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Bonjour from France!  Well not so much, but it’s definitely quite French-esque here, among all these French Canadians.  My husband and I are summering in Montreal this week, exploring the city’s local attractions and enjoying the gourmet gastronomy.  French is the native language and it has been such a pleasure to my ears!  Everyone we interact with can speak English to us just fine, but I’ve yet to hear any locals speaking it amongst themselves.  It’s all French, all the time – on the dinner menus, in the live street music and radio alike, in the playful shouts of children in the park.  Obvi, I’m loving it!

After our 6-hour commute, we arrived yesterday afternoon immediately greeted by fantastic weather.  Cool & crisp even in August, we’re delighting in highs in the 80s and lows in the 60s — a much-welcomed break from Austin’s current 100-degree temps.  Here, there is a light breeze that smells so fresh under the sunshine.

As soon as we got to our hotel & freshened up, we took to the streets.  Our first stop was a charming unpretentious restaurant in Old Montreal where we ordered cheese fondue & an interesting goat cheese-stuffed zucchini flower concoction.  –Expect a blog post to cover the incredible gourmet French food and French wines in which we’re indulging during this trip.  My goal is to have French food everyday.  –Hey,  I’m on vacation and I’m going to allow indulgence…after all, I start classes at Barre3, the new Pilates/ballet fusion studio located at the base of our building, as soon as I get back.  Hello, Black Swan body!  😉

My husband Ryan with a glass of French Bordeaux at our first stop in Montreal, L’Assommoir Notre-Dame

After dinner #1 (yes — the food is so tempting, we ate TWO dinners last night!), we went straight to one of the city’s top landmarks, Basilique Notre Dame.  We marveled at the architecture and shared some kisses in the square.  As we walked away, organ music spilling from the church’s windows bid us adieu.  Next, we stumbled upon Place Jacques Cartier, a lively pedestrian-only area with shops, Parisian-style terrace dining, and street performers.  I marveled at how many people of all ages were out and about on a Monday night.  A mix of locals and tourists were soaking in the summer night with ice cream cones, park bench chats, street music performances, and post-bistro strolls home.  As live violin music filled the atmosphere, we took pictures of Montreal City Hall at sunset before heading to an outdoor café for more wine and people watching.

Notre Dame Basilica of Montreal

Even though he detests sleeping in (he’s a Carpe Diem! kinda guy), after a long wedding weekend hosting out of state guests and a few early mornings the last couple days, my husband allowed me the luxury to lounge in bed this morning.  With crisp sheets and a fur throw, the bed at our hotel is so comfy we couldn’t help but treat ourselves to a late breakfast-in-bed from room service.  Now, we’re all ready to go for Day 2 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada…we’re off to climb Mount Royal!

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