St Catherine Street

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Rue St-Catherine is the primary commercial artery of downtown Montreal. The endless street that stretches over the city crosses the central business district from West to East. It is home to many flagship stores, such as Apple, Roots, Chapters, Future Shop etc. It also features some of Montreal’s prominent department stores, including Hudson’s Bay Company and Complexe Les Ailes.

The street also has a more dodgy side with a lot of strip clubs. When I first came to Canada, we visited Montreal and some parts of St Catherine Street had made me think of Pigalle in Paris, home of the Moulin Rouge and of many sex shops, which has similar red neon lights and promises of finding all that you need to fulfill your fantasies. There was one major difference though: in Paris, sex shops advertise for sex toys and kinky sex, while in Montreal, strip clubs lure you inside with… the promise of an all-you-can-eat buffet + naked girls! I found it hilarious at the time.

You can see the full set of the pictures taken in Montreal here.

Crossing at St Catherine and University

The Underground City (closing early on Saturday!)

St Catherine Street

Handing Out Bags Promoting the Use of French

Poster for a Demonstration (and a revolution)


Montreal, in Construction



Super Sexe Store

Crossing St Catherine

Church and Glass Building

Underground Mall


About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.


  1. I LOVE Montreal. I think I’ve visited that city more than any other in Canada. Sophisticated, cosmopolitan, diverse…a wonderful place.
    I must say though, I have yet to visit the strip clubs and sex shops. Next time? 😉

  2. I don’t know if you’ve ever watched Seinfeld, but there’s an episode where George decides to combine his two favorite things, sex and food, and then eventually wants to add in sports for the ultimate trifecta. It’s hilarious! The sex stores with all you can eat buffets reminded me of that. You know us North Americans, the quickest way to our hearts is through our stomachs!
    .-= Soleil´s last blog ..Things that irritate me =-.

  3. Hi Zhu, finaly visiting and I knew you had been to Montreal from you’re comment on mine.

    Glad I have you on my Google Reader, so I could read all of you’re posts from you’re trip in a context.

    Other than the interesting information you give and of course the great photos, I really like you’re reflection of the comparison to Europe and France/Paris.

    Btw: Sorry I have not been around much lately! Been busy at work and planning for the Oslo Blog Gathering in August you know (will miss you a lot if you can’t make it!).
    .-= RennyBA’s Terella´s last blog ..WWF Earth Hour 2010 Norway facts =-.

  4. Your post made me think about my being in Hamburg for a computer conference many years ago. After the meetings and dinner some of the more knowledgeable from the group took us on a late night tour of the Reeperbahn. It was quite an education for someone who grew up in a small town in Oklahoma. It gave me a new understanding of “window shopping”. We only looked.
    .-= Tulsa Gentleman´s last blog ..DCPB Theme Day for April = RED =-.

  5. i love the concept of an all-you-can-eat buffet and nudity. what good is life without a bit of excess?
    and by the way, zhu, all streets have an end. none are “endless” unless they don’t have a beginning too.
    .-= Seraphine´s last blog ..Sticky Pants =-.

  6. @Agnes – I don’t think Montreal is as packed though!

    @Nigel – Thank you!

    @Beth – I’ve never visited these places either. Maybe we should try together? Although I’m pretty sure we would find them boring and I’m not into buffets 🙂

    @Soleil – I love Seinfield but I don’t remember this episode – I have to try to find it! It would explain so much 😆

    @Yogi – Most cities I’ve been to in Canada so far (mostly Québec, Ontario and Manitoba) have a real downtown. But I know what you mean…

    @RennyBA’s Terella – No worries, there is no strings attached to this blog – come and read anytime! I don’t bear grudges 🙂

    @Charles Dastodd – Thank you! I like that mural too.

    @Tulsa Gentleman – You only looked? Ah… innocent Americans 😆 I’m used to see prostitutes in the streets, it’s still pretty common in France (although the law is getting tougher I think). You should see Pigalle… even I was a bit shocked – and it was in the middle of the day!

    @Seraphine – I’m not sure this one has a beginning, I couldn’t find it. When I first came to Canada, I would walk everywhere – that was before I realized a lot of streets are several kilometers long.

    @Priyank – Hope you have fun! I’m in… yeah, Toronto 😆

  7. All you can eat buffet and sex? I think that’s not supposed to be in the same sentence. Seriously, when one is stuffed, one becomes less horny, right? After all, when one is full, one gets less limber. Okay, I’ll behave now… 😛
    .-= Linguist-in-Waiting´s last blog ..Assymetrical Attitudes =-.

  8. @Lizz – Graffitis can be beautiful in any city. France has more political ones… and they can be hilarious!

    @angela – Yes, rue St Denis is pretty hardcore at night. So are some districts in the 16e… I studied at Dauphine (where my department was) and it was a bit creepy at night.

    @micki – You must have walked on St Catherine at one point, but some area are not as nice as this one.

    @Linguist-in-Waiting – I love food, I like the other stuff too (eh, I’m French okay?!) but the two together… I agree with you! 🙂

  9. It’s horrible that they’re now hanging these shopping bags on the street! Urghhhhhhhhhh…I’m going to give them a piece of my mind when I go back :p

  10. instead of bags promoting the use of french maybe they could hand out rosetta stone dvds or French/english dictionaries/phrase books!

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