Photography: Basilique Notre Dame de Montreal and Crescent Street Leonard Cohen
Monday is my first full day back in New York and the States, since returning from Montreal. As I mentioned earlier, there are a handful of ways to quickly get acquainted with a new city — through eating its local delicacies at its beloved restaurants, through its nightlife and music scene (if any), through walking around its streets and riding its public transportation.
If you’ve been frequenting this site, you’d know that I was in Montreal to cover the M for Montreal Festival as a festival delegate, and as a result, I had quite a bit of poutine (including some much-needed leftover poutine), a smoked meat sandwich at Main Street Deli, 27 sets of Canadian, local and international acts at eight different venues in town, a few free meals, copious free drinks. I also managed to walk the equivalent of about 29 miles, listening to music, occasionally getting lost or completely confused by a signs in a language I couldn’t comprehend — and within my own thoughts and dreams. With my last full day in town, I made the 10 minute or so walk from Hotel Monville, down a few narrow, European-like streets to the breathtakingly gorgeous Basilqiue Notre Dame de Montreal. Admittedly, I’ve been an atheist for the better part of 30 years; but I appreciate art and beauty meant to uplift and inspire.
I sat in one of the pews and soaked up the hushed silence, and saw a number of people in contemplation and prayer — but I admired the gentle yet luminous light, the arching ceilings, the way light played off the stained glass windows.
At the Place d’Armes, there’s the Maisonneuve Monument, dedicated to the founders and various cultures of Montreal.
From Notre Dame, I took an Orange Line train to Lucien L’Allier, just slightly past the Bell Centre, briefly went the wrong way and walked up a hill — it seems as though Montreal is nothing but hills — to the second Leonard Cohen mural at 1420 Crescent Street, not far from Sherbrooke Street (should I say Rue Sherbrooke?) and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. I managed to get there with the declining sunlight and hurried to take a picture or two while admiring the intricate detail and its size.