I went for a lil jaunt to Montreal with my mate last weekend and it was a lovely trip full of relaxation, walking, sightseeing, eating meals, catching a museum and taking a nap here and there for good measure.I’m a big fan when I travel to take some time out for quiet moments to see lovely things, enjoy my time in a city and just be with myself in the moment. Sure that’s what mini vacations are about aren’t they? Easier said than done.
Let me tell you, I spent a ton of time in my 20’s running around seeing all the hotspots, doing all the touristy things you had to see just to say you saw it and always forgot to nourish my belly, mind and soul.
This mini 2.5 day trip to Montreal is just what I needed to clean my mind and body up. Sure we walked for hours and I got a tad sunburnt but it’s a long time from December until August from when I took my last vacation.
Montreal is a great cheap and cheerful city to visit. Porter Airlines operating out of Toronto Island Airport has been having quite a few seat sales of late and you can catch a seat sale for just under $120 return to Montreal if you are lucky.
I recommend if you are staying for 2-3 days to pick up a $16 bus pass from Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport that will take you to the city centre in just under 30 minutes. You can use that pass for subway and bus travel all over the city centre of Montreal unlimited.
We didn’t have big plans to do loads of sightseeing – it was a more of a wandering and eating trip. Key places of interest to check out if and when you are in Montreal next:
Old Montréal: Old Montréal (Le vieux Montréal) visually remembers the old settlement of Ville-Marie, located near the St-Lawrence River, south of downtown. The age of the buildings range from the 17th century to early 20th century. At the center of it all is Place Jacques Cartier, in front of Montréal’s historic City Hall. The most interesting streets are St-Paul, de la Commune and St-Jacques.
Basilica of Notre-Dame: This is one of North America’s largest and most historic cathedrals. It can seat 5000 people. Built between 1824 and 1829 in the neo-gothic style, Notre-Dame will remind you of some of Europe’s famous cathedrals.
Museum of Contemporary Arts: Called the museum of the twenty-first century, this museum is situated next to Place des Arts, making it part of the only cultural complex in Canada devoted to both the performing and visual arts. It is also the only Canadian institution dedicated exclusively to contemporary art.
Montréal Biodome: Best described as a museum of the environment; the Biodome is an interesting recreation of four distinct ecosystems. You’ll find woodlands typical of the Canadian shield, a marine zone similar to the Gulf of St. Lawrence, a tropical rainforest and a Polar climate. Each eco-zone is dutifully recreated and includes appropriate plants and wildlife.
Place des Arts contains a large terrace where you can lounge in the sun while listening to street musicians, and soaking up the ambiance of Montréal.
The main streets are St-Denis, St-Laurent (between Sherbrooke and Rachel) and St-Catherine between St-Laurent and Berri. Awesome jazz in this part of town!
Schwartz’s Deli at 3895 St-Laurent is considered by many to have the best smoked meat in the world. You can’t visit Montréal without sampling the local specialty — a smoked meat sandwich.
Crescent Street is located in the heart of downtown; perhaps the most popular streets to frequent, it is loaded with bars, restaurants, great shopping, and incredibly trendy nightlife!
St-Laurent Blvd is the trendiest part of Montréal. Packed with upper end dining, it is the place to see and be seen!
When will your next holiday be and where?
Yours in travel,