For some reason, Montréal has never been one of my favorite city.
Right after arriving in Canada for the first time in 2002, Feng and I took a road trip. We had landed in Toronto, went through Ottawa, and then Montréal, Québéc city and the surroundings. It was February and it was cold, brutally cold, especially considering that we were coming from Brazil, had no winter clothes and that I had never seen snow before.
I had been very excited to go to Montréal for two main reasons: first, I had heard about it a lot since French seemed to love that city. Second, I would finally have the chance to speak French again.
I wasn’t terribly disappointed but I found the city odd. First, it wasn’t very pretty with its long straight endless streets, exposed tp wind drafts. I had expected something more… European. Second, like many French, I was under the impression that Quebecers were like long lost cousins, basically French people lost in North America. And oh boy I was wrong… As I soon discovered, the relationship between French and Quebec French wasn’t that easy and except for the language, we didn’t have much in common.
I had loved Québec city back then, though. It was pretty, especially under the snow, and it matched the mental picture of French Canada that I had in my head.
I went back to Montréal several times after that, still not in love with it. I find the city confusing, especially the mix of “old Europe” and “North America”.
This time was better though. We had gorgeous weather and explored the old part of the city. It actually looked good, in the late summer light…