February 23, 2019 By Jen
Montréal is an amazing, bustling, and energetic city. It is the largest city in the Canadian province of Québec, and one of the top French speaking cities in the world. In Montréal, the European flair and vibe is alive and palpable. The cobblestoned streets in beautiful neighborhoods such as French colonial Vieux-Montréal, or old city Montréal, transports you to the streets of Europe. On the other hand, this city has over 200 ethnic groups represented, and you can taste this melting pot when visiting some neighborhoods such as little Italy, little Burgundy, and the historic Jewish Quarter. Montréal is beautiful, and its people are extremely friendly, respectful, and hospitable. We visited Montréal during the summer, and attended one of the many festivals at Parc Jean Drapeau. There were dozens of stages around the park, each dedicated to a different country, from around the world. All playing world music, dances, and different performances. It was a great family event, very enjoyable. When you have a chance to visit Montréal, please be sure to do these things:
By now you guys probably know that we are mega foodies, and if you enjoy food as much as we do, Montréal needs to be added to your bucket list. Montréal has an amazing food scene, with outdoors cafés, world cuisine, and some authentic dishes you will not get anywhere else. Poutine! Please do not leave Montréal without trying this massive pile of yumminess. Poutine is practically a mountain of fries, smothered in gravy, and topped with cheese curds- trust me, this is delicious, although a bit messy. Be sure to pick up some bagels, yeah much better than NY City bagels for sure! Bagels in Montréal are cooked in wood-fires, are tasty, and when you top them with lox and cream cheese, it is a perfect bite. For lunch, be sure to pick up a smoked meat sandwich, and please do not call it pastrami, the Montréal’s name is smoked meat! For some of the best smoked meat, visit Schwartz’s Montreal Hebrew Delicatessen. For a lux experience, stop by the Ritz Carlton Montreal for amazing afternoon tea. For casual good coffee, visit Tim Hortons, they are everywhere- you can’t possibly leave Canada without having Tim’s.
Although we already chatted about food, Jean-Talon Market deserves a section on its own. I have to say that a visit to Jean-Talon Market is a must. If you are visiting Montréal for only one day, please go to Jean-Talon, it is an amazing market. Located in the little Italy section of Montréal, is open year-round. With over 300 vendors, offering amazing food, fresh produce, flowers, fruits, fresh seafood, baked goods, and everything you can think. My recommendation is that you arrive early and grab a fresh green juice from the juice bar and walk around the market, taste and buy fresh fruit. Stop for some smoked salmon or smoked meats. Be sure to have some fresh oysters and end with some tacos al pastor from the taqueria- some of the best tacos, outside of Mexico! Be sure to take some pastries from the bakery, and take home some maple as a souvenir. You will probably spend a few hours at Jean-Talon, it is a good place to people watch, walk, and eat a lot.
Notre-Dame Basilica– schedule a guided tour either in English or French, of this gorgeous landmark, admission fee is only $8 with or without a tour, kids below 6 years old are free. This basilica offers spectacular architectural design, stunning stained-glass windows, and gold leaves in their architecture. Almost one million visitors go to this beautiful place each year.
Montreal Botanical Gardens– If visiting during spring, summer, or even fall, a visit to the Botanical Gardens is recommended. The Botanical Gardens is part of a group of museums called Space for Life, together with the Biodome, and the Planetarium. If you are traveling with your little ones, be sure to stop by and check these museums out.
La Ronde– This is a Six Flags amusement park, featuring rollercoasters, family and kid’s rides, and shows. It is open seasonal. If you are a Six Flags pass holder in the United States and have purchased season and dinning passes, you are able to use those at this location in Montréal.
Montréal Museum of Fine Arts – The museum holds over 43,000 works of art, including sculptures, graphics, paintings and decorative designs. It houses a great collection of Québec and Canadian art. If you are an art enthusiast, be sure to check this museum out.
Québec Day Trip:
No trip to Montréal is complete without taking a day trip to Québec, an UNESCO world heritage site. I actually recommend staying at least one night in Québec. Québec is magical. With the elegant Chateau Frontenac, magnificent architecture, art scene, and street performers, this city must be visited. It has amazing restaurants and specialty shops. On the way to Québec, make a stop and visit the Montmorency Falls, located about 8 miles before you reach Québec. Stay tuned, I will write an article about our day trip from Montréal to Québec.