early to rise and shine, i made my way down to breakfast to eat with andreas, emanuela, and mari. after pleasant conversation, we set in route to the third floor for a press meeting with the commisioner of montreal, the economic director of quebec, the director of development for quebec, as well as the president of fashion week. it was a fascinating time of discussion on how to cultivate the uniqueness of this city and improve the upcoming fashion weeks. it was captivating to see how closely involved the government is with the industry, how this melting pot of a city is so tighly knit. after our french goodbyes and exchange of diverse opinions, we hopped into a tour van to take a trek around the historical city. we explored the quaint (and lovable) old city of montreal, the breath-taking notre-dame basilica, the lively downtown, commercial shopping streets, parisian inspired roads, and the mountain. our car ride was full of hysterical laughing, photo snapping, and new knowledge. our path ended at the l’institut, a renowned restaurant run by the esteemed cooking school students. we dined with the manager (an enchanting and engaging woman to say the least), and enjoyed every course: red wine, potato soup, fresh baguette, salmon, cinnamon creme, creme brulee, and hot black tea to conclude. i began to realize that meals here are much more than eating; it calls for pure enjoyment, new experience, satisfying conversation with depth in every topic, even career. we arrived back at the marche bonsecours to visit the underground showroom, where talent was exploding. denim collections, jewelry, handbags, and racks of gorgeous clothing made for an overstimulating afternoon. speaking with designers was so interesting and inspiring to hear about their visions and excitement for their creations. the rain disappeared and the sun shone brightly, so we took an afternoon stroll around the waterfront and the adorable brick roads to absorb the rich culture of this place. shopping was next on our agenda. yipee!! simons and debo were our retailers of choice for purpose to view the montreal designer collaborations with phillip dubuc and denis gagnon. i felt like we were in a movie-side by side in dressing rooms, laughing, trying on clothes, and analyzing whether it was worth a purchase. our next stop was the historical jewelry store, birks (the equivalent to tiffany’s in the states). we were greeted warmly by the store’s expert and were wooed with the stunning diamonds and the deluxe past of this store. for dinner, we walked over to a vegetarian buffet and tried so many delicious plates. we then taxied back to the venue to watch two runway shows–valerie dumaine and second clothing denim. both were pumped with energy and talent. the night finished with a beautiful view of city from the conference room at city hall (diane’s office), recycled mode de montreal street banners designed by phillip dubuc, and a casual walk back to the hotel. emanuela and i discussed how proud the residents of this city are to call this place home (and a arena to flourish in their talent), and i am completely aware as to why. this place is a conglomeration of everything wonderful. it is homey and safe, cultured and edgy, professional yet absent of all pretense. i am utterly charmed.