Montreal & Quebec Day 4: Old Montreal

I took many pictures this day; the captions to those pictures describe much of the day's adventures. In this post, I'll elide a lot -e.g., skipping almost immediately from lunch to an evening show- because everything in between is represented by photographs.

For breakfast, we headed to Byblos Le Petit Cafe. Unlike the previous day, it was open. And so we ate. Here's my review. I noticed Byblos had a rack of books and realized that I'd seen similar racks of books at the bagel cafe from Monday and in general at many cafes into which we peeked. I like a cultural climate that expects such features everywhere, as Montreal's apparently does.

After breakfast, we returned our car to the hotel. On the way back, we serendipitously turned onto a street (Duluth) and spotted some restaurants with unusual cuisines, like Afghani.

Once at our hotel, we walked to Old Montreal. The plan for the day was to see everything there that we could. Here's the route we walked.

Old Montreal felt historic, cobblestone streets and all.

From the waterfront, we spotted the Biodome.

We walked by the Musee Marc-Aurele Fortin. My guidebook's description of the museum sounded tempting, but we simply didn't have time. I kind of like the few paintings of his that I can find on the web. Next time, perhaps.

I already had lunch planned: a cafe called Olive & Gourmando. And, because we got there later than I expected -there's a lot to see in Old Montreal!-, we were famished. Here's my review.

After lunch we continued exploring. I'm a bit sad we didn't have time to visit the Archeology and History Museum, though I always knew we wouldn't get the chance this day. It has some underground exhibits relating to what the site was previously used for (a cemetery, a river tunnel, etc.).

To recharge my parents from all this walking, we stopped by a Cafe Depot in the Montreal World Trade Center. I've never seen adding cream to coffee look so hard.

In the early evening, we went to the Our Lady of Montreal Basilica (Basilique Notre-Dame-de-Montreal) to see the sound-and-light show And Then There Was Light. I'm glad I didn't see the inside of the basilica before the show -- the show was a great introduction. Initially, white sheets covered the sides of the chapel. A movie about the history of Montreal and the basilica is projected onto the sheets. During one scene involving a ship, a fan makes the sheets shimmy in the wind like sails. When the movie introduces an architectural facet of the basilica, the sheets drop artistically to the floor, and lights turn on to reveal the grand artifact previously hidden. By the end of the half hour show, the church is revealed in all its grandiosity. (See the pictures.) Without a doubt, it's the most impressive, opulent church in Montreal. It's not that surprising that the architect converted from protestantism to catholicism as it was being built.

After the show, we walked back to our hotel while seeing Old Montreal at night. En route, we noticed Rue St. Paul and Place Jacques-Cartier (especially the latter, which was very festive) had many restaurants. How did we not notice them before?

At our hotel, we picked up our car to go on a hunt for poutine for dinner. Finding poutine was quite an adventure. Read all about it and La Banquise, the place where we ended up. While poutine hunting, we observed two neat things about driving and parking in downtown Montreal. One, it has nice bike lanes. Two, parking meters are recessed, placed adjacent to building walls. This makes the street look nicer -- we never noticed the meters while walking. But it also makes it harder to tell if a spot where you want to park is metered.

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