I first traveled to Montreal for a french language immersion course. Two weeks – live with a family, diner together, and classes four hours a day. The allure of a different place, community and culture has always fascinated me. Speaking fluent french; forever a dream! When I arrived in Montreal at my destination I suddenly felt a sense of doom and anxiety. What was I doing? Is this somewhere I want to live and how will I communicate. Furthermore, I had the sense I should have accomplished this in college or in my twenty’s not at the age of thirty. I was shy, scared and overwhelmed. It eventually all came together and I spent many mornings at a cafe sipping large “bowls” of cappuccino and treating myself to buttery croissants. Who knew studying french verbs could be so fun!
My daughter and I recently travelled to Montreal as she had decided to tour McGill University. Upon arriving at our hotel I had the same feeling of dread as if I was thirty again and this was my journey. Like so many years ago, as we arrived at our hotel it certainly was not what I had pictured from the website and the area looked a little uncertain to me. Or was it the uneasiness of this mission…to entertain the idea of my youngest in college. Making my husband and I empty nesters. How can that possibly be and how can I possibly stop it from happening?
After settling in it was time to enrich our lives and delve into the vibrant city of Montreal.
The Museum of Fine Arts was only a few blocks away and we decided to check out the current exhibit – Chagall: Color and Music running until June 11, 2017.
For any first time visitor or someone returning to Montreal the top of my list of “things to do” is to indulge in Poutine at least once. We decided to try La Banquise because, just for starters it’s open 24 hours, and it offers more than 30 types of poutine. Labeled as fast food but with plenty of tables to sit in and consider what you will order. For us we enjoyed 1 classique and 1 vegan. This poutine did not disappoint and was well worth the $15 cab ride from Old Montreal!
Walking around Old Montreal in spring time is beautiful and on an early morning in May not overly crowded. You can stroll the narrow cobblestone streets, stop in a cafe for coffee and a sweet treat. Walk along the St. Lawrence River, visit the Science Museum and gaze inside the beautiful Notre Dame Basilica!
Montreal is proud, spirited and even a little gritty. The people are genuine and welcoming. There is a vibe in Montreal that I don’t think I have experienced elsewhere.
Fun fact: Check out McGill Flood Girl on YouTube and you won’t be disappointed!