There is Notre Dame of Montreal, the beautiful cafe culture and gorgeous green countryside – Quebec is an amazing province. Despite French being the native tongue here, English is used widely. While I have recognized a lot of long forgotten French, most people have spoken English.
Getting around here is easier than in most cities in the US due to the convenient public transit.
The cafe culture is enchanting and while not France, it has a certain romantic element.
Which had led to interesting conversations – why don’t more Americans – meaning from the US – travel here?
It surprised me. As close as it is, I had expected to run into a lot of people from the US. Yet, walking through the streets of Montreal, the only English we heard had the tell-tale accent of Canada (or British, and a Kiwi or two).
There is a certain Romance of Europe yet, the comfortable ease of familiarity in North American culture – such a unique place. So it surprised me how few Americans were here. Especially during the summer time, which I thought would be high season.
It’s not that expensive. Given the US fascination with travel to Europe – especially France, I guess I expected a lot of Americans.
I wonder why. It seems like a cheaper alternative to Europe. Close, and picturesque.
I learned that the friendliness is something new – even to other Canadians, Quebec has been notoriously separatist, and mildly rude to Anglophones over the years. Yet much as France has been trying to clean up its image in the last few years, so has Quebec. Other than one waitress (who I am not certain whether she was actually being rude, she could very well just not understood the question we asked her) everyone so far has been very friendly.
In fact, I almost think they are working hard to overcome their long reputation of standoffishness.
If that is the case, this could very well be the best chance in decades to see Quebec and experience friendly service. Because right now the people are making a honest effort to be more welcoming, the timing is great. For the record, Americans – Montreal and Quebec City are well worth the journey!