13 May 2012

Montréal — wow!

Montréal is magnificent. We have walked for miles and miles. We had dinner in a famous restaurant (Le Hangar) and the food was fantastic. We had lunch with The Beaver and her husband, and again the food was fantastic. The conversation was just as good. Their house is beautiful.

Bistro à JoJo, rue Saint-Denis, Montréal

Not sure why so many Montréal restaurant display
signs like this one...

Last night we met up with some new friends named Richard and Serge in a café in what is called Le Village in Montréal, not far from our hotel. Richard is the blogger. And Friday afternoon we sat down in a café-bar on the famous rue Saint-Denis, again not far from our hotel, and had a beer while listening to a couple of singer/musicians play rock, blues, and even country music (very "rocked" up).

Would that it were true! I'd move
to Montréal in a flash if it were.

UQÀM is the Université du Québec à Montréal.

The throngs of people out on the the streets and sidewalks were all smiles, enthusiasm, and good nature. The fantastic weather didn't hurt; it was sunny and warm, almost hot. It was probably the first fine weather of the year, and everybody wanted to take advantage of it. There were large, noisy student demonstrations near the rue Saint-Denis.

Not sure whether this is just a cute slogan
or if it's a homeless person's perch.

We didn't have dinner here, but I'm the "big ham"
reflected in the plate glass window.

We found a beautiful church in the northern neighborhoods and a splendidly colorful open-air market full of knock-your-eyes-out produce and lush plants ready to be planted in vegetable gardens. We were sorry not to have a kitchen, and we couldn't really buy anything since we're crossing the border back into the U.S. later today. Destination: Vermont.

EspaceCafé fermé
Montréal is thoroughly bilingual

This is a cute pun on the word "cigarette."
It's an ashtray at a building entrance.

Today is Mother's Day and I want to take this opportunity to send my love and sincere wishes for a great day to my own Ma in North Carolina. I can't really call her today, but will do so in a couple of days, when we get back to Albany.

The word CHUM on the sign in the background is a pun.
« Chum »
in Québec French means friend, but this is also
the Centre Hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal.

Meanwhile, here are some pictures of signs that I've taken all around Montréal. It's been so much fun.


  1. No kidding... you'd really leave France to live in Montréal if the weather were nicer???

    Was it actually the Journée Intérnationale Contre l'homophobie that day? Or was the sign left from another day?

    I'm so glad you're enjoying everthing! (The sign about bringing your own alcohol... are you familiar with that concept in the U.S.? Getting a liquor license is expensive, and some restaurants, before they get the license, just allow you to bring your own. Perhaps that's what the story is there?)

  2. Oh, thanks for the little snippet of your time in Montreal. It makes me want to be there!

  3. @ Judith

    La Journée will be celebrated on the 17th - it's on the left hand side of the banner.

    You are correct as far as BYOB- it works both ways : for the restaurant - no liquor license ( it is expensive and they pass the cost to the customers) and as far as the customers are concerned, why pay for a bottle of wine @ $60.00 when you can purchase that bottle at or below $20 at the liquor or wine store.

  4. Ah oui, Beaver....duuuh on my part! Je vois bien maintenant la date là à gauche... don't know how I missed it :)

  5. Are you speaking and hearing more English or French when interacting with the montréalais?
    The weather looks fantastic.
    Vive le Québec libre!

  6. Montreal is a place I've always wanted to visit. Your post is quite an encouragement to make that happen. Glad you're having fun.

  7. Dean, we spoke French all the time. Or a mixture of French and English. It's easy in Montréal — if you don't know the French word, you just insert the English word in the sentence. We were taken for French and for Swiss at various points.

    The Beaver, after posting I looked up the history of the AVV (Apportez Votre Vin) thing and found that at one time there was a loophole in the law that restaurants without a liquor license could take advantage of, and they did. Judy, yes, "brown-bagging" used to be the law in North Carolina, when many counties were "dry" and restaurants didn't have liquor licenses.

    Chris, Walt and I are talking about how much fun it could be to rent an apartment for a week or two in Montréal. Maybe someday...

    Mitch, I assume you have been to Montréal in the past. It has changed greatly since we were last there in the 1980s.

  8. We were in Montreal in the early 80s and it seems to have livened up...a lot. Glad you are enjoying yourselves!

  9. Ken

    I found something interesting:


    well , never know when this will be possible :-) ( just kidding)

  10. Bonjour Cousine,

    Thank you for the link. I had a good laugh.

    “[...] each time we asked the English equivalent of a menu item, he trotted off to the kitchen and returned with the translation. The fact that he did so gladly was a clear indication that we were not in France.”

    Fifty yeas ago, I would have agreed with the anonymous writer of that presentation about attitudes in France, but now, fortunately, things have changed and French people have become so much more pleasant than they were half a century ago! MDR

  11. I have been a frequent reader of your blog for 2 years. Very pleasant to read. Glad you enjoyed your trip to Montreal. C’est une ville qui « grouille » tout le temps.

  12. Thanks for the comment, glimpseofvad. Oui, parfaitement — ça grouille. There were swarms of people everywhere, all enjoying themselves and the town.

    CHM and Beaver, I agree with CHM about Paris. The mentality and attitudes there have changed completely over the past 30 years. People are less abrupt and more accommodating. At the same time, one French-speaking Montrealer we met told us that when he was in France recently, everytime he spoke French to a French waiter or hotel clerk the answer came back in English. He was mystified and peeved.


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