On Sunday, we caught the 11 o’clock mass at Notre Dame Basilica in the heart of Upper Town in Quebec City.
The service was entirely in French and it was nice to see the Church fill up as the service proceeded.
Probably in consideration of the non-French speakers and non-religious in the crowd, a powerful choir sang throughout the hour. It ended up being just as much a Sunday morning concert as religious celebration.
Notre Dame provides a wonderful and peaceful respite in the busy downtown Quebec.
Quebec City is full of ambiance. There aren’t many iconic tourist attractions, and it’s quite a small city where one just joyfully ambles the cobblestone streets and soaks up the charm.
Churches are plentiful in Quebec. Historically, it was Canada’s most religious province. This makes for great visiting for a Church lover.
I took my mom to the St Anne Basilica on the Beaupre Coast, just outside of Quebec. It’s a world class site that draws religious pilgrims from around the globe. We ended up staying for almost two hours and it was definitely the hilight of my mom’s weekend.
The photos only do St Anne’s limited justice.
After a long hiatus from the city, I spent this past Mother’s Day weekend in Quebec City. My mom had never been and so I flew her out since not having visited Canada’s oldest and arguably most beautiful city was a completely unacceptable state of affairs.
With the European feel and roots of the city, one would think that inviting cafes would be on every corner. Although coffee was available everywhere, there was a noticeable dearth of Paris-esque cafes within Quebec’s old city walls.
We stumbled into Paillard on the main downtown tourist thoroughfafe, rue St Jean. Paillard has some charm although it does feel like it’s copying the ‘look like a hip, independent cafe/restaurant/bakery’ template. Nonetheless, it provided a welcome afternoon break from the unseasonably cold and wet weather.
We had paninis, a decent caesar salad and passable curry carrot soup. The real delights were the cappuccinos and macaroons post-meal.
If you find yourself in downtown Quebec, you’ll most certainly pass by Paillard at some point. Take the time to get your caffeine hit and fresh pastry inside.
On a stunningly beautiful May day in Old Montreal, I quickly visited Olive and Gourmando for an afternoon cappuccino. The place had been highly recommended by a number of different people and was one of the last ‘must-visit’ locations on my list before I leave Quebec in a few weeks. It certainly didn’t disappoint.
It’s a small location that is always buzzing with activity on weekends and is perfect for a coffee, meal or just to people watch amongst Montreal’s creative and fashionable set.
I spent this past beautiful Saturday helping a friend move from his apartment in Westmount out to the suburbs in Montreal. After an exhausting and understaffed day, I enjoyed a leisurely Sunday that began in a cafe that I had noticed a few times before.
Jonah James cafe-resto looks suspiciously like a pub from the outside and slightly like a nostalgic diner inside. Regardless, the coffee is top notch and the pastries delectable. An attached shop stocks notebooks, alarm clocks and other random intriguing kitsch items. A couple of ladies who could have stepped off the set of ‘Real Housewives of Westmount’ talked sunglasses and running shoes, as the only other patron described her native city of Singapore to the barista. A truly cozy and unpretentious locale to grab a quality cup of joe and hang around unencumbered.
In search of a change of scenery, I stumbled upon Le Petit Cafe which is really just the small lobby cafe of Le Petit Hotel in the Old Port of Montreal. The setup was somewhat awkward; narrow and not quite knowing if it’s a lobby or a cafe. Nonetheless, it was definitely chic and the staff very accomodating.
I’d recommend both the cafe for a quick jolt of java and the hotel for it’s cool and contemporary feel and great location.
I couldn’t resist the temptation to head back to Old Montreal last weekend, even with a tonne of work to do and a dwindling bank account. I rented the cheapest car available near my training college and whipped into the city for the day.
My first stop was at a recommended cafe/restaurant called soupesoup. As the name suggests, the place specializes in freshly made soups and sandwiches. I had a wonderful curry cauliflower soup with a nicoise wrap that was accompanied with a glorious herb mayo. Since the crowd was small, I asked the owner if I could loiter and study for a while and she gladly consented. I desserted on a decadent brownie and cappuccino and put in a good couple of peaceful hours of study.
Soupesoup is another one of Old Montreal’s little treasures - well-known to locals and partially kept secret from tourists.
From Old Montreal, we drove up and through the park on Mont-Royal and visited St Joseph’s Oratory. I’ve been to St Joe’s more than a dozen times in my life and was still completely awestruck. I caught the carillon bells playing live just as I entered, strolled the amazing votive gallery and stopped at the tomb of the founder of the Church and one of Canada’s newest saints, Brother Andre.
The main Basilica at St Joe’s leaves one short of adjectives. It’s a little like Notre Dame in Paris, but newer and somehow more epic. My friend’s three year old son could have stayed the entire day and in fact ran back to the front pew three times as we were on our way out. The organ boomed as an afternoon rectial was underway.
If ever you find yourself in Montreal, don’t miss the opportunity to visit this majestic, reflective and inspiring place.