bienvenue à Montréal, land of many smokers, white flowering hydrangeas, black garbage bags on the curbside, the Habs, random street markets, underground malls, many museums, restaurant seating that spills outside the door, and home of poutine (french fries covered in cheese curds and gravy...we even opted to top it off with smoked meat). we stayed at le 1 René-Lévesque which even offers modern one-person studios for $65/night. it boasts no carpets or frilly bedskirts, but i'll gladly take linoleum floors over travelodge carpet with the last person's toenails trapped inside. le 1 was kitty-corner to china town, a short walk from both old montreal and Ste-Catherine Street, and we had a view of the city from a 12th floor room that was so quiet we couldn't hear the slightest rumble from the grunge concert in the park behind us. it was so fantastic, in fact, that we were able to check in at 8am, and when i asked where the closest internet cafe was to print an itinerary from my email, they let me use their own computer at the front desk!