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St. Paul, the oldest street in one of North America's oldest cities, runs through the heart of Old Montreal. It's barely a mile long, but its first cobblestones predated American democracy, and its restaurants, shops and galleries are tucked into some great old buildings.
And it teems with pedestrians many of them speaking French, because we are in Canada's largely Francophone province of Quebec.
I had never seen St. Paul, or the rest of Montreal, until July, when I arrived for a four night stay near the city's Old Town area van cleef stud earrings replica. But every time I spotted another tempting restaurant or gallery, it seemed to be on St. Paul Street. Inuit art. Salt cod croquettes. Echoes of Leonard Cohen.
As fall arrives, leaves turn and temperatures sink, the appeal of those snug spots will only grow.
Old Montreal's St. Paul Street Doug Stevens
"So you'd have all these canoes arriving and unloading the furs into the houses along St. Paul Street. And they'd eventually get put onto ships to sail to France," he said.
As the city grew in the 19th century, the neighborhood gained warehouses and lost residences. By the 1950s, many of the city's most vital businesses had moved elsewhere, and Old Montreal had become a run down, largely neglected neighborhood.
"There was talk of demolishing a lot of the old buildings," Wood said.
Instead, preservationists won the day. By the 1980s, the tourism industry had seized on the neighborhood's historic feel as a marketing tool especially at the eastern end of St. Paul, near Place Jacques Cartier, where T shirt shops congregate. (I could complain about the pandering of Canadian Maple Delights and its Maple Museum, at 84 St. Paul East, but I must admit that the maple chunk gelato there is pretty good.)
The street's western end, meanwhile, "has become a cool place to have offices," Wood said, mentioning recently arrived marketing firms and game designers. In 2012, the Phi Centre (407 St. Paul and St. Pierre streets.
All the prime spots I've listed in this guide are on St. Paul except for a 500 foot detour to the Place d'Armes to see one of the most spectacular church interiors in North America.
History with a view
The Marguerite Bourgeoys Museum and Notre Dame de Bon Secours Chapel, which share an address, date to the 17th century. The museum celebrates the city's first teacher replica vintage alhambra earrings, a devout 33 year old Catholic woman who arrived from France in 1653. In those days, the settlement was known as Ft. Ville Marie, a French outpost in Iroquois territory along the St. Lawrence River. By 1658, Bourgeoys was teaching children and adults reading, writing and pioneer skills, and lobbying for a chapel. (She was canonized in 1982.)
Even if you're not stirred by her story, you may be by the archaeological site downstairs, which covers 2,400 years of human history. And if all else fails, you can climb the museum's wooden spiral stairs. They will deliver you to some great bird's eye views, including a well oxidized copper angel and the silvery dome of the nearby March Bonsecours.
From the same entrance that serves the museum, you can step into Notre Dame de Bon Secours Chapel, built in 1771. The building was raised in 1847, served as City Hall into the 1870s and was Montreal's principal market for more than a century. Closed in the 1960s and restored in the early 1990s, it's now an artsy retail center with 15 galleries and boutiques offering clothes, crafts, art and jewelry made in the province of Quebec. There are also three restaurants. If that sounds a bit much, bear in mind that Le Cabaret du Roy is a themed eatery that mimics an 18th century pirates' den.
Info: March Bonsecours, 350 St. Fall rates (mid October through mid December) $197 $239.
Jacques brought us here
As for the square, it's named for the 16th century French explorer who claimed Canada for France, but its tallest feature is the 115 foot tall Nelson Column, raised in 1809 as a homage to British Vice Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson. Look down the hill and you see boats along the port. Look up and you see the 1870s City Hall, site of a major moment in Canada's long simmering Anglophone Francophone cultural war. Designed with handsome exposed brickwork, it has 44 rooms, 61 suites replica mother of pearl clover earrings, a ground floor restaurant (Verses) and a rooftop terrace bar/brasserie in summer. Its namesake, Montreal Francophone poet Nelligan, is admired for his 160 or so poems, all written before age 20, when he was institutionalized for schizophrenia and after which he apparently wrote no more. (He died in 1941.) If I had an anniversary to celebrate, I'd stay here. Rooms for two are typically $165 $400 in fall.
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