Friday, July 06, 2012

Montreal By Day

I had expected to be wowed by Montreal, although I am not really sure why. After a day of loving Quebec City the day before, I was underwhelmed by Montreal during the day. I felt like I was missing something about it, but then it really felt like a regular living and working city, rather than a place for tourists to grab a sense of in 24 hours.

Notre-Dame Basilica was very grand and gorgeous, with the walk up the hill towards it from the Place d'Arms Metro station, to sitting in the square taking in the gothic architectural details. But it was not as amazing as it's Paris counterpart, although I guess it's unfair to compare.

From Notre-Dame, I wondered the little streets of Old Montreal, with the cute cafes and restaurants. This was an area packed with tourists, particularly families, wandering around, and also enjoying meals at the vast array of food stops throughout.

In the morning of my day I stumbled upon the statues and sculptures of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. I also took in Dorchester Square and a lot of Rue Sainte-Catherine including the amazing and enchanting Les Boules Roses and The Village.

I actually kept stopping and checking the maps, and looking at other tourist brochures for the sights to see, because I just felt like I was missing something. Although checking the day tours offered by the hop-on-hop-off buses, I seemed to be hitting most of their named highlights.

My other researched had included travel bloggers posts (this one and this one), and a personalised recommendation for my weekend trip put together by a site called YellowLeg Travel Ninja which came about from a Twitter interaction.

Soaking in the bustle of Place Jacques Cartier, and the old world Europe feel and look of Rue Saint-Paul, it was easy to forget I had not been teleported to a section of Paris or Belgium or another such city but was still in Canada.

Getting down to the water's edge of St Lawrence River, I walked around the Quays and the Old Port. Sights like the Clock Tower and the Jacques-Cartier Bridge were here before me, below the canvas of blue sky. With the festival of Canada Day going on around me, I took a break on the grassy section of Bonsecours Basin, and people-watched for awhile.

From here I could see the Notre-Dame de-Bon-Secours Chapel and the Bonsecours Market, and completed a path to see these up close. Inside the market were permanent sellers, of touristy wares.

On the way back to the apartment for a late afternoon rest, I made my way through Victoria Square. In my wanderings from place to place, I had also managed to skirt around the Latin Quarter and Chinatown areas, which gave me a view of the different neighbourhoods around pockets of the city.

I stayed in a room in an apartment just near St Joesph's Oratory - which was stunning at night, and impressive during the day. I am sure I would not have seen this if it was not for this location of my AirBnB for the two nights, given it's distance from town. But my location was actually perfect with the use of the Metro, which was efficient and just $3 per trip. Too easy!

I feel like I am being unfair on a city that is renowned and such a metropolis - but my recommendation would be to go with another reason (like an event) in mind, and have the exploration of the city as a backdrop to this. The working and living feel to the streets would be perfect for this type of visit. I can actually imagine this being a city to move to, to set up an established lifestyle, rather than seeking any profound travel experiences....but that was just my impression!


  1. Thanks for linking my post! I hope you had fun in Montreal :)

    1. Your post was one of the ones I kept coming back to to ensure I was seeing all that I should be seeing!
      Loved the visit, and seeing the 2 Old towns in Quebec province!


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