Wednesday, July 13, 2016

48 Hours in Montreal

Last week, I visited Canada for the very first time. Which is ridiculous, considering it's only 6 hours away and I've been to 15 other countries, all of which are across an ocean.  I had a few extra days off, so I headed up to Montreal!  I only had about 48 hours there, which was enough to get a taste of the city, but I definitely wished I had a couple more days to spread things out. My basic schedule was to go north on day one and east on day two (map at the bottom)

Where I Stayed // I got an AirBnb in downtown, Montreal, right by the main shopping street, Rue St Catherine. I liked the location, but in retrospect definitely would have stayed in Old Montreal, which was by far my favorite area.  The AirBnb thing is key - it's so much easier to travel when I can cook and spread out a bit, plus this place came with free parking, which was amazing.

Maison Christian Faure // the park // bagels on bagels on bagels // Old Montreal
What I Did //

Jean Talon Market // It's a monster food market, with tons of ingredients and prepared food. It's a little out of the way, but absolutely worth the trip. I basically just wandered around for a while and took it all in. Perfect if you're a photographer of any kind.

Notre Dame Basilica // I lucked out and got there right around when a tour was starting and absolutely recommend doing it, if possible (1:30 most afternoons). The tour gives you a ton of information that you wouldn't otherwise find out, and gives you access to a few areas of the space that are off limits on your own. You do have to pay to go into the Basilica, but it's so, so worth it. The space is stunning, and there's plenty to look at.  I wouldn't go if I had little kids with it, as there isn't anything to do, per say, but I wouldn't miss it otherwise.

Mile End and Old Montreal // Two neighborhoods in opposite directions, both of which I LOVED wandering. Tons of cute little spots, great architecture (especially Old Montreal) and great people watching.  I spent about 4 hours in both areas and probably could have gone back.

The Park and The Mountain // I wandered through the park a few times, and loved the little oasis inside the city it provides. There were a tons of people doing all kinds of crazy things there, so it really felt like a piece of true Montreal.  I did not climb the mountain, but will the next time I go. Perfect for a picnic or to take a break from the hustle and bustle.

Notre Dame // Ice cream at Kem Coba // Christ Church Cathedral // street art
What I Ate //

St Viateur and Fairmount // BAGEELLLSSSSS. Basically the main reason I went to Montreal. Apparently, bagels are made in a special way in Montreal, so I felt the need to take a survey in order to figure out which was better. I got half a dozen sesame from each, and very happily would have sat in each of the shops for eons - they smelled of unicorns and love and bread and joy. Take me back. Cash only, FYI

Aux Vivres // Fabulous vegan/vegetarian restaurant. I stopped in around 3:30 on my first afternoon there and was able to spend an hour enjoying an amazing mango lassi smoothie and homemade tempeh burger. Everything was delicious, the menu was huge and the staff were great - happily left me alone, but helped me navigate the options when I need it.

Robin Square // By far my favorite meal of the trip.  It's a teeny little family owned and operated restaurant that gets RAVE yelp reviews. I went for lunch, when they have a more limited menu, but that didn't bother me much. They had a few vegetarian options, including their famous mac and cheese, but I went with the pasta of the day, which was a mushroom linguine. It was so good I ate it one noodle at a time to make it last longer.  Major bonus points for the incredibly sweet staff, who noticed I was reading while I ate and did everything they could to not disturb me.

Maison Christian Faure // Um, cake. Wicked good cake. Like, focus solely on what you are eating, stop talking to me, I need to give this all that I have cake. I truly regret not getting a few to take home to eat alone and in secret.

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