Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Travel Tyro: Montreal


2015 was a great year of travel and new adventures and I'm determined to keep it going in 2016 as well! For years, my friends and I have been talking about heading up to Québec for years, but have never quite gotten around to it because of things like homework, internships, work, life.;-) 
This winter break, I was determined to finally get this little dream into motion and ended up having an amazing (and extremely chilly) few days exploring in Montreal and Old Québec!

See our trip breakdown below!


Old Montreal feels far away from Boston with it's European architecture and the local preference for French. 




Christmas light still going strong in the middle of January!


The Library and Archives of Montreal


Westmount Greenhouse





Colorful stride by on the metro!



Poutine- a true Canadian staple











Travel Tyro Guide

Where: Montreal, Canada the largest city in Québec
When: Winter is perfect for seeing Christmas lights— even in the middle of January— but the locals swear Montreal is best in the summer!
Wear: I was curious if Canadians are equally obsessed with Canada Goose jackets as Bostonians.
If you wondering, yup they are. I saw quite a few many people wearing them, but after walking the streets of Montreal for a few days I can attest that Canadians need them. It wasn't that cold by Canadian standards for this time of year at around 15-20 degrees during the day, but I was freezing. So, I suggest layers, layers, layers or yes, one really nice Canada Goose jacket.

What: Stroll the streets of Old Montreal to get a dose of small cobblestoned streets, historic buildings, and one-of-a-kind boutiques with a European vibe. Be sure to check out the Notre-Dame Basilica and walk around the Jacques Cartier Square
Right down the street from our bus stop was the Library and National Archives of Québec, a beautiful building with a grand spiral staircase. 
If you're headed to Montreal in the spring/summer/fall, the Westmount Greenhouse is a must!
Unfortunately, they had just closed for the season, but some workers were coming in and out so I was  able to catch a peek! The inside looks divine. 
Wine & Dine: Café Parvis: a hidden spot behind a church with beautiful vines hanging from the ceilings. Their potato-pesto pizza was on point and my friend recommends their cocktails.
TOMMY: Located near Old Québec, the inside has a trendy, vintage-hipster feeling with a hanging surfboard in the upstairs seating, a vine intwined decorative ceiling fan, vintage tin buckets for condiments, and a charming European facade. Supposedly, Rihanna's even been there, but I'm not surprised because I had one of the best chai lattes of my life. 
NINI: My friend and I passed this restaurant while exploring and stopped in our tracks when we caught a glimpse of its all-white interior. We stepped in planning to grab a cup of coffee and instead left full of meatballs that were actually amazeballs. And you can't beat their $5 price during lunchtime!
Café Castel: I'm not even going to lie, I first discovered Café Castel on Instagram and knew I wanted to stop by for their latte art. My friend and I decided on a maple leaf and a moose since we were in Canada… well the barista misunderstood the maple leaf part but the moose came out great! The coffee wasn't too bad either.;-) 
Poutine: My friend had visited Montreal before and insisted I was going to try poutine before I left Canada. I'm not a fan of gravy, but oh my gosh these fries were scrumptous! We tried several different small joints around the city— it's everywhere! The classic is fries with cheese curds and brown gravy, but we also tries a version with shredded chicken and even saw one with lobster. 

Why: If you're looking for a slice of Europe not too far from New England, Montreal is only an eight hour bus ride away and two hour flight from Boston. The city feels big like NY, but less crowded like Boston and with a good mix of "old and new".

Tyro Tip: I hate to admit, but I had no idea the primary language in Montreal was French. I knew it would be in Old Québec, but was shocked to step off the bus to all French signs and first greetings of Bonjour. Do not fear, everyone speaks English and are often willing to help guide you in the right direction. 



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