My husband and I were lucky enough to be able to send our kids to the grandparents house and go to Montreal for the weekend. It was about a 7 hour drive for us. We didn’t mind driving because it was such a last minute trip, but believe me it was a trek. The drive on the way there felt scenic and peaceful (until we hit traffic) but on the way home we were just dying to see our babies so it felt like FOREVER! Dave has been to Montreal many times in the past- as a young guy, so he knew a lot of party spots to go to. I knew I wanted to go shopping, however. Food is another MUST for me on vacation. I have to seek out all of the local favorites and must haves. So here is a few things I learned about Montreal from our short trip there.
1. POUTINE! POUTINE! POUTINE!! This yummy dish is a MUST have while visiting Montreal! It consists of french fries, brown gravy, and cheese curds. Kind of sounds disgusting when you say it. Most restaurants will probably know right away that you’re a tourist if you order it, but WHO CARES! You have to have it. Funny enough most places I noticed consider it an entree, not a side dish. So naturally I found myself ordering several entrees when we ate out because I couldn’t not eat the poutine. Also…ordering it makes me giggle a little. I kept pronouncing it “poo-teen” which is not correct. It’s actually pronounced “pu-tin”…yes like the Russian (tyrant) President.
2.Old Montreal. Montreal itself is a lovely city- especially when compared to major American cities like Philadelphia or New York. It is particularly clean and traffic is nonexistent. One of the nicest areas to visit is Old Montreal. Unfortunately, it was raining heavily the only day we had to explore the city so we stayed inside restaurants/ stores for the most part; however, we got to drive through Old Montreal. The next time we go, I really want to spend the whole day there. The buildings are old; the roads are made of cobblestones; and they have horse drawn carriages. Now who could resist that? I did hear it is kind of a tourist trap thought, but I can handle that as long as we are there to leisurely explore and not on a timeline.
3. EVERYTHING is French. Okay yes I know. Montreal is in Quebec, which is the French speaking province of Canada, but I had no idea that everything would be in French. It is kind of nerve-wracking to be approached by people only speaking in French- especially for someone like me who knows little to no French. Luckily, everyone is bilingual and speaks English as well. The awesome part- you get to brush up on another language and feel like you’re on a mini Euro vacay.
4. The Shopping. So one of the awesome things about Quebec is that a lot of things are European. This really pays off when it comes to shopping. I had a blast going from store-to-store looking for all of my favorite European and Canadian brands! I am obsessed with the Canadian make-up brand Marcelle (which is kind of a drug store brand) but you can’t buy it in America (except for on Birchbox online). Needless to say, I was excited.
Besides shopping Canadian brands, I had to search out all of the European things that I love and don’t have in the States. My kids are obsessed with Kinder eggs. They are not in America, so we had to stock up on them. I would say we have enough to last awhile 🙂
We also went shopping at the Underground Mall and I got my dress from a store called Dynamite. I love it! Not the most expensive material, but I loved the overall design.
5. The Nightlife. The bar scene in Montreal is so cool- especially in the summer. People are everywhere and the city seems alive at all hours. It’s not loud like in American cities though. My favorite place we visited was a tiny speakeasy called the Cloak Room. It could fit probably around 20 people or less. It was so cool and cozy. You also have to go over to Rue St. Laurent for late night festivities.
This was the entrance. Not the best picture because it was really dark.
A little warning about the Cloak room- there is no food. The drinks are all super involved. What I mean to say is: you will be there for awhile even for one drink. They hand craft everything. We were starving when we arrived, ordered one drink, and didn’t make it to dinner until after midnight.
6. Pokemon Go! Last, but not least, Montreal is a super site for Pokemon go. You could spot people all over at any time of day playing. It was pretty neat. I whipped it out myself a couple of times!
Hope this gives you some good info for when visiting Montreal and Thanks for Reading!