Montreal, c’est si bon!

When I was a vain young woman, light years ago, a man once said to me “you’re not the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen but there’s something about you.” I was, of course, hurt because I was too stupid to recognize a true compliment.

I feel that way about Montreal. There are cities with more impressive skylines, grandiose monuments, luxuriant gardens, and iconic bridges but there’s just something about Montreal.

Take its namesake, Mt. Royal. It’s not really a mountain; it’s a hill. But what a peaceful way to spend an afternoon, climbing to the top on a gently winding path.

Of course, when I was eighteen and hungry for adventure, I’d bounded to the top on a series of steep stairs and listened to the musician, song-writer whose beautiful face now smiles down upon the campus of McGill University.

After leaving Mt. Royal, we walked down to the river through Vieux Montreal. There, in honor of that great Quebecer and photographer extraordinaire, Norm Frampton, I found a door.

And here is the plaque outside the door.

Across from the bank is Notre Dame Basilica:

We didn’t go inside because there was a line and we had a cruise to catch. But I did manage to catch a shot of the side door.

Besides being known as the city of a hundred bells, Montreal is also famous for its assortment of “quirky” buildings.

Most were built for Expos, World Fairs and Olympics. I should have been paying more attention to the tour guide but I was drinking this lovely Canadian ale and getting a sunburn.  Seriously, a sunburn in early October in Montreal? This apartment complex, called Habitat 67, was designed by a young architect as a part of his master’s thesis. Joel thought it was a little too quirky for his tastes but that’s Montreal.  Perhaps not the most beautiful city but an original.

43 thoughts on “Montreal, c’est si bon!

  1. What a shame that the timing didn’t work for us to meet up, but it’s so cool to know you were here!
    Walking from the top of ‘the mountain’ all the way to the Old Port is quite a haul – good for you. It’s too bad you didn’t get to go inside the Basilica. It is truly one of the most majestic churches I’ve ever been in, and that includes ones in Italy.
    I’m looking forward to hearing more about your trip 🙂

    1. It would have been lovely to meet up! Perhaps next time. My husband, who’d never been to eastern Canada, adored Montreal and Halifax. The weather was so lovely that when we heard the cruises were still running we just had to take advantage of that rare bit of good luck! Yes, walking back to our hotel that night wiped us out. I’m sure we’ll be back.

      1. Well if the timing works when you come back, just know that you have two enthusiastic amateur tour guides at your disposal. We’d be thrilled to meet up and show you both around.
        Cheers 🙂

  2. Now I almost made it to East Canada a few years ago but family got on the way. Youve re-inspired me in my ambition PS love the apartments as boulders btw

    1. It’s a lovely city for those of us who prefer to see the sights by foot. Even if the weather is bad, there are underground passageways linking large parts of the downtown area.

  3. Thanks J that was a great tour through your words and camera lenses. I would love to visit Canada one day. I have seen an article on Habitat 67 before I rather like it 💜💜💜

  4. We went to Montreal on a family vacation when I was a girl. I adored it. From all that I’ve read & seen since then it looks inviting. Thanks for sharing your adventures here.

    1. Since it’s such a friendly city I imagine it would be the perfect spot for a family vacation. There’s a Six Flags amusement park directly across the water from the old port..

  5. Your account and photos make me want to (finally!) book a trip to east Canada. My brother went there for an engineering conference a long time ago and was stunned at the tunnel system that kept him warm and dry during the winter snow. He wished Cornell had that.

    There are some amazing cemeteries in Montreal!

    1. We saw a part of the underground tunnel system and it doesn’t feel like being in a tunnel at all. Course, the weather was so perfect that everyone was outside!

  6. I like this kind of beauty 🙂 Even the funny construction that must be a part of a sport arena, doesn’t look out of place. And that apartment block that resembles a pile of rocks looks so natural that I can picture a heard of mountain goats climbing from one roof to another. And of course the mural of Leonard Cohen with his heart still beating – it is stunning. Photographs taken with love, I would say. Thank you for this excursion.

    1. Thank you Inese. The leaning building is a part of a sport complex only I couldn’t recall if it had been built for the Olympics or the Expo. Too busy enjoying the sun/

  7. i flew in to Montreal twenty-some years ago, had a day and a half there before moving on in other Quebec places, and the impression Montreal left on me remains. It’s beautiful and I want to go back!

  8. Since I’ve been recently shown a photo of a certain guest room in said city by said monsieur Frampton, I had a close look at your photos imagining myself there. They say this is how the future is made.

    1. Montreal is generally not a place on people’s must-see list. There’s no iconic image like the Eiffel Tower or Golden Gate Bridge but as I get older, I find those aren’t the sort of tourist trap places I want to see anymore. Thank you for the comment and I hope you have a lovely day as well.

      1. Very good. Here in Finland, every tourist wants to visit standard tourist places of Helsinki, but if they would go outside Helsinki, they would have awesome experiences and in some cases once in a lifetime experience.

  9. I think you summed up Montreal perfectly. I don’t know the city – I’ve only visited briefly a couple of times over the years, but you’re right. There is just ‘something’ about Montreal. It feels like a shoe that you put on and is instantly comfortable …. a rare thing actually.

    Nice to meet a fellow Leonard Cohen fan. He’s not to everyone’s taste – a bit unusual. Perhaps the quintessential Montrealer 🙂

    1. Thanks Joanne. I first saw Leonard Cohen in Montreal so they are forever linked in my mind. I was so happy to see his mural on that apartment building. You can actually see it from the top of Mont Royal.

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