French and English, good food, fall colors, crisp air and time away. I don’t know if I fell in love with Montreal but maybe it fell a little in love with me. The people are kind especially if you speak French and I found myself admiring the old buildings the water and who knew it’s an island? I think more than one person told me that.
The fall color, food and french were my biggest draws and none were a let down. It’s not France so please don’t go expecting that. I found the city to be full of character, history and interest.
The Jean-Talon market selling fruits, vegetables, fish,flowers,cheese you name it I saw it there. It’s an old market and people were shopping on Sunday for there weekly goods. I bought a few things to have a simple dinner of wine, cheese, bread and salami and olives. A little appetizer dinner that I l had to have in order to try some of the goods. The olives are on my list of scrumptious. Almond filled, garlic filled, hot peppers you name it they stuffed it. I am still tasting the salt and crunch in my mouth from the olive filled with marcona almonds. The best of both worlds.
A morning spent on a food tour gave me a layout of the “Mile End” district the hip and up and coming artsy neighborhood that mixes French and English. Cross the street and boom you are in the “English section” although everywhere both languages are required by law on signs which makes it easy for a tourist who doesn’t speak French. The Local food tour guided my small group through the tastes of the streets. Everything from Vegan Falafel sandwiches, montéal style bagels (my favorite) and hot chocolate to gnocchi and vanilla brioche. A stop at an old theater gave us a rest for our stomachs and feet until we were back out again tasting, chatting, and learning the best spots to go for coffee, dinner, etc. Although I liked the food tour I wondered if my research would have brought me to some of the places on my own. The foodie in me typically does more research than necessary on where to go and eat and a few of the places I was already in the know about. I will say I liked the personalized tour, small samples and tidbits on the area.
After food touring I decided I needed to make my own dinner at my 150 year old airbnb and relax on the couch. Potato soup for the blustery day was calling my name so leeks, potatoes and butter were purchased. Comfort food at it’s best. A small baguette and I was set. Small Grocery shops were everywhere I found and with the US dollar to Canadian dollar ratio I was eating on the cheap everywhere so even purchasing a bottle of wine with the higher tax rate wasn’t a problem. Now is the time to go to Canada if you are a US Citizen.
More highlights not to be missed included :
A few great eats include Tommy’s a cafe with greenery hanging everywhere, upstairs seating, and Greek avocado Toasts…I am so going to copy this and make it at home!
Mont Royal especially the fall color if you have an opportunity. This Large Park on a mountain (you can take a bus to the top) was designed by the Olmsted brothers the same guys who designed Central Park and for those living in Seattle, Volunteer Park, a very cool spot if you haven’t been. The view from Mont Royal is fantastic. One looks down onto the city and trails are all over leading in different directions. Photos of the yellow and gold leaves don’t do it justice although I tried ;)
Montreal Botanical Gardens and Festival of Lights in the fall. The lights are gorgeous and surrounding plant life and water features was very calming and made me slow my foot pace.
On my last night I ate at this place called Pizza Napoli and had lasagna the good old fashioned kind. The kind your mama makes you or at least what you imagined your mama making for you in case you didn’t have that growing up;)
I ended my trip on a train ride headed down to New York so that I could pass along the Adirondacks and see the blazes of color along the lakes. (It’s not just about the chairs, it is a real place.) The train leaves at 10 am and it’s a long ride but spectacular. I recommend it highly and if possible prior to daylight savings time so that you can get the golden hour as you pass by the lakes. Breathtaking. You feel like you are passing all of it to quickly. The camera click is constant, the left side is best for the lake views and color so grab a seat and take it all in.
Customs can take a while but goes faster when you can interpret as it turns out I had to do, kind of a funny fluke. Poor guy who got me…LOL Who knew US customs agents don’t speak French at the border? But after that we were back on track and flying down the tracks. If you have the time this train trip is a must for the fall. Check out these photos and you will understand. I have always loved trains and the sound of them I guess because I grew up listening to them at night. They would pass by and the whistle blew always as it crossed nearby, maybe I should try listening to that to fall asleep too? They make a white noise of everything now a days:) Who knew I had such nostalgia for trains.
So for a fall holiday would I recommend Montreal, yes. Next time I’m going to go see Quebec City as well but not quite enough time to do it all. There will be a next time:)
So tell me what should I put on my list for Quebec City? Have you been? What did I miss in Montréal? Love hearing your thoughts.