Three words to describe Montreal: beautiful, historical and friendly.
My sister and I only visited for two days, but it was enough to release the stress of the semester and create unforgettable experiences.
Instead of staying at a big hotel, we chose Château Versailles: a small, cute but elegant, boutique hotel. The old style feel, the stairs, the creaky floors; it felt like we were inside a 1930’s set Nancy Drew computer game!
After checking in, we went for complimentary tea and cookies in Le Boudoir.
Wasting no time, we got on the subway, which is a much better system than Toronto. Being horrible at direction (I still get confused on the Toronto subway), I actually found the Montreal system so easy to use. The method of paying is different too. Instead of dropping your coins in a box, the collector counts it and gives you a card that you insert for the gates to open. For weekend passes, the collector programs a chip card that you scan on each entry.
After a short subway ride, we were at Château Dufresne. There was so much to see, but we had to rush through since we got there a half hour before closing time.
From the paintings on the ceiling to the hand-painted china, everything was so intricate. It’s crazy to think how much time people spend on designing just one building. It’s mind-blowing to me, considering that in this day and age, “Ain’t nobody got time for dat.”
It’s hard not to bust through the ropes and sneak up the stairs; it took some real self-restraint. And a hidden door? Let me through! Maybe it’s a time machine back to the early 1900’s, because I was definitely born in the wrong age.
After this, we headed to St. Catherine St. and ate what you have to eat in Montreal: poutine. I chose the “players poutine” at Nickels Restaurant, which is topped with steak, onions and mushrooms. Amazing!
Another Montreal must? Nightlife! We stayed away from the clubs and went with friends to a really interesting gamer lounge on Drummond St. called Foonzo. All the games are free with the purchase of a drink. If you’re looking to have fun, check out this place! I don’t even like videogames, but I found everyone here crazy friendly, including the super nice bartender.
Crepes! That’s how we started our Saturday morning. Paris Crepes on St. Catherine St. had so many hard choices, but I settled for one with spinach, cheese and egg. I wish I could eat this every morning.
It was freezing walking in Old Montreal, but it was worth the cold I got afterwards. Just wandering down the street is beautiful, and stopping at the cafes and little shops along the way definitely enhances the experience. One thing I love about shops in Montreal: many seem to be independently owned. You’re buying more than a product; you’re buying originality.
We walked by Château Ramezay and thought, “Sure, why not?” We expected it to be a quick walk through, but three hours later we had had dressed up, took pictures and made bread (all included in the price). Unlike Château Dufresne, the rooms have been renovated and most of them are merely exhibits of historical items. However, the experience is what made this place unique and so fun.
After eating dinner at an Italian restaurant, we searched the cold streets for a good bar. Eventually, we went to London Pub on Crescent St. It’s super small and can’t fit many people, but we still met some really nice locals and tourists.
Before leaving we made sure to see the Notre-Dame Basilica. I’m not religious, but the artwork here is amazing. Again, I’m shocked by the time and detail that’s put into the architecture, sculptures and paintings.
From there we walked down Mont Royal Ave., where there’s tons of cafes and different shops.
The weekend was too short. I already want to visit again, and I’m going to have to make it a priority to travel more!
Have you been to Montreal? What was the best part of your trip?