Canada: Montreal

Accessibility

Many international airports in the U.S. have multiple direct flights to Montreal. From New York it’s a short 90 minute flight. This makes Montreal a great weekend getaway. Fly up on Friday and back on Sunday.

When we went

A few times, late spring and winter. Winter is brutal almost everywhere in Canada. Try to go when the chance of a blizzard is low.

What we did

The most famous sight in the city is the small French (or historic) quarter which is comprised of a couple blocks of cobblestone lanes and a pedestrian street. Cute any time of the year I must admit it was more atmospheric with a light snow cover. Expect to see horse drawn carriages, public ice rinks, and the ever present smell of maple syrup.

St.Paul Street in Old Town Montreal

St.Paul Street in Old Town Montreal

Also in the old town you’ll find the church of Notre Dame, actually a Canadian replica of the real one. Celine Dion got married here, which in Canada, makes it a national monument.

 

Notre Dame

Notre Dame in Montreal

I LOVED the front of the church

Inside of of the Notre Dame

There is also an exact replica of the Sacre Coeur, outside of historical district but easily reachable by public transit.
I think I was sweating after we finally made it to the top

Montreal hosted the Summer Olympic games in 1976. One of the arenas was turned in a biosphere. You need to take a metro to get there. The stadium is also the ex home of the Montreal Expos.

Built for the World's Fair in 1967, they were supposed to be made to live in...

Apartment buildings built for the World’s Fair in 1967.

 

If you arrive in the winter, and you’re downtown but not in the French quarter you might find yourself wondering where all the people went. Answer: they’re underground. Montreal has a systems of underground tunnels that link the city’s buildings together and form a kind of subterranean mall. You can spend all down there, eating, shopping, even staying in a hotel. Some of the courtyards are impressive, several stories high complete with elaborate fountains.

Ice skating in the middle of the city

Ice skating in the middle of the city

 

Accommodation:

Hotel St. Paul. “Urban chic” in old town Montreal

Restaurants:

Au Pied de Cochon. Known for its poutine (unofficial national dish of Canada) with foie gras.

Bocata. Restaurant and wine bar.

Schwartz’s. Montreal’s finest delicatessen serving delicious pastrami sandwiches.

People from Montreal love to tell you that their bagels are quite delicious. There is a whole area just north of downtown (near McGill University) known for them. In this New Yorker’s opinion they were subpar and certainly not worth the $20 cab ride required to get there. If you’re looking for a good breakfast, crepes and waffles in the French quarter are the way to go.

3 thoughts on “Canada: Montreal

  1. Dan says:

    Hey! I really love that 2nd picture of St. Paul St. (as well as many of the photos on your site)!! I happened upon it when I was doing watercolor studies and it was perfect for practicing snow. I was wondering what it would take to get permission to use the image (since it is based off of your photo)? Please email me!

    • [email protected] says:

      Hi, thanks for reaching out. This picture was taken very early on in our ‘travel adventures’. Here is the link where you can download a larger version of the image…though I must admit the quality of this photo isn’t top notch (at the time I as using a beginner’s digital SLR camera). http://cdn-3-service.phanfare.com/images/external/7676858_4699600_101328754_Full_3/0_0_2e749a679381adaf9f027d2926f96d30_1

      • Dan says:

        Thank you so much! I’m always looking for good reference images to paint when I don’t have any! Unfortunately we have no snow yet this year. The image we work perfectly!

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