When we entered Montreal, it was something else. First, it is completely on an island for the most part, so we saw some amazing views of the river. We felt like we were entering a completely different European country. We might as well have, because most the people spoke French here, but we were able to find English speakers rather easily.
My wife wanted to eat at first, but I wanted to see some of the interesting landmarks. So we made a compromise, and we would go eat in Old Montreal. I figured that it would have some historic spots to check out.
The area has the look of 18th century Europe and was complete with the cobblestones. The streets were alive with not only tourists but street performers doing all sorts of shows in an attempt to get some of that sweet tourist cash. Another street offered artists selling their paintings and other works.
We decided to eat at Chez Suzette which had amazing crepes at an affordable price. Afterwards, we took an amazing walking tour that showed us many of the old landmarks, such as the clock tower and the perfect view of the river.
Since we were already in Old Montreal, the next place I suggested was Downtown. It was only a few minutes’ walk away from our current location. Downtown was a stark contrast than Old Montreal because of all the giant skyscrapers.
We stopped by the Mary Queen of the World Cathedral which is a cathedral that is 1/4th the scale of the one that is said to be in Italy. We also checked out Parc du Mont-Royal. It is a park next to Mount Royal, but it really happens to just be a small hill. My wife really enjoyed the beauty of the place, and it offered me a serene feeling as well. There were so many places to eat, so we vowed to come back later at night.
Since we had tickets to the symphony tonight (and I’ve been putting off getting a haircut for a couple weeks), we made a stop at Helmet Salon for a haircut. I wasn’t expecting prices like Hair Cuttery (my usual) but it wasn’t too much more. While Julia was waiting, she got into an interesting discussion with a French lady about how to pronounce Balayage. I’ve never even heard of the term and was a bit surprised to find out Julia knew exactly what it was. I told her to never again argue with a French lady about how to correctly say a French word!
Mile – End
I had read about this area of Montreal in a book when I was younger so I insisted my wife we go check it out. Unfortunately, it wasn’t as spectacular as I thought. Nonetheless, I was still impressed at the ambiance. It seemed to be a trendy area, the word “hipster” comes to mind when visiting here. There were plenty of shops and boutiques which my wife loved, of course.
Mile-End offers the most amazing bagel shop in the world though. There is a shop called St-Viateur Bagel. When we approached, there was a huge line there and when we received our bagel, we were not disappointed. There was another bagel shop nearby that competed with this one. Apparently, these bagel shops are world famous, but I didn’t know that when I first walked up to them.
Montreal is a perfect vacation destination for those wanting to travel to Europe but don’t have the money for a transatlantic flight. There are plenty of old style architecture, roads and landmarks.
Beware that many people will speak French and even seem rude if you try to talk to them in English. However, I didn’t have any difficulty, and eventually I would just find someone else who did speak both to translate.