We had a quiet day on December 31, because we knew that we’d be up late for the new years’ festivities. It was wonderful to wake up to a fresh snowfall. It made the city look lovely. It was picturesque.
We went to a bakery called Croquembouche near the house. It is a very famous bakery in Quebec. I think I ordered wrong. I had something that looked like a cinnamon roll that was covered in caramel. It was a bit too sweet for me. I should have just ordered a croissant. The caramel was a proper caramel (and not a frosting), so it was a bit tough to get through. It was a lovely dessert that I did not want to eat at 9 am.
We made our way to Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec. This is the province’s 3 building art museum. We were probably not in the mood to enjoy the museum, so please accept my forthcoming criticism with a grain of salt. We started in the Contemporary Art pavilion. Very little in this building was of interest to me. The top floor did have one gallery reserved for Inuit art, which I enjoyed very much.
The modern art building is in an old jail which is pretty cool. Our guide from the day before told us that when he first arrived in Quebec many years ago it had been a hostel and he stayed in it. There are still cells. Each floor is given to 2 famous Quebecois artists. Every gallery was specific to male artists. There was not a one featured female artist in this building. Come on Quebec. Do better. You do not have one female artist that you are proud of? Yikes. I did like the work of Jean Paul Lemieux.
We had an uninteresting bite to eat at the museum and made our way home to read and relax before dinner. I am reading Howards End, because of just seeing The Inheritance. I was happy to enjoy a beer on the couch while reading it.
We had dinner at Tanière³. This is quite the experience. This is a fine dining restaurant in a 400-year-old wine cellar (Can we call this buttigieging?) At times, it feels quite gimmicky, but somehow it all works together. This was a 12-course meal, focused on the ingredients from the Quebec province. I did not have very high expectations for the place. I thought it was going to expensive and cliche. It was indeed expensive, but the food lived up to it. Some highlights indued: bison tartar, mussels & leeks, a wonderful oyster, & elk served 2 ways.
After dinner, we made out way to the parliament building. It was snowing and there was a stage with a guy doing a bunch of cover music. The french music was fun and people danced a lot to it. American rock covers made me laugh. Clearly, an American rock hit after 1985 has been unable to permeate the Quebec borders. Listening to a man with a pretty heaving Quebecois accent singing Cotton Eye Joe to a crowd of a 1000 people in the snow was a delightfully unique experience.
The Quebecois have a unique love of circus feats. Cirque du Soleil was born in Quebec and we ascertained that our Airbnb apartment was owned by a Cirque du Soleil performer. During the New Years’ shows, the lead of the cover band took off his shirt, strapped his fighter jet shaped guitar to a stand and then did a single-handed handstand while using the other hand to play the theme from Top Gun. The stand raised him at least 20 feet above the stage and then smoke came out of the guitar simulated a takeoff. WILD. The crowd loved it.
When we got to midnight, there were enough fireworks to make it look like noon. We were completed surrounded by fireworks and the launchpads were fairly close to us. It was fantastic. After that, we walked up to the competing EDM festival. We stopped in for a few minutes. Another 1000 people were out for that festival and the 2 parties were only a few blocks from one another.
The entire night was filled with people of all ages. There were kids running around both festivals. Tourists mixing with locals and people enjoying their night. Every time we slipped on the ice there was someone close by to lend a hand. The people were really nice. We slipped and slid our way back to the house and fell asleep at a reasonable time for New Year’s Eve.