It still amazes me how Canada is many countries rolled into one. The huge metropolitan cities partnered with the incomparable beauty of the west, patch worked together with the European like french speaking Quebec.It is indeed a unique country, which is a big part of its attraction.
After being in Canada for over a year and having done my fair share of travelling, it was a small regret of mine that I had somehow managed to not get up to Quebec, in particular, Montreal. Therefore I was very pleasantly surprised to find that Montreal was where my boyfriend (Kieron) would be taking me on my birthday. Yes, the boy did good.
Here are some of the things we got up to and a shortlist of things that I think would be worth your while.
1. Old Montreal
Old Montreal was a pleasure to walk around. The cobbled streets and beautiful 17th century architecture would not have been out of place in Venice or Paris and it is especially beautiful at night. There are also lots of little back alleys, which are home to some trendy bars. We stayed ages in one called Taverne Gaspar. There I tried my first Sparkling Sangria and then my second one and then my third. The food was delicious and all though the whole shebang set us back nearly $160 it was a definite highlight of the trip.
2. Notre-Dame Basilica
Notre-Dame Basilica is a spectacular church and popular tourist attraction. It was quite surreal being in a building in a fairly new country that gave off the appearance that it could have been built in the same era as the Notre Dame in Paris. The amount of detail in every tile and piece of woodwork was astonishing. Entry was $5 each and well worth it.
3. Château Ramezay
About 10 minute walk from Notre-Dame Basilica you can find Château Ramezay Museum. An old 18th century governors house. Château Ramezay houses many historically interesting pieces, such as the first licensed plated car in Quebec, which reads Q1. You can also find out a lot about the daily lives of ordinary men and women back in the day including fashion, laws and family life back in the day.
We also got to make our own bread in the old school way. We even churned our own butter. Entry to Château Ramezay will set you back $8 for adults and is not a must unless you are a bit of a history nerd.
4. Casino Montreal
The Casino is an absolute must. After visiting casinos in Niagara Falls, Casino Montreal definitely took the biscuit. It is a bit out of the way, so I would recommend getting a taxi. When I entered Casino Montreal I felt like I was James Bond after swaggering into Casino Royal but without any of the money and even less skill. There was an amazing live band and bars on every floor. You could literally spend a day there and have it pass like an hour, so be careful but mainly have fun!
5. Museum Biosphere
We set off for the Biospere with four maps and ended up at the Biodome. After lots of snow ball fights and a bit of “ou e la biosphere” we arrived at the actual Biosphere. After seeing the Biosphere’s incredible metal structure in a guide book when I was back in England, I knew I would have to see it in real life. Entry is $12 for adults. We got the chance to undertake scientific experiments as well attend lectures on sustainable living
6. Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal
We just about managed to catch the Beat Nation exhibition at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal in downtown Montreal. We were in a rush as we had 45 mintues to see everything. The exhibition incorporated first nations art with hip hop culture and music. The fusion worked well and it was nice to see a fresh representation of the first nations people as opposed to just in history museums.
So, that’s my list. On another note I also tried poutine (chips and gravy to the English) for the first time in Montreal and it was amazing.
Montreal gives off the vibe of a young, laid back and fun city. I never got passed how easily people could switch from English to French. When a homeless guy asked us for money in French and simply and fluently changed to English for his audience Kieron stated, ‘Montreal, where even the homeless people speak more languages than me.’
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