Saturday, February 22, 2014

Beyond Montreal

Montreal is a beautiful, sophisticated international city to delight a tourist. Cross the river, and discover a smaller gem of Quebec life--Longueuil. If you want to feel what it might be like to live there, check into one of the bed & breakfasts.

I stayed at the L'oasis du vieux Longueuil.  A gentle water garden beside the patio added to the ambiance, although in July it also added to the mosquito population. The proprietors live upstairs, and keep three guest rooms downstairs, each with its own color scheme.

The door on the left is for guests, and the door on the right for the proprietors, who speak both French and English. I am not the best of bed and breakfast guests because I do not talk much--mostly a room is a retreat. If you enjoy the conversational aspect of staying in a B&B, then the hosts will be good company over morning coffee and muffins.

 Longueuil in the early morning light invites a stroll. St. Charles is the main street where restaurants and small shops line the boulevard, ending in the Cathedral of St. Anthony of Padua (Saint-Antoine-de-Padoue).

I soon discovered my hang-out, my quiet place for rest and revitalization--which every traveler needs--the Rolland Bakery.

Small tables and chairs in the front of the bakery make the perfect place to enjoy morning coffee and croissants.  If you want to choose your own coffee beans, insert a small metal tray beneath the blend of choice to measure out enough for one cup of coffee. Insert the tray into the coffee machine, and listen to it grind and brew a rich cup of coffee in a few seconds. Or, go to the counter and ask one of the girls for a cup of coffee. After saying "bonjour," I pretty much retreated into English.

A fan of jellies, preserves and confits can browse the shelves in the back of the store.

Food seems to be the center of life in Longueuil, the sustenance around which people gather. Lobster Pizza is a favorite:

Enjoy the neighborhood and see what you discover before heading back to the city of Montreal.