In all honesty, and for no specific reason, Montreal has really never been on my travel radar before. So when I got asked to attend (and present at) a conference in Montreal, I thought about whether I really wanted to travel transatlantic for the second time in two months given my hectic work schedule of late… Hmm… Who am I kidding?! I gave it about 5 seconds and jumped at the chance because I am not one for turning a travel opportunity down and even though it’s not necessarily a place I would have taken myself I was looking forward to exploring a part of the world I had yet to visit. I’ve been to Canada before but never to Quebec.
A mini Europe in Canada?
I read a review before arriving that likened Montreal to that of a cross between Brooklyn and Paris. Now call me bias but I absolutely love Paris, I mean who doesn’t. Brooklyn is also another recent love of mine, after visiting New York for the first time in Feb (read about my time here).
This for me was the crux of Montreal’s offering for me, a Parisian, European vibe, in the heart of the Canadian city. Montreal adequately captured the spirit of both of these contrasting yet complimentary cultures, offering a charming combination.
The arts and Culture
I explored a number of art galleries in the hugely popular Vieux Montreal. About 8 galleries are ideally located within close proximity of each other on the main street of Rue Saint-Paul. This road runs throughout the old town and easily accessible from the Old Town.
I absolutely adore this type of abstract, vibrant and colourful art ❤ These pictures are so powerful.
The architecture, especially in the old town, definitely made me feel as though I was in France.
A recent habit of mine is searching for the highest point in a city. Anybody else do this?! I really enjoyed the mini hike up to the top of the Mont Royal observation deck and the views over the city were impressive. I also seemed to have brought the hot weather over the Atlantic with me! Given that the week before was -6, to be walking around in temperatures exceeding 15 degrees was pretty amazing. I totally packed for the wrong climate though!
If you’re only in Montreal for a short amount of time this is possibly the activity I would recommend, although I preface this with the fact that I love walking and I love views.. if you like neither then it’s perhaps not for you. Even though it’s a very short walk to the observation deck, it’s pretty steep, so bare this in mind for choice of footwear.
Now lets get on to one of my favourite parts of travel… FOOD.
Largely inspired by French patisseries but adding in a dose of Canadian maple syrup, a lot of the food was pretty sweet. Think pastries loaded with more sugar. I typically do not tend to eat of lot of pastries, but if there’s one place I do it’s in France. I was expecting this, but what impressed me more was the quality of the fresh fruit and vegetables. As a consequence I opted for a lot of amazing vegan food! I loved the chain Copper Branch. Shiitake Teriyaki, say no more.
All in all I had a short but very sweet trip to Montreal. It has also made me think about considering parts of the world that I’ve brushed over in the past.
Thanks for reading,
Au revoir x