By miranda | December 20, 2010
Ahh, quelle belle ville. Our stay in Montreal has been really great. It started out by arriving at the Auberge Les Bons Matins, where we were to spend the first two nights of our stay. These are also the only two nights where we are not staying with friends or family, and so we treated ourselves a little. We wanted a place close to the Bell Centre so that we wouldn’t have to worry about parking or transit to go to the game, and a few internet searches later we found mostly the usual hotel-type places… and this one. I encourage anyone traveling here to try it out. Their website is www.bonsmatins.com and they have pictures of many of their suites. They’re a bit expensive, but for what we got, I think it was worth it. A “high-end” hotel room in the same area of Montreal costs about the same, and this place was a unique experience. They also serve an excellent breakfast, which comes with the room.
The first night we went out for supper with friends at Au Pied de Cochon. What an excellent dining experience! It was a good thing we were there with a large group because it meant we got to try many menu items. Apparently this place used to be featured in a show on the Food Network. They use fois gras in or on almost anything, including poutine (which we didn’t try) and a hamburger (which we did). I had the pied de cochon, which was superbly tasty, smothered in an onion sauce and accompanied with a piece of deep-fried head cheese. The kids also tried some of the head cheese, and while I didn’t see Sophie eat much of it, Desmond gobbled it down. This place is not for the faint-of-heart (literally – it could give you a heart-attack ) but the flavours were incredible. Yummy yum yum yum.
The next night was Habs vs. Bruins at Centre Bell, which turned into another unforgettable experience. It was so great to watch a game in that building, the energy was really contagious. Harry and I didn’t have seats together, but we were close, so each of us had a kid in lap. Desmond was with me and he did great the whole game. Sophie was on Harry’s lap, and had a rough time for the first couple of periods, but an ice cream power bar during the second intermission revived her and she really enjoyed the third. Desmond, for his part, managed to fall asleep with about six minutes left even though the building kept getting louder and louder, as the Bruins made a final push to try even up the score. They were ultimately unsuccessful, and then the crowd got even louder as the clock ticked down to a Canadiens victory. Oh what fun! I even donned the home team’s colours, much to Harry’s delight.
Our last night was spent with Heather and Tom, where we were wined and dined in the comfort of their new place. They live in a great appartment, and from the sound of it, the neighbourhood provides all they need within just a few blocks. Such a very different life than our subburban living in Edmonton, charming and appealing in it’s own way. I was much charmed by Montreal. In another life I might have ended up there, but I’m happy with the life I’m in right now, so I’ll remain happy to be a visitor in this fair city.
We are currently in Toronto (or more correctly, Brampton) resting and relaxing and recovering from some traveling sicknesses. We have very gracious and understanding hosts, letting us overrun their house with two little bundles of energy. Due to the sickness part, we’re not getting all the visiting done in this corner of the world that we had hoped, but at least Gaston and Cathy get to see lots of us!
One more full day here and then we’re headed back to Ottawa to finish off the trip with Harry’s Mom and some various visiting around that fair city.