Pictured: Place de Castlenau, a street in the Villeray neighborhood that, you guessed it, is closed to private automobiles during the summer.
Whether or not it is merely the language barrier playing tricks, I cannot help but be ensconced by the elegant, poised, and beautiful nature of Montréalers. I experienced a similar feeling when I was living in München. What is it that makes us Americans seem so generally crude by comparison?
And it warrants reiterating that my perception is a generalization. But I can't help but notice that people here put in more effort to live la belle vie than most of us do in America.
Most people's manner of dress is elegant—refined yet modest, impressive but not flashy. There's a sense that people put effort into their appearance, but not so much that they appear outlandish, as if they're trying merely to draw attention to themselves. Nor, on the other end of the spectrum, do they appear slovenly and unkempt. Again, this is a generalization, and there are exceptions in America as well as in Montréal.
As well, the city is generally clean and I imagine it's the result of people caring enough to keep it that way. Compared to New York, I'd eat off the floor of the Métro here.
That's not to say I haven't seen my share of ugly behavior since I've been here. I saw a jerk in a BMW swerve around someone stopped in traffic and nearly collide with an oncoming car, all so they could be stuck behind yet another car. And I've noticed people on the street will not smile back at you—something that I'd grown accustomed to in Florida.
But overall, I feel so much more at ease here than I do in America. The cosmopolitan spirit of the city is inspiring and energizing.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have some serious people-watching to do. Tant de belles personnes!