This is the second of two posts about Montreal — if you missed the adventures in the first one, you can read about them HERE. But I would be remiss if I did not mention the last part of our weekend trip to Montreal. The weather held and we walked (and ate) a great deal around the city.
Saturday evening concluded with a truly spectacular laser light show at the Notre-Dame Basilica. If you are ever there, you don’t want to miss this extravaganza of coordinated light and music made possible by technology, spectacular architectural elements, and an unprecedented amount of creativity and vision. We were musing over how someone came up with the idea and how the pitch went to sell it… “So we have this idea about a laser light show inside your cathedral…” I can’t help but wonder how that was received and I was dying to know a bit more about how it was created. I found the company that designed the project was called Moment Factory (whose tagline is, appropriately, “We Do It in Public!”). And I found THIS video with a bit of a look behind the scenes of creating the show.
If you don’t really care about the HOW, the link to the preview video in THIS post, while it doesn’t capture the grandeur of being there, will give you a taste of the WHAT. If you DO get to go, order your tickets ahead online (it was not sold out the night we went, but it has been on other weekends my son has tried to go). Arrive early — the doors open a bit ahead of the show and latecomers are not permitted to enter. The first part is in vignettes throughout the cathedral you are invited to visit, where lights trace the intricate lettering or artwork or architecture, and are accompanied by coordinated music or sound tracks. For the second part you must be seated, and the best viewing position is near the center aisle about 2/3 of the way back, so you can take in the whole of it and still feel immersed in it.
On our final morning, my kids took me to a spectacular brunch to celebrate Mother’s Day at a lovely restaurant right across from the cathedral plaza in Old Town called Brasserie 701. My kids know me well! Their website description says “Inspired by Paris’s golden-era brasseries, Brasserie 701 welcomes you in a chic decor with its grandiose neoclassical architecture and a lively ambiance. The menu is made of French brasserie classics.” This ticked all the boxes for a lovely atmosphere, my favorite meal, and fabulous cuisine!
Gorgeous plasterwork, classic marble, and stunning architecture mingle beautifully with tasteful updated light fixtures like the row of caged chandeliers over the bar or the spider-like array of cord and bulb fixtures scattered over the dining area. Linen drapes frame the windows and partially curtain the dining areas into “rooms,” and strategically used mirror adds sparkle to the space.
For Mother’s Day, they had a special brunch menu for the holiday which included unlimited visits to a bar laden with exquisite house-made pastries — I saw the pastry chef taking inventory and restocking and managed an introduction to express my appreciation. I’ve never had better puff pastry anywhere and I know firsthand the labor involved in producing it!
My kids also surprised me with, appropriately for our French atmosphere, a Le Creuset teapot in my favorite aqua color along with a tea cozy featuring my favorite backyard songbirds. And a card all mothers can relate to that read, “That motherhood moment when you realize this IS your circus and these ARE your monkeys!” I blinked and my monkeys have grown into remarkable young adults. I am blessed beyond measure.