link if you're really interested. The large building (if you click on the photo, you'll get a bigger, better shot) is the Hotel Nelson where Charles Dickens (one of my favorite authors) stayed in the late 1860's when he made his first series of public readings in North America. I always pointed this out whenever I gave a "tour" of Old Montreal to visitors. My daughters would roll their eyes and make fun of me, but it still makes me feel warm just thinking about those days.
Now THAT'S al fresco dining that's really reminiscent of Europe. In fact, just about every building that lines the square is a restaurant with a fabulous terrace and delicious food.
Off the main drag are little ruelles or lanes with more shops and vendors. You can see some of the street artists selling their works here. In fact, it's where my cousin Sheldon started his career as an artist. He's now on to more impressive work which includes many international awards, but as an art student he created beautiful batik paintings in our basement (it's messy work) and sold them there one summer. A walk down these ruelle always reminds me of him.
Notre Dame de Bon Secours - roughly translated Our Lady of Good Assistance or help. In the late 1600's this is where sailors came to pray for safe voyages. There's an old model of a ship suspended from the ceiling in the chapel and a great creaky circular stairway to the look out tower that you can almost see just under the statue at the top. That church was the high point of any trip to Old Montreal for both of them.
See all those windows? The were open and everything was set up in stalls in front of them, including live chickens - just a little too "fresh" for me, thanks, but it still is the first image I have when I think of the market.
This is the marche as seen from the Old Port. You can see the cobblestones . When doing the restoration of Old Montreal, they actually dug down to the original cobblestones.
A better view of the marche from the rejuvenated (and very touristy) Old Port. It was hard to walk around - tons of pedestrian tourists, as well as those on a variety of bikes (some even seat 8!). Of course there are the horse drawn carriages festooned with flowers, if you're in the mood for a guided tour of Old Montreal. No pictures because, frankly, it's just like any other touristy port and nothing like I remember.
Stella & Keith. Now it's time to head back to our cousins for the ritual of Chinese Food & a video...Stay tuned for Sunday's adventures and a trip to the best market I've ever been to and miss soooo much living in Toronto where there's nothing like it.
Related links: Food and Drink Travel