Pontus Edenberg via Getty Images
When you need a quick getaway -- a real escape -- that's no further than 20 minutes away from a major airport, it's time for a weekend in Montreal, the second-largest French-speaking city in the world. It doesn't get much easier to experience such an appealingly different destination in a very short time.
Ten years ago last Sunday, I sat by a window at a breakfast restaurant on de Maisonneuve, ordered a plate of pancakes, got out my journal, and wrote: "What have I just done?" I had just moved to Montreal with $1,000 in my pocket and no job. Ten years later I'm happier than I've ever been -- due in large part to this wonderful city.