November 11, 2002
Québec City and the Cheese with No Name

French Speaking Fun (Part I)

So some of you may know that I'm in Québec City and Montréal this week. Some of you may not but now do, so we're all on a level playing field now.

I spent the past weekend in Q.C., being there for the first time in over a decade. It was nice, albeit really freaking cold. I have to say, they've done a really good job of keeping the old part of the city authentic. I wandered around for a good two hours and was unable to find a chain store (i.e. Starbucks, McDicks etc.) until I finally started heading outside the old city proper. Which brings me to one comment - they seem to be so enraptured with cute little cafés that there isn't a place to just sit down and have coffee. Every place has fancy restaurants and snooty waiters. I'm not saying I needed Starbucks, just something with a similar menu and style.

Speaking of snooty french waiters, a friend and I made it our mission on Saturday night to find the snootiest french restaurant possible and eat there. We found one, but sadly they were far too friendly. The only time we got snarked at a little was when my friend asked what a certain cheese was called and the waiter said: "Zees are frainch cheeses! They have no name in eenglish."

Some other quick-hit stuff:
- My friend was staying in the Chateau Frontenac (I was not so lucky), which is really nice. However, I have to say that I think the Banff Springs is better
- They have a staue of FDR at the gate to the old city. I was unable to determine why.
- Apparently only 3% of the residents in Q.C. speak English. This means that whenever I was near a radio I got deluged by bad Québec pop. Why can't the french make pop music sound like anything but Roch Voisine?
- Public Service Announcement: Running on icy cobblestone streets - just say no.

It was also nice that I was able to determine that my french is still good enough for restaurant use. I made it through a complicated meal at a crèperie without slipping back into English. Which makes it a pretty good trip so far.

Posted by savidant at November 11, 2002 11:04 AM
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