thing you'll see (and often smell) when you walk around the streets of old Montreal, are these horse and buggy tour guides plying their trade. For around 40 bucks, they're run you around the neighbourhood for a half hour pointing out items of interest and telling you quick stories. I guess talking on a cell phone while driving one of these is less of an issue than a car, eh?

Coincidentally, right after snapping the last photo, Lace and her driver wheeled on by. We'd taken a ride with them earlier in the week.

On Sunday afternoon, we decided to make the run up Mont Royal to see St-Joseph's Oratory, a huge church which sits atop the mountain. Despite the cloudy conditions, the view from up here was great. I would love to come back at night some time. The building is relatively recent, even though the initial mission was established at the turn of the century. Inside the building, one can find the preserved heart of Frere Andre, the founder of the small chapel which eventually turned into this behemoth. He was known to heal those who came to seek his help and you can find crutches and other items supposedly left behind by those he healed. This is the largest church in Canada and it's dome is second in size only to St-Peter's Basilica in Rome.

Just behind St-Joseph's sits Westmount, an opulent neighbourhood filled with some lovely homes. Notably, this quaint one sits just outside the gates of the Oratory.

And that's about it for Montreal. Tomorrow night, we hop on the train and head on back to Ottawa just in time to get our shipment which we sent from Japan back in April... 2 weeks late, but so long as it's in ok shape, we don't care!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow Montreal looks so beautiful. The churches remind me of of this opposite's_Cathedral,_Tokyo cathedral in Tokyo which I have never been to but judging by the pics it is boring plain concrete inside and space shuttle style on the out. Its nice to see the beautiful architecture of Montreal maybe I should go there in person one day, til then thanks for the pics.

11:38 AM  
Blogger tornados28 said...

Sorry about your beloved Sens getting whupped by the Ducks.

As a Kings fan, I am even more depressed. Oh when will the misery end.

1:05 PM  
Blogger Michel Lafleur said...

Yeah, Montreal is a beautiful city, that's for sure... great place to visit.

Too bad about the Sens, but I will admit they didn't deserve anything more than they got. They played great in the first 3 rounds... and advanced... them promptly stopped playing.

10:16 PM  
Blogger Anskov said...

Great pics Michel. How's things going these days> When are you gonna come visit good old St. Paul/Mpls.?

Once I get settled, I'll start to look at ticket prices for Ottawa and maybe see about taking a weekend trip.

9:23 AM  

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