A bit late, but it is never too late: My Montreal experience written on the 27.06.2023
tonight I will leave Montreal. I had three wonderful days here and just wanted to share my favourite experiences with you. I will start with the best! And unexpectedly, these were actually the churches. I will start with them right away.
Two churches you need to visit in Montreal
The churches in Montreal enchanted me. First, there is Notre Dame Basilica of Montreal. You need to pay like 13 CAD but it is so worth it. The first moment I looked at the altar, a wow escaped my mouth. It looked so magical and a bit mystical. The ceiling were full of painted stars, a little bit like The Great Hall. I’ve never seen a church as elaborate and artful like this, even in Italy.
The second church I visited by accident. Officially named “Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours” but more commonly known as the Sailors church. It’s a cute little chapel, with a tradition of hanging up miniatures of boats who survived a huge storm and prayed to Mary, the patron of this chapel and of the travellers. For me it was a very open, welcoming space and I lit my very first candle in a church. Humans can create such wonderful places, just because the want to. Hope’s not lost yet.
Food tips in Montreal
There are probably three types of food you have to try, and there are loads of perfect places for that. FYI, Montreal is a perfect city for a vegan. It is so easy to find a vegan place and most restaurants even offer at least one vegan dish.
Bagels: It is not New York, but the Montreal people are proud of theirs, too. I’ve been to the famous St. Viteur Bagel & Cafe. Perfect to start the day with, they have bagel sandwiches with loads of stuff and they even had vegan cream cheese 💚
Poutine is doubtlessly the Québécois dish. It’s french fries, with a sauce and a special cheese. Add as much vegetables as you want, the perfect hangover dish as well. In Poutineville I also found the option of vegan cheese. It’s kinda the national dish, so you have to try!
Maple Syrup is placed one rank higher than national dish, it’s literally a national emblem. I bought myself the very dark Maple Syrups who has a stronger taste which I got in Atwater Market a beautiful place for local food and vegetables or to eat lunch there. It is a wonderful place for food lovers, but I next time I’ll take the metro, because I’ve worn my feet off walking.
Old Montreal and Old Port
Old Montreal and Quartier de Spectacles are to super quarters to stroll around, with interactive places, old charmant buildings and the location of the old parliament building, which was burned down by a tory mob in 1849 protesting against the government reimbursing lower Canadians after the damage of the rebellion from 1837/38. Afterwards Montreals lost his capital status. Walking through Old Montreal, you will eventually end up at the Old Port which is located at the river. There are some lovely places to chill and I took the chance to sit, read, listen to music and feeling the city vibe totally. Watching beautiful humans walking around the city and the sun slowly vanishing in the urban canyons. What more can you wish for?
Plateau Mont Royal
This quarter is the perfect place for walking around, grabbing a coffee and check out all the different booths who line up in this traffic-calmed area. The Avenida Mont Royal is the street your looking for, and close-by is the Lafontaine-Park named after one of the two first PMs of the first responsible government. There is also a nice vegan coffee “Cafe Tuyo” and a chill Pub “Microbrasserie Pit Caribou” in this quarter. Moreover, the St. Virtue bagel place is also located here.
Mont Royal is perfect for a sunny day, however I was there on the rainiest day possible. I started my Montreal trip with ascending this landmark. I watched the statue honouring Cartier and then started my climb. During this hour I crossed the whole park and it started to rain cats and dogs out of nowhere. So I walked faster and faster and in the end saved myself into the Smith House. There I could get a hot tea as well as a vegan cookie. Freezing, I hurried from the Smith House to the Chalet, where I dried all my clothes thoroughly. Up there I was waiting for the clouds to disappear, and finally got a clear view over the city. I payed a short visit to the summit with his cross and descended the mountain from the other side. A cute raccoon waited there for me.
If you get the chance, definitely go to Montreal. It is a beautiful town which offers so much. But it was quite a price shock for me, especially if you come from cheaper countries like Mexico or Guatemala. Also taking the Greyhound Night bus is not recommendable. They just cancelled it without any further notice, so everybody needed to find a hotel room. At midnight… on a Friday night… with lots of festivals the next day… it was a challenge. And they did not even reimburse me for my hotel room.
Nevertheless, this could not destroy my favorite memory in Montreal, laying in the sun with a good book at the canal of the old port. Beautiful ambience!