MONTREAL, Three Days in May, Day 2: A Walk to the Old Port

Place Jacques Cartier, Old Montreal, Quebec, Canada
By the morning of our second day in Montreal, the rain had stopped, the skies were clearing and the sun was coming out. It was a perfect spring day and I decided to take a walk to the Old Port, now turned into a park, yacht basin, and entertainment area, and to explore Old Montreal along Rue St. Paul.
Chinatown, Montreal
To get there, about a ten minute walk from our hotel, the Hyatt on Rue Jeanne-Mance, I passed through the giant red gate into the Quartier Chinois (Chinatown), a block long shopping area with small restaurants, noodle shops, herb dispensaries, and souvenir shops.

Rue Saint Paul
For the most part, the streets of Montreal are a grid, so it is difficult to get lost. I had a map but had no need to walk around staring at my phone as many other tourists seemed to be doing. After passing the Notre Dame Basilica, I proceeded downhill to Rue Saint Paul, a narrow cobblestone street lined with historic buildings now housing boutique hotels, restaurants, art galleries, shops with designer clothing, and souvenir items. Suddenly I felt like I had dropped into a small town in Europe and time traveled to another century–except, of course, that the shops all sold present day merchandise and all the crowds on the street were modern day tourists. What was uniquely Canadian were the shops selling Inuit Art and shops selling furs, both products intertwined with Canada’s history. I browsed in one of the fur shops and although I am not in favor of wearing animal pelts, I could see how a thick fur coat could be welcome on a cold Canadian winter night. I also browsed in the Galerie Images Boreales, filled with bears, seals, birds and other subjects of the far north beautifully carved from stone, ivory and other natural materials by Inuit artists. It was like going to a museum.
The Old Clock Tower and Boat Basin
My walk continued to the large public square, Place Jacques-Cartier, where horse drawn carriages waited for passengers, and then along the river front park to the Clock Tower yacht basin in the Old Port (Vieux-Port). Once a thriving shipping area, (the active port is now up river) the docks in the Old Port are filled with various museums and entertainment opportunities such as a zip-line, where I watched a few intrepid souls almost fly (the French word "voiles" means "to sail") from a high tower to the other side of the park.
A game of giant chess
After a short rest back at my hotel, I took a walk down Rue Ste. Catherine, currently being converted to a pedestrian walkway for a number of blocks through the Quartier des Spectacles. People were out enjoying the warm day. Three giant chessboards had been set up on the walkway to the enjoyment of both players and onlookers. I then circled back to the hotel via Boulevard de Maisonnueve, taking a brief detour through the Latin Quarter, a tree lined street filled with lively restaurants, painted walls, and the Theater St. Denis. I had hoped to visit the National Library nearby, only to discover that it is closed on Monday.
Rue St. Denis, Latin Quarter
One of the joys of visiting Montreal is the wealth of French restaurants. That evening we ate at Modavie, filled with old world atmosphere and with a wonderful high embossed tin ceiling. The food was good (the friendly waitress told us their specialty was lamb) but for us, it was a bit noisy. Even so, it was a satisfying end to a full day.
Chapel of Notre Dame of Bon Secours, View from Old Port

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