Francophone Canada

Trip Start Mar 01, 2009
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Canada  , Quebec,
Saturday, August 22, 2009

I had been to the province of Quebec, Canada (specifically, Montreal) twice before. But the experience this time around was far richer, probably because of the people who inhabited it.  Lorena, owner of Le Gite St-Andre in Montreal and Nadia of Le Gite Cosy in Quebec City, made us feel right at home.  A bed & breakfast, Le Gite St-Andre is located in Le Plateau neighborhood of Montreal.  It was a fabulous base from which to explore the city and meet interesting people, who indulged my feeble attempts to converse in French, over breakfast.  Sophie, a young French woman, Jerome (also French) on holiday with Clarisse (from Vancouver via The Phillipines), were all very friendly and helpful.  In need of some relaxation, we opted out of traditional sightseeing, and instead, walked, dined and café hopped in Le Plateau, Vieux Montreal, Mont-Royal Parc (designed by Fredrick Law Olmstead), McGill University, and along Sherbrooke. 

Approximately three hours northeast of Montreal, lies Quebec City, a less cosmopolitan, but no less charming town than Montreal.  Positioned along the upper and lower sides of a cliff, we spent two days hiking up and down the stairs of Quebec, enjoying some of the old town (tourist area) and more of the authentic, residential and shopping areas.  Avenue Cartier and Rue St. Jean offered good shops, restaurants and people watching away from the majority of tourists.  However, we did penetrate the walls of the old city to make the obligatory pilgrimage to beautiful, Chateau Frontenac and the surrounding village, obtaining fabulous views of the St. Lawrence River along the way.

I know I've said this before, but I think I’ve found my favorite city.  Montreal is home not only to major industry and universities, European design, green spaces, lots of bicycles and pedestrians and set on the water, it has a francophone population and culture that I often feel more at home with than my own.  I’m definitely more motivated than ever to study the French language, and look forward to the opportunity to possibly parlay that into a long-term stay here in future.
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