I'm quite bemused by the practice here to arrange dining tables in the open windows of the restaurants. From the sidewalk, pedestrians could reach out and snag an escargot, you're so exposed. The intimate dinner becomes more like a close cousin to department store mannequins, dressed to sell sumptuous fare.
Left Quebec City this morning and back in Montreal, we conduct another shopping stroll and ceremonial wallet opening on St-Catherines Street downtown. We take a hotel in Old Montreal we had discovered on our walk last week. Some hotel! Wine and cheese, internet, continental breakfast (all included), valet parking, newly renovated rooms, modern decor. Classical music was playing in our room when we arrived. A fireplace and flat screen TV, immaculate white down duvets, mock bearskin blankets, a rain spa shower. Sigh.
We selected one of the recommended restaurants, called for reservations, confirmed no dress code and arrived to see everyone else must have been competing for the window seats. Still dripping from the thunderstorm deluge we had to walk through, we were seated in the very back. Some confusion ensued as to who was our waiter, and we ended up being the "wait"ers. When I asked the manager if we had offended someone, he took care of it. We didn't have dessert but our meal still cost as much as our hotel room. Still, it was great French food.
We then wandered up and down the cobblestone and compared to last week, it was as if the rain had washed away the tourists and left the streets clean, quiet and bare. Except for a few live dining mannequins, we had the town to ourselves.
Back at our room, we dropped into duvets with visions of sugar maples dancing in our heads. Home tomorrow.