As the District’s mayoral race works its way through its last sleepy month before Labor Day, Democratic mayoral nominee Muriel Bowser headed to Montreal last week for a conference. Bowser’s trip to Quebec reminded rival David Catania of another French-speaking part of the world: France.

“She’s becoming the Marie Antoinette of D.C. politics,” Catania campaign manager Ben Young says. “‘Just let them eat cake, I’m off to Montreal.'”

Catania’s campaign alleges that Bowser ditched her responsibilities as the chairwoman of the D.C. Council committee that covers housing issues, opting instead to hobnob with the Québécois.

Catania’s camp followed the slam with a postcard graphic illustrating the deteriorating Park Southern housing complex, with a “wish you were here” caption for Bowser. (By comparison, Catania visited to Germany last September, but Young estimates that his candidate hasn’t spent more than 48 hours outside the District in the past six months.)

Bowser’s trip to speak to young people in Montreal won’t cost District taxpayers, according to spokesman Joaquin McPeek.

“This is the latest in a series of desperate stunts and a sign of a campaign that continues to be in panic mode,” McPeek says.

Mayoral hopeful Carol Schwartz got in on the homebody action, issuing a press release that was ostensibly about her trip to Saturday’s Ward 8 Democrats cookout. The release’s true purpose becomes clear, however, when Schwartz describes not seeing Bowser at the event.

“I am so pleased that Muriel got time off from her hourly wage housekeeping job at the Marriott Marquis for a fundraising weekend in Martha’s Vineyard,” Schwartz cracks in her statement, an allusion to Bowser’s plan to work as a hotel maid for part of a day.

Except, according to McPeek, Bowser wasn’t at Martha’s Vineyard this weekend. Schwartz admits that she got the idea that Bowser was in Martha’s Vineyard based on scuttlebutt she heard in Ward 8.

“I didn’t see her ticket or anything,” Schwartz says.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery