Zach and I crossed into Canada and for the first time I heard French at the border. Zach and I had read a few articles, and armed only with that information, we had heard that the French language wasn’t used like English was, that French was dying out and that the government’s ‘language police’ was really the only thing keeping it alive in businesses because they were legally obligated in businesses. However, we found that that was not the case. The vast majority of personal conversations were done in French, and we met a few people who didn’t speak English at all. Zach and I had originally planned to travel to France this summer, but we got the next-best thing in Montreal and Quebec City.
Driving into the city at night
We arrived in Montreal around 9 at night while the city was all lit up, and Zach was pleasantly surprised at the size of Montreal. We found a parking spot near Resonance, a locally owned Jazz club, where we were to meet our Couchsurfing host. We didn’t realize it was Jazz club until we arrived. It was the CD release of the owner’s band, and it was a really great show. Neither Zach or I listen to, or know much about jazz, but we really enjoyed their set! Our host bought us a shot of what he claims to be, “Canada’s finest drink.” It was a maple whiskey, and it was really delicious- sweet and smooth. After the show we stayed up late talking with our host and his girlfriend before turning in for a full day of sightseeing.
We started out our morning with breakfast at Tim Horton’s. I’m a sucker for doughnuts. It was fun to order in French, but that was just about the only “conversation” I had. While having breakfast we plotted out our plans for the day on the map.
My handsome boyfriend mapping out our day over breakfast
After breakfast we made our way to the Jean Talon Market. This market was one of the coolest markets I’ve ever been to. Everyone had such beautiful produce and plants, and all the vendors had samples of their produce sliced up and every single thing I tried was delicious and ripe to perfection.
Rows upon rows of fresh fruits and veggies
We went to the BioDome and Olympic Stadium/Tower. We walked around the facilities and into the BioDome, but it was very expensive and I think was another one of those stops that were catered more toward families. The tower was also quite expensive to go up, and being on a bit of a budget, we decided to forgo that.
I had read on Lonely Planet’s website that the Parc de Fontaine, although smaller, was really beautiful. We found our way there to sit and read for a while, and we were very disappointed. The pond wasn’t filled up yet, and the grass was overgrown, but I have seen pictures of it in peak season and it is beautiful, however, in early June it’s not really worth the stop. We did want to walk through the area anyway because our host’s girlfriend had suggested that we walk through the Plateau, a really beautiful neighborhood.
Our next stop was to Old Montreal. We wandered in specifically looking for Notre Dame. We sat in that square to read, and we were both so tired from so many late nights and early morning to fit as much into our days as possible. So, we put all of our belongings in the backpack, I looped my arm through the straps and we both used it as a pillow. That’s when you know you’re tired- two of you are napping in a public square of a foreign country that we were both excited to explore. Ha!
We only napped for about 30-45 minutes and then made our way to the the other island to the Biosphere and the Parc Jean-Drapeau which was beautiful and you got a really pretty view of the city skyline. The park was really romantic and it was really great to walk through there with Zach.
We went back to Old Montreal prepared to do some serious night-time sight-seeing, but we were sadly unable to because of a serious rainstorm. I didn’t even see it coming really, but out of no where we were drenched, so we had to hide out in a Subway. It finally subsided enough for us to grab dinner, and get to the metro so we could meet back up with Couchsurfing host.
One of the metros was all lit up at night- really beautiful
The next morning we headed out fairly early to make our way to Quebec City. We stopped back in at the Jean Talon Market to pick up some strawberries and nectarines for breakfast, which was a great idea! We both really wanted to see Habitat ’67, so that was our last stop in Montreal before making our way north.
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