My husband says it’s like going to Europe without the hassle of a long, cramped flight. That’s true, since we live in New England. Each time I’ve traveled to Montreal, I’ve been in a car. I remember the time my college buddy Glenn and I drove up, after visiting with our friend Judy and her family in Vermont. It’s an easy drive from Vermont. We went to a comedy club and somehow the guy on stage found out that my buddy was a lawyer. Oh, it was priceless.
Back then, the American dollar went a very long way in Canada. We lived and ate very well on very little. Now, not so much.
Jim and I traveled there in 2001 for our wedding anniversary, which is in late October. The Hilton Montreal Bonaventure is right in the middle of downtown, and I think the Montreal Canadiens hockey team played in the arena at street level. The hotel is above the arena. It has a swimming pool, outside, but it’s open year-round (or at least it was when we were there). So why not? You change and enter the pool from the toasty indoors, and the water’s nice and warm, but it was really cold outside the day we went for a dip – I’m talking icicles in our hair! We also found what would become one of our favorite restaurants ever – La Gargote. What a jewel. When we returned to Montreal in 2010, I was afraid it might have disappeared, but it was there. And we were welcomed back like old friends. Oh, the wondrous fish soup. The roasted duck. The profiteroles. Perfection.
Last time we were in Montreal, we stayed at The Queen Elizabeth, which is now run by the Fairmont group of hotels, and it was very, very nice. I like the tradition known as “Cinq à sept” (five to seven), which is really an extended cocktail hour. The Queen Elizabeth knows how to do Cinq à sept quite well. They do everything very well – stay there, if you can.
Actually, being in Montreal is simply living well. I want to go back now.