After we moved back to the US from England, I told Van that it would be absolutely necessary to travel back to Europe at least once a year. But knowing that we may possibly be back living in Europe in the future, we decided that we need to explore the hemisphere that we are in! So we chose to make our first country Canada. And I wanted to visit a city as similar to a Euro feel as possible. We settled on Montreal.
Since we now live in Florida, the seasons are pretty much non-existent. We don't see a major change in the colors of the foliage. Sure, we do have some yellows and brief oranges but no real "ah it's autumn' type changes. So we were excited to experience some cool weather and see some fall colors. As our plane came int o land, we could see a vast expanse of yellow, orange and red trees! Oh and lots of rain. Rain, rain, and more rain.
We chose a really cute Airbnb (pic above) for the trip and that was just about the only planning I did. A huge departure from our Euro traveling days! But being that I am working full time and was a full time grad student (at the time of our trip) I just didn't have time to plan like I normally do. But we had three nights to explore and I knew we would figure it out. The only thing we planned on, and the rain also forced us in, was visiting the Notre Dame Basilica, which was beautiful. I expected it to be more like Notre Dame in Paris, and it did share some similarities! But it was unique in it's own right.
But the rain. We literally had THE worst weather while in Montreal. Cold, ok very cold (on the verge of snow), windy and heavy rain. We made the most of it, but the rain kept me from taking a ton of photos. Boo.
First impressions of Canada and Montreal: People were mostly very friendly. We had no issues not knowing French, as Montreal is a French speaking city. The dollar is stronger, which was a huge plus. And the food....oh my the food! Poutine anyone??
Due to the rain, we didn't take any tours. We mostly ate and drank our way through Montreal, which was perfectly fine as we met interesting people and just truly enjoyed ourselves despite the weather. Was it Euro-esque? Kinda. Not as much as I wanted it to be. Would I return? You betcha ya! And of course, as fate would have it, we had abundant sunshine on our last day!
A few of the notable places/eateries that we hit up that you should give a go if you are in Montreal:
Monsieur Restaurant + Bar - Fresh, delicious, drool worthy! I had the daily risotto and I dream of it!
Bar a Beurre - Coffee, tea and pastries to truly die for (gained many pounds here!)
Saiko Bistrot Izakaya - If you're in the mood for sushi...go here!
La Banquise- for the best late night poutine experience!!
Thoughts on Montreal?