After spending a few days in Quebec City, Bridge and I continued our road trip southwest to Montreal. It was about a 3 hour drive with a little bit of traffic once we hit the city of Montreal. Having just been in the charming, old town of Quebec City, we were a bit taken back when we arrived to Montreal with all its skyscrapers and construction going on. Our hotel was right in the middle of the downtown area, where there were literally construction going on in every corner. We thought we were back in San Francisco!
Since the weather was quite nice on the afternoon that we arrived, we made a point to head up to Mount Royal, a small mountain in Montreal that offers one of the nicest views of the city. It required a small hike, but the tulip garden and the sweeping views that greeted us were well worth it!
In fact, we liked it so much we went back a second time the next day, for a night view of the city! Unfortunately, it began drizzling when we were there at night, so we didn’t end up staying very long.
I think our favorite part of this trip was the old port of Montreal. We’re always drawn to the “old town” of places that we visit because we enjoy seeing the preservation of architecture from the past, and we like the more authentic vibe of being in places that haven’t been fully restored through the years.
Old Montreal was a French settlement founded in 1642, and remains beautiful and cultural with its cobblestone roads and greystone buildings. There’s the famous Notre Dame Bon-Secours, Montreal’s oldest chapel, which we actually didn’t get to visit because we arrived an hour before they were scheduled to close, and the line was literally wrapped around the building even though it was raining.
There were a lot of food trucks around old port Montreal when we were there, so we had lunch on one of their many picnic style tables. We ate what was probably the BEST smoked meat we’ve ever had!
We also sampled a lot of different maple syrup products at a shop call Délices Érable et Cie, which we highly recommend! We brought their organic maple syrup and their maple butter, both of which are soooo delicious with pancakes, waffles, or plain toast!
One thing that Bridge and I have been doing on our travels is to watercolor. We would find a place that inspires us and spend an hour or two just watercoloring there. We did this in Old Town Montreal, and it was so relaxing!
And then there is ofcourse the BAGELS. Who can visit Montreal without tasting their world famous bagels?? We went to St. Viateur, and learned that their bagels are boiled in honey-infused water and then baked in a wood burning oven so that the bagels are softer, less dense, and a little sweeter. Verdict? Run, don’t walk, to get fresh Montreal bagels there!!
A few other noteworthy places we tried out:
Snowdon Deli–this is an old Jewish deli in Montreal, famous for their classic Montreal-style smoked meats. After the ahhhmazing smoked meat sandwich we had from the food truck, we wanted MORE smoked meat, so we found this one and it surely did not disappoint! The smoked brisket with gravy and the smoked beef with dijon mustard were both super delicious.
C’ChoColat–we stumbled upon this dessert place after dinner one evening, and it was so good we went back the next day. They have a huge variety of desserts to choose from, but my personal favorite was the S’mores!
Overall, I think Montreal is a great destination for families because it’s easy to get around, and has an abundance of options in terms of activities and food. The French influences all around makes it feel like you’re in Europe at times, which is pretty cool. Although Bridge and I were there for only a couple days, we really enjoyed exploring the city!