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We spent each day in Montréal, Canada, between Old Town and the city’s Place des Arts. Place des Arts–a very large culture-and-the-arts-plus-social venue–is where the now-celebrated opera Les Feluettes by Kevin March and Michel Marc Bouchard is playing, specifically at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier on May 24, 26, and 28. We attended the sold-out opening night last Saturday!

We lucked out by booking a boutique accommodation at L’Auberge de la Place Royale, in Old Town, that truly was a home away from home–clean, tasteful, affordable, convenient, secure, and amidst many visitor attractions and amenities. If you click on the link, be sure to watch the video! The yellow front entry to this hidden gem is very unassuming.

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The walk between the two places was about 30 minutes on average, depending on how long we stopped to admire the old architecture, shop windows, eating places, galleries, etc., along the way. For most of the route, there is an “underground” shopping mall that is flat, clean, and bright. Selecting the underground, one misses Chinatown, a hill, tour buses, taxis, and well, everything that isn’t a mall!

Particularly special was the Notre-Dame Basilica where we listened to an awe-inspiring pipe organ.

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But back to Place des Arts. So much to see, so much to do. It is the heart of a hub called Quatier des Spectacles: 80 cultural venues including 30 performance halls with nearly 28,000 seats in approximately one square kilometer, according to the website above. For starters, the grand-opera venue is a 2,996-seat performance hall (the largest in Quebec). Wow! 😮

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The plaza of Place des Arts itself is bordered by St. Catherine, Jeanne-Mance, Maisonneuve, and Saint-Urbain streets. Indoors. Outdoors. Diverse. The entertainment was continuous, and mostly it was free. Something was always happening.

One day we saw the Mary Poppins cast sing and dance in the intersection. A large art installation of logs extending down the street provided sitting space. It is where we bought our tickets to see Cirque du Soleil. (We didn’t realize the big top was only two piers away from our auberge, so conveniently located that we could walk to the circus.)

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Friends stayed in the Hyatt Regency hotel on the plaza. When I bought flowers for opening night and needed a place to keep them until curtain time, the concierge offered to hold them for our friends and even provided a beautiful vase for them. The lobby is readily accessible, and the hotel is a convenient place to get a taxi. Several good restaurants make it hard to choose where to dine.

Next door is the Musée d’Art Contemporain with a permanent collection of 7,600 works. Sadly, we didn’t go inside. The building faces a large stretch of street-level fountains.

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On the roof is a photographic work entitled “La voice lactée” by artist Geneviève Cadieux.

In Old Town and Old Port, we were steps away from the best patisserie (almond croissants to die for) Maison Christian Faure, ethnic restaurants, cool bars and art galleries.

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Two museums. Cirque du Soleil as mentioned, bicycle paths by the river, everything very enjoyable. At nighttime there is an multimedia installation called Cité Mémoire at various outdoor spots in Old Town. Interesting, giant, images are projected onto walls and alleyways, and if you load an app to your phone, there is historical information about each place. It is a very creative, and an option for date night! It happens to be co-produced by the librettist Michel Marc Bouchard.

When it was time to leave this fine city, that reminds me of Paris, a taxi arrived at the curb in one minute and the fare was a flat rate to the airport. It was the only time we rode a taxi in Montréal except to go to the opera in our fancy clothes!

Please enjoy Montréal! It may be a while before I return. In the meantime, I’ll see you back at the studio. Thanks for coming with me to Canada! ~ Rebekah (Popo)