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Saturday 3 Nov 2007
Montréal, Canada

Bienvenu á Montréal

Salut mes amis! J'ai arrive á Montréal la Mardi dernier et aprés un recherche tres exhaustif j'ai trouve un grand apartement au centre ville avec un vue tres sympa!

Le prix est 1,250 dollars pour 6 semains.

Il n'est pas bon marché mais je pense qu'il est en valeur. En particular par ce que il y a un chambre, un bureau et un cuisine separatement. C'est super! Wink

OK OK.. back to Anglais ... I arrived here in Montreal last Tuesday and spent the first two days checking out apartments while I stayed at a hostel near Laurier metro station. I ended up being torn between two, each having particular pluses and minuses:

One was a penthouse on the edge of downtown with 3 rooms and bathroom and a great view of downtown from the separate office. It used to be a 19th Century hotel before being converted, so it had this "authentic colonial French history" thing going on in it. Two things that were going against it were location (about 15 mins walk to nearest shop/subway) and price (1,250 for the 6 week period).

The other was a tiny studio with "kitchen", "bed room", "living room" all essentially in the same box room. Also it was a basement apartment so the only view was of little squirrels rumaging in the front entrance, or people's feet walking by the street.

A no-brainer you might say, but the studio was in a fantastic location beside the mountain and within seconds walk from quality restaurants and cool bars, shops, etc. Plus it was 200 dollars cheaper.

I was seriously considering going for the studio, but then I got a call that someone who had viewed it before me had decided to take it, so lucky I had the second one in reserve. To be honest, though, I'm glad I made the choice for the penthouse because it has a separate office with a great view of the city and mountain that I can gaze upon when I want to rest my eyes from the screen.

Well so what are my impressions of Montreal now that I've been here 4 days?? I love it!

You may not know it, but downtown Montreal is actually on an island, like Manhattan... plus it has several large mountains dotted around it's edges, rather like Edinburgh. These combine to make the city rather interesting visually and also keeps it from expanding too much - a tad more interesting than Toronto's flat city skyline that seems to stretch to infinity when you view it from the CN Tower. Everything is within walking distance, although the subway is easy to use.

Also the air seems very clean for a city... probably the fresh air blowing in from the mountains and surrounding lake.

The majority of people are undoubtedly of French descent, but there are so many nationalities represented here that each has their own section of the city that integrate seamlessly (i.e. the Latin Quarter, Italian Quarter, the 'International Quarter' for those nationalities that aren't populous enough to have their OWN quarter!).

Language-wise, people will tend to default to French and, despite what I was told, I find that I frequently meet people who have little or no English whatsoever! So in reality, you really DO need at least some school French to get by here ... it's great for me though, I love being able to practice my French... just my vocab is atrocious and really needs brushing up Blue

Everyone here seems to love living here, it's really quite uplifting... the nights start late and continue on well into the early morning. I read somewhere that people here "Work to Live, whereas in Toronto people Live to Work".

It's really true, and I saw evidence of this when I went out with some French and Italian lads from the hostel on Halloween night (after drinking several glasses of 10.1% beer!!) and we took in an all-night party where you pay 25 dollars in but have unlimited drinks all night... madness. The crowd dancing away got really into the music (a lot like the Irish in that respect) which is something I found a bit lacking with Toronto party-goers, or concert-goers.

Also I somehow ended up chatting (as I thought) 'fluently' to this girl, Myriam - who didn't speak a word of English, for a few hours and she seemed to understand me completely (or at least pretended to).

Even I'm amazed at how much French I'm able to blurt out now .. and this is only after 4 days.

One thing I've found with the francophone speakers here though, they're French is very easy to understand because the accent is so soft, plus unlike Paris, they don't get offended if you don't parlais Francais too well Cheesy

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