Friday, July 23, 2010

What on earth is that?

I spent the better part of yesterday wandering the streets of Vieux Montreal. Old Montreal isn't a patch on Quebec City, by the way, for historical preservation and historical interest. You have to work too hard to find the good stuff here. And the small museums are pricey. The place that impressed me the most was the Hostellerie du Pierre Calvet, a private and quite pricey but WOW really fabulous place, hostellerie. I was intrigued by the entrance, so wandered in and spoke to the friendly concierge madame. I thought it was a museum. She insisted on calling the owner to show me his sculpture collection housed in the oldest (1725) part of the house (on the corner) and voila! what fun! Click on the link and check out the bedrooms, the history of the place, and all the other rooms. Gorgeous. Do not confuse hostellerie with hostel– a hostellerie is an hotel that serves le diner as well, according to the owner, M. Trottier, a fine sculptor and exceedingly friendly man. This place belonged to his family way back. And such a nice guy! We had fun. I spent more time chatting with him and having him show me his sculptures than anywhere else on my little tour. That's his Jules Verne type contraption up top (I called it une folie, he liked that). Those are coffee beans inside. All sorts of welded on geegaws and whimsy! Clearly a man who knows how to have fun.

A kind woman in the rear of the Notre Dame de Secours offered to take my picture as I was apparently overcome with a sudden attack of narcolepsy; someone please send this photo to Sister Emerentia, if she's still kicking (kids in the ass). A beautiful church, the earliest one here and the 'sailors' church, hence the boat hanging over altar (saw a lot of this kind of thing in coastal France; love the idea. Lift those boats to heaven. boys! Keep em floating!)

The 'help' in cafes and restaus was very kind, polite and knowledgeable. Avoid the Jacques Cartier esplanade. Nothin but commercial stuff. Even the maple syrup there was faux. Better maple products outdoors on a table in front of the Marche Bonsecours (again more tourist nonessentials, and a little art, for sale, but not at the maple syrup table outside, that was good!). Good restaurants I spotted away from Jacques Cartier included: Chez Epicier, Garconniere (champagne and oysters, I know just who'd like that place), Ibiscus (has jazz in summer), and of course the Hostellerie. Nice dinner menu.

If you head down to the waterfront a block down from Rue St. Paul to Rue de la Commune you find Moozoo, which will whip you up a refreshing real fruit drink, no premixes, no crap, to sip as you wander through the park, maybe to the IMAX or the old clock tower. (Too hot for me yesterday, but the fruit drink was yummy.)

I was glad to hop the 129 bus up Cote St Catherine to the Pain Dore and home. A little disappointed in Montreal, which seems to be, the entire place nearly, under major construction, including the arts district west of old town. The colorful government assembly building made an impression though. I think I'll just hang out here in Outremont where it's shady and cool and quiet and the cafe au lait is perty gud.

M. Trottier below and his hostellerie


  1. What a beautiful hotel - it DOES look like a museum. What fun you're having exploring!

  2. Hi , Margaret!! How are ya? Thanks for tuning in.

  3. Re: comments left on the issue of teaching and teachers a few days ago (July 21, "If It looks like a duck") I offer this response which I posted there as well:

    To the Anonymous Commenter:

    Dear Anonymous, "whatever it is you do"? How do you expect anyone to take you seriously leaving nasty little put downs like that? If this is a woman commenter, that's just really sad. No sisterhood there, that's for sure.

    To TK: thanks for being intelligent. Yes, they don't say exactly what they mean, do they? I will lay you odds this person is a veteran teacher in public schools, maybe retired now? Or are they a neophyte? Who knows? Cause they're too unsure of their position to identify themselves. No worries. I have my suspicions. The thing one notices is the rigidity of the comment. Closed mind = lack of critical thinking. Point made.

    I taught for years in public and private schools since the early nineties, while my two kids wended their through both systems. In addition I spent two years researching american education with an open mind, reading everything I could get my hands on, and writing about it. This person is the one who's out of date.

    Lighten up, Anonymous.

  4. Hello, Cat - It was a pleasure to meet you at the Marché Bonsecours; I am glad to read that you are very much enjoying some delightful places in your explorations of the city. I just wanted to drop a wee note here, now, as I speed off away from my computer yet again. But, if you have the time, perhaps a little ice cream tuesday evening?
    fran the bookbinder / maple product seller from behind Marché Bonsecours.