Montreal is the largest city in “La Belle Province” of Quebec, and the second largest city in Canada after Toronto. During my summer of 2012, I got to make a little trip to this beautiful place for a weekend with 2 great Canadian friends.
We booked our bus tickets from Toronto to Montreal online with Coach Canada’s Megabus which added up to about CAD $80 round trip. Make sure you take the express bus , it takes around 6 hours to get there and doesn’t make any stopovers.
For the hotel, we booked online with Hotwire. This travel site works by taking into consideration the location where you would like to stay and the price range you are willing to pay, and will then pick a hotel at random. Hotwire hooked us up with a double room at “The Maritime Plaza” hotel for CAD$ 250 a night, which split three ways, came up to only $40 bucks a night. Location wise the hotel was great as it is downtown but other than that it was just average, which didn’t really matter since we didn’t spend much time in our room anyways.
The three of us had a great time in the city, doing things at our own pace and visiting places that were of our interest, going out to dance and of course a little mall time, where I also got to meet a Canadian celebrity.
Place d’Armes and Vieux Port. Place d’Armes is located in the Old Montreal quarter where you can find the Maisonneuve monument in memory of Montreal’s founder Jacques Cartier, the Notre Dame Basilica and other beautiful architecture. From the Basilica (which is more central) we decided to walk around and make our way to the “Old Port” which is located by the St. Lawrence River.
St.Paul’s street. Busy and lively street in the Old Port with great little boutiques and restaurants (that were way out of my budget). Also you can find awesome rooftop patios which offer a nice view, and a chilled atmosphere to sip on some drinks.
Saint Laurent and Réne Lévesque Boulevard.
On Boulevard St.Laurent, you will find the string of restaurants and clubs. It’s part of Montreal’s entertainment district. The famous restaurant “Schwartz’s” is also located on St.Laurent. I had heard all about it before going to Montreal, I was told I just had to go eat there and try their famous “Montreal-style smoked meat”. We lined up for about 30 minutes before getting a table (which is very common for Schwartz’s) and finally tasted the smoked meat sandwich. I have to admit, although it was good food, it did not rock my world, but it’s just one of those popular things a city offers that you just have to try. Little trivia fact, “Schwartz’s” is in part owned by Canadian famous singer Celine Dion. From St. Laurent you can also proceed to Chinatown.
Juliette et Chocolat: This delicious restaurant has 4 locations around Montreal. It offers a wide selection of chocolaty plates like crepes and brownies, and you can choose which type of chocolate you want, from dark to Belgium to milk chocolate. All of their options are just so yummy. It’s also nicely decorated inside and the waitresses wear cute French style berets.
St. Joseph’s Oratory. Located in Mount Royal, St. Joseph’s offers a spectacular view of the city from the top.
St. Catherine’s street , this is the place to go if you want to shop, or even find a strip club.
Altitude club 737: This is where we chose to party it up, and it was a great choice. The club is located on the penthouse of the tallest building in MTL and has a killer panoramic view, and since it was summer the terrace was open to dance. Being abroad and going for drinks or clubbing is very liberating because nobody knows you , reason for which I decided to change my name to Sophia for the night and pretend to be Guyanese :p.
Montreal has a different feel than Toronto. Due to it’s history , it has a very European vibe which you can appreciate not only in the architecture but also from hearing French all around you. During my weekend there the city seemed to never sleep, there were a handful of festivals happening at the same time including the famous comedy show “Just for laughs” festival. Somehow I caught up in the parade that was taking place…