I have a confession: for some odd reason, Montreal was never on my list of “places to visit,” until a month ago. This might seem surprising, especially since pretty much every person I’ve talked to since my trip has said that they’ve been dying to visit Montreal. Since my trip, which only consisted of a few days, I DEFINITELY encourage anyone who has the desire to visit to make their way up north–it’s worth it.
This wasn’t my first trip to Canada–living in Seattle, I make it up British Columbia on a semi-regular basis, the latest happening this past 4th of July to Gabriola Island and Nanaimo–but this was definitely my first foray into Quebec. As a result of my prior lack of interest in Montreal, pretty much everything about the city took me by surprise. It’s the second largest city in Canada and the ninth largest in North America, and for all I knew, it could have been Paris given the prominence of the French language. I loved the linguistic difference and was delighted that this city had such a clearly international tone to it, unlike that of Victoria and Vancouver (at least, in my opinion).
We stayed at the gorgeous boutique L Hotel in Old Montreal, and I highly recommend it for its charming, modern yet vintage vibe and convenient location to many nearby eateries and tourist attractions. Speaking of tourist attractions, some personal favorites include the stately Notre-Dame Basilica (told ya it felt Parisian!), Jean-Talon farmer’s market, Atwater farmer’s market, Qing Hua dumpling house, and Montreal Biodome (site of the 1976 Olympic Games) to name a few. Probably my favorites were the farmer’s markets, where the produce and food looked just as good as it tasted. Yes, I’m spoiled having Pike Place Market within walking distance of my apartment in Seattle, but the markets in Montreal give Pike Place some serious competition! If you do visit Montreal, bring your appetite and a budget, as the markets and restaurants are definitely among the top attractions in the city.
Check out some photos from my few days in Montreal below!