Montréal: highlights

We walked quite a lot around Old Montréal, the Latin Quarter, and some of the downtown. Thanks to Beth and J and their car tour we saw even more beyond. Here are only a few of our favourite photos of spots full of history in this lovely old city…







Previous posts about our trip to Montréal:
Back from Montréal
Montréal: roofs
Montréal: feasts

Montréal: feasts

Montréal was a feast for the eyes, the soul and the stomach! We enjoyed a variety of ethnic meals in a variety of cafés and restaurants: African, Bretagne, Lebanese, Chinese, and of course French from casual to haute cuisine. A highlight for us was the day Beth and Jonathan took us to a cheese shop with a huge variety of Quebec cheeses, many that we’ve never seen, then to an amazing, colourful and huge farmer’s market with abundant local produce, herbs, colourful flowers, and plants for the garden. The fine bakery next door offered fabulous breads and we paused in our shopping for some coffee and cheesecake with strawberries with enough leftover for the next day! All this was followed later by a wonderful home cooked dinner at Beth and J’s home with local wild asparagus, new potatoes and fresh strawberries bought at that market!







(photos by my husband, except the group one, which was taken by a passerby)

P.S. Please read Visits of the Heart, Beth’s most lovely post about our time together.

And, in case you missed them, these previous posts about our trip to Montréal:
Back from Montréal
Montréal: roofs
Plus the next one: Montréal: highlights

Montréal: roofs




Our hotel was located on the edge of the Latin Quarter so we were really able to enjoy the mix of architectural styles and details in the variety of buildings in the area when out walking. I was particularly struck by the roof details as well as the way some of the older apartments were adjoined, their lovely ironwork stairs and tiny front gardens. So different from home – isn’t that what makes travel wonderful?!

More about our trip to Montréal:
Back from Montréal
Montréal: feasts
Montréal: highlights

back from Montréal

Late last night we returned from several lovely days in Montréal. This was my first visit there, not counting passing through on the train from the ship in Halifax to Winnipeg as a five-year-old immigrant with my family long ago! On this, my husband’s second trip there, we combined much pleasure with a little business for him. And oh, what pleasure to get acquainted with this very French and very multicultural historic old city!

The greatest pleasure naturally was to meet face to face for the first time and spend many delightful hours with Beth of The Cassandra Pages and her husband Jonathan. We all connected immediately as if old friends, which always amazes us about the blog community!



I’ll be writing more later but to start, above are two photos taken inside the Notre-Dame Basilica. The outside is not as magnificent as the one in Paris but inside it is very beautiful. (We didn’t see inside the Paris one to compare.) I loved the new and modern Sacré-Coeur Chapel, below, with it’s simple light wood panelled ceiling and walls and the clerestory windows contrasting with the ornateness of the decorations. Most astounding to me was the huge bronze altarpiece by sculptor Charles Daudelin.



More about our Montréal visit:
Montréal: roofs
Montréal: feasts
Montréal: highlights

a year ago, May 14th

I ran out of time and steam to write much about the last week of our Europe trip a year ago, and since I’m rereading my paper travel diary almost daily, I thought I’d put in a few snippets from it to fill in the gaps, when I get the chance.

We said tearful goodbyes to our family in London after a lovely two and half week stay with them. We were picked up by a taxi service and taken to St. Pancras station which was very nice, like an airport with efficient and friendly service. Way too early as we were, we wandered about then sat down for coffee at a well-known American chain and enjoyed a truly piping hot cuppa with full cream, something that seemed rare in most places in England.

a view from the train still in the UK

The Eurostar train was very pleasant, smooth-riding and fast, offering nice glimpses of the English countryside, and even another ‘white horse’ on a hillside, and a few tunnels along the way. We did not even realize when we were in France (I’d briefly dozed while husband was reading) until I noticed an IKEA Maison and the highways with drivers on the ‘right’ side! The countryside did not look that different.

Gare du Nord station in Paris was not as nice as St. Pancras for parts of it were under reconstruction. It was very busy there while we waited anxiously for our driver who was late to pick us up and take us to the apartment that we’d rented for the week. He did arrive and was most apologetic due to the rush hour. First impressions from the back of the car were of polite drivers but many aggressive motorcyclists, including women, and regular cyclists on bicycle paths that were part of wide sidewalks rather than the busy road. People seemed very relaxed even in the rush hour.

We picked up our keys and were then driven down a very narrow lane, more of a pedestrian lane, to our building in Le Marais district close to the Seine River. The elevator was not working so we had quite a trek up the winding stairs with luggage up to the third floor, thanks to the help of the driver. The apartment, as we expected, was modest but clean and facing an inner courtyard so fairly quiet. Lovely big bed after that narrow hideway at daughter’s and a real shower in the bathroom!

our street in Le Marais

After relaxing for a while we went out to explore the area. Two small supermarkets below us and a health food store around the corner, many cafes and patisseries around. Hôtel de Ville (city hall) on a big square with a carousel and fountains, beyond the river and a bridge to Île de la Cité. Lots of people out enjoying the evening. Nice. A light supper at a nearby cafe before we wandered back “home”.

Hôtel de Ville square at dusk

the fountains by Hôtel de Ville square

Wow. We are really in Paris!

a year ago

…we arrived in London!

I’ve started to reread my posts about our trip to the UK and Paris (under the ‘travel’ category). Here is the first one about getting ready for the big trip. Interesting to note how much later everything was in the garden last year. I also pulled out my tiny little travel diary with it’s meager quick notes about each day’s adventures as I was usually too tired each evening to write much. Example from April 26th, on the plane:

A window seat, thought I’d booked aisle. Trouble with swelling feet. No sleep. Dinner somewhat OK. Breakfast all sugar!
Cryptic, no marks for great writing here. And here’s the 27th in London:

Arrived 10:30 am, a Monday in London. Rainy. Looong passport queue. Picked up by driver arranged by J – nice service! Lovely to see the family! The girls seem to have grown more inches since Christmas. After lunch, a walk to local shopping street in Muswell Hill: Planet Organics, Sainsbury’s, a garden and gift shop. Brief nap. Sleeping in lowest level of charming three level flat, hide-a-bed in living room. Bathroom top level, a narrow winding staircase.


I rarely blogged while on the trip though we had husband’s laptop along. At home it took me months to blog about the whole trip, still leaving Paris barely covered. Maybe I’ll revisit some of those posts (and risk boring readers who’ve already read it all) and maybe fill in some of the gaps, at least with some unposted photos, such as above of our daughter’s family’s home, the flat to the right of the tree. Anyway, for me it’s fun to travel down memory lane and dream about another trip some day.

Paris: Notre Dame #2





Paris: Notre Dame




Too tired for words, so it’s a good time to post more of our photos of Paris. Notre Dame de Paris is a magestic awe-inspiring beauty, both architecturally and sculpturally. Just across the Seine and short walk from our apartment, we visited it several times, though not indoors because of long lineups. More photos to come…

Paris: arches






Arches beguile me,
these ancient architectural and structural elements,
these passages of invitation to something magical beyond…

(Should you have missed them, earlier posts about our spring trip to the UK and Paris can be found under travel.)

Paris: details #4




Even in Paris, birds of a feather stick together. Even the lady has had a visit from feathery friends.