Bonjour!! We've train-sported (my new word) to Québec City from Montreal, and boy did we love that city! We stayed with a friend, who we're still so grateful for letting us stay with her! She was the best hostess, and we really enjoyed getting to know her better!
Montreal is a very interesting, small yet big city with a lot of diversity and SO much to see. We really didn't see everything, although it seemed like we walked for days upon days. Here's a quick rundown of our 2 days in Montreal:
1. Depending on the length of your stay, it's very beneficial to get a 3 day metro pass (which also works for the bus system) for $18. Totally worth it because Montreal is a little too big to walk everywhere unless you're just really enthusiastic about that :)
2. Heading down to Le Vieux Port (the old port), we saw l'Hôtel de Ville and the spectacular Basilique Notre Dame. The 5$ was totally worth it. Absolutely stunning. We walked along the river where we saw an amusement park in the distance and pattle boats to tour around. There's a string of red buildings that is a market. We went to the Creme de la Creme for a snack. It's a beautiful area and we just kind of wandered around, didn't really have a plan.
3. We saw the Stade Olympique (which took place in Montreal in 1976) them walked up to Les Jardins Botanniques. We were pretty lucky that until tomorrow, just walking around les Jardins is free. We just didn't see the insectarium or the green houses, which we were okay with because--free! They show different style gardens like Indigenous, Japanese, and Chinese. The trees were beautiful, and the tulips at the entrance were stunning!
4. I always like to go to the grocery stores (épicerie) when I go to foreign countries, but Montreal's wasn't that different. What I noticed was Canada really likes Cadbury products and Miss Vickie's potato chips.
5. The second day, we took the bus up to Mont Royal, which is the mountain that the city is named after. We actually got there at the same time as a group touring from high school, and I had fond flashbacks to my past two summer trips :). It has a gorgeous view of the city (also free!). We walked the loop around, but there's not too much to see. Plus it started raining on us and got pretty chilly.
6. Mile End is this really hip, modern neighborhood with a lot of diverse history. We hit up St. Viateur's Bagel Shop. We went to the original, and it was great. I got two Rosemary bagels, and they were warm and delicious! I didn't even need cream cheese. They've been in business since 1957, and I can see why! A must stop shop! All the shops are very vintage, but also very selective in the clothing that they carry. Très chic!
7. We ended Day 2 at Le Musée de beaux-arts (fine arts), and since we only had an hour before they closed, we explored the Canadian art which was gorgeous and very unique.
8. La Banquise is a famous Montreal poutine restaurant. They're known for putting things besides just gravy and cheese curds on the dish! The line was out the door but moved very fast! It was so delicious! And dessert was at Le Diperie, which is soft served ice cream, them you choose your coating and a topping. It's like a McDonald's chocolate dipped cone, but 10 times better!
**Sidenote, Montreal also has a lot of A&W restaurants, which I find crazy because we only have 2 in East TN that I've seen!
9. This morning, we grabbed a croissant and coffee for breakfast then headed to St. Joseph's Oratory! The founder of this oratory, Brother André, was beloved. 1 million people came to the two funerals held for him here when he died in 1937. In 2010, he was canonized as a saint. Pretty cool dude. Before we had to headed to the train station, we stopped at Duc de Lorraine, the oldest patisserie in Montreal, for a macaron.
So put Montreal on your list, folks! It's a beautiful city with tons to see, especially on the old part. It's very diverse, but everyone speaks English. All you have to say is "Parlez-vous anglais?" Very simple. I loved it, and I'm so excited for the next chapter of the journey, Québec City!!