Montreal is an interesting mix of Old and New. It is a vibrant city filled with culture and opportunity.
We spent a week in Montreal. The reason for this choice was because there was a poker circuit event that Steve wanted to attend at the Montreal Casino, but we have wanted to come to Montreal for quite some time, because we have heard so many good things about it.
We loved the city of Montreal! It almost felt like a European city. To us, Montreal only has one problem… the brutal winters. We were talking to a guy who moved from Toronto, and he said they are way colder than winter in Toronto! What?!?! We were here at the end of April, and it was a bit chilly on most days (It may have seemed colder as we had packed for summer, and the next four months in Europe).
I suspect Montreal in the summer is amazing. There are lots of trees… but they didn’t have their leaves yet, which left the place looking a bit stark. Also in the summer, Montreal has loads of different festivals and events.
That being said, we still thought the city was beautiful, particularly Old Montreal! When Steve wasn’t playing poker at the casino we spent most of our time walking around the town. We loved Old Montreal, because the buildings were lovely and old… kind of like Europe.
We also walked down by the Old Port, which I suspect is even more beautiful in the summer 🙂 (Are you noticing a recurring theme here?)
We decided we needed to try a Montreal Smoked Meat sandwich while we were here (I think you can probably get one in almost every restaurant), and had a delicious one at this restaurant.
The sandwich was amazing, the French Onion soup was cheesy and delicious, and the decor made us feel like we were already in France 🙂
This ended up being my favourite restaurant of the week, but you are spoiled with choices in Montreal. There are tons of restaurants that look amazing! I don’t think we had one bad meal all week (except for maybe the ones I cooked in our apartment 😉 )!
Andrea and Brian told us that we “HAD TO” go to Schwartz’s Deli. We tried, we really did. We even went in the middle of the afternoon to increase our chances of finding a spot to eat, but to no avail. When we arrived it was packed with wall to wall people…also it was hot and smelled like meat inside… so we gave it a pass. That being said if you are more persistent, have time and are not randomly nauseous like me, you should try it out! The amount of people inside leads me to believe that it must be good 🙂 We almost walked right by it… so here is what it looks like from the outside so you don’t walk right by too!
This is also where we decided to start our “Irish Pub Experiment”. We have noticed when we travel that it doesn’t seem to matter where you are, you can always find an Irish Pub. Rather than just noticing this, we decided to check and see if it is really “a thing”. From now on… if we remember 😉 … we are going to visit and take a photograph of an Irish Pub in each town we visit. Our first attempt was successful, as we found this pub in Montreal.
Helpful tip #1: This pub is just down the block (towards the water) from Schwartz’s Deli if you can’t get into Schwartz’s.
Helpful tip #2: The waitress may be slightly hard of hearing as she thought I said “Vodka Cranberry” when I actually ordered “Cranberry and Soda”. I thought it tasted bitter…
One other thing we liked about Montreal is that it seemed to really be a good place for “living outside”…not like camping or tent cities… but rather in the fun, “go play outside” kind of way. There are lots of outside places to sit and visit with friends, listen to music, or enjoy the sunshine.
You can sit and eat…
You can sit and listen to music…
Or you can just sit and watch people (or wait for the Handsome Man to finish taking photos)
They had an interesting art feature (which I found when I got lost coming home from the grocery store) which was multiple sets of swings, that played music when you swing on them. This is just one example of the things that make Montreal interesting. (No photos, as I don’t normally take the camera to the grocery store 😉 )
We were also lucky enough to have a nice visit with our friend Stephanie while we were here. She recommended we take a walk up the hill and through the streets where you will find the fancy mansions. We love looking at big houses, and thoroughly enjoyed this walk (well I didn’t enjoy the uphill part… it was brutal… but I enjoyed the rest of it!).
Here are a couple of my favourite houses we saw on our walk that day.
Finally, let’s talk about the French thing. It wasn’t an issue that we don’t speak French. Most people here speak at least French and English if not more languages. Don’t I wish that I was that accomplished! It is a law here that they greet you in French and English, but everyone spoke English to me when I needed them too… and quite pleasantly and politely too. Don’t let your lack of French skills stop you from visiting Montreal… you’d be missing out!
We’ll definitely be back, but probably in the summer when it is a bit warmer (or brutally hot as someone said) and perhaps for one of the festivals!