“Bonjour,” says the barista as I reach the head of the line. I order a coffee and croissant, then take a moment to remind myself which country this cafe is in — a familiar quandary for long-haul pilots — and to confirm that the bank note I pull from my pocket is Canadian.

Then I mangle a “merci” and step between the tables, each crowded with young tech workers speaking in euphonic blends of French and English, to a stool by the window overlooking the crowded street.

I first came to Montreal in 1992, when I was 18. My boyfriend back then — even after two years together, we remained so fearfully secretive that I often burned his letters — was keen to attend the jazz festival.