Friday, April 1, 2011

Montreal is Europe in North America

Last weekend, I went to Montreal, Quebec, Canada,  which is less than an hour and a half from my St. Albans, Vermont home. So I practically live in a Montreal suburb.
A street in Montreal's Old Port

I need a big city fix every once in awhile. I define "big city" as anything over about 250,000 people, so my standards are pretty small.

Hey, I live in Vermont, where the biggest city, Burlington, has about 40,000 people, so the entire population of the city can easily fit in many stadiums. All of Vermont has the population of a small city, roughly 630,000 people.

Given how close I live to Montreal, it's a wonder I don't go there more often. I hadn't been there in nearly a year. Just too busy.
A stained glass window in the Notre Dame
Basillica of Montreal

One thing I like about Montreal is it is in some ways architecturally like a European city. Of course, there's the Old Port, the area of buildings dating back 300 years or so. It kind of looks like an old neighborhood in Paris or something.   A particular highlight is the Notre Dame Basilica of Montreal, with its beautiful ornate interior.

I made sure to take plenty of photos while I was there.

Even the nondescript houses, apartments and neighborhoods in Montreal are built differently than those in the United States. The run-of-the-mill buildings in Montreal are not distinctive, necessarily, but it's nice, just for a change, to see architecture that's a little different than in my home state, just a short distance away.

Montrealers speak French, or at least a version of French known as Quebecois. That also helps you feel like you've gone to Europe.

I'm happy to say I can almost say I live within spitting distance of Europe. It makes me sound so haughty, pretentious and special.
The colorful exterior of a Montreal building

Of course, not really, as unlike the well-dressed Montrealers I was surrounded by, I wandered the city dressed in Carharrts and a flannel shirt.

You can bring a hick Vermonter to the city, but you can't take the hick out of the Vermonter.

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