A perfect fall weekend in Montreal

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009. Filed under: Art Canada Food Hotels
Musee Tissot Montreal.

October (1877) by James J.J. Tissot at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.

Montreal was wonderful. Pat and I caught the pre-dawn train from Guildwood; he did some work while I snuggled into my seat, watching the sun rise over the trees we flew past, waiting for drinks and brunch to arrive. Via Rail Business Class truly rocks.

Pierre du Calvet Hostellerie.

Pierre du Calvet hotel in Old Montreal, Quebec.

A few hours later, we were settling into the Pierre du Calvet hostellerie in Vieux Montreal. Built in 1725, its old stone walls are stuffed with antiques and atmosphere.

Outside the weather was cool and drizzly which made it a pleasure to duck into Crepes Cafe for crepes suzette and cappuccino, browse crafts at Marche Bonsecours and eat buckets of steaming mussels and frites at the charming (and Tintin themed) bistro Le Petit Moulinsart.

Other highlights included a remarkable meal at Toque!, the brilliant evening lantern display at the Jardin Botanique’s Chinese Garden and the J.W. Waterhouse show at the Musee des Beaux Arts. Circe, sirens and The Lady of Shalott – eighty paintings by the “modern” Preraphaelite, some of which haven’t been seen by the public since they were sold by Waterhouse to private collectors in the 1880s. Circe Poisoning the Pool was a standout; Waterhouse enjoyed painting water as well as women.  October, by Tissot, was another important piece I caught there.

As for Cinderella?  I did find her, not the cheese but a wistful waif in a display of contemporaries’ paintings in the anteroom to the Waterhouse show. I looked up and there she was, Cendrillon/Cinderella.  How strange, and wonderful, was that?

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