Because of all the recent happenings in the news and in politics, there's been so much talk about how appealing Canada is. Personally, I don't know too much about our Northern neighbor. The last time I visited was when I was 8 and my parents forced me on a plane to Vancouver in the middle of winter for a reunion with family friends (definitely not my favorite memory). Since moving to New York however, I've realized that the eastern coast of Canada is only a 1-2 hour flight away, thus making it the perfect weekend getaway. So when my sister came to visit I immediately suggested we head up north to see what Montreal is all about. Here are the highlights from our trip!
The influences of Europe on this city are obvious. There were French signs and French inspired architecture everywhere. But both my sister and I felt like the cobblestoned streets of Old Town with its tiny shops reminded us of Prague the most. Take your time strolling around because there is so much to see here!
ST. JOSEPH ORATORY/ BIOSPHERE
Our two most favorite places were the St. Joseph Oratory and the Biosphere. The Oratory is simply beautiful to wander around (there is a gorgeous Journey to the Cross garden that is a definite must see) and best of all, it’s free! The Oratory and all its sites took us around 2 hours to explore so make sure you have time to wander around. The Biosphere is a museum all about the environment and is located inside a giant golf ball looking structure. If you like to learn while traveling, this museum is a good choice. It's actually located on its own separate island, but luckily there is a subway (yellow line) to take you there.
PARC DU MONT ROYAL
All the guide books said that hiking up to the top of Parc du Mont Royal to observe the view is a must and I can tell you from personal experience, the view is gorgeous! Tip- if hiking is not for you, there are a few buses that will drop you off close to the peak and you can just walk along a path for about 10 minutes instead of hiking for 45 minutes.
NOTRE DAME CATHEDRAL
While the Montreal Notre Dame is not as magnificent as the Paris one, it’s still worth a visit. The outside facade appears to be an exact replica of the one in Paris and the inside is breathtaking as well. Make sure you bring cash as the $6 entrance fee is cash only. Bonus- we went during an organ concert and had the opportunity to hear their organist play several classical pieces.
What is a trip to Montreal without stopping by their famous Chinatown? Chinatown is located within walking distance of the Notre Dame so its the perfect place to stop for a quick snack or lunch after touring the Cathedral. It was not as big as I thought it would be (just a few streets), but it was packed with delicious Asian bakeries, tiny restaurants, and tons of pedestrians. Look how cute these Keroppi matcha buns are!
Have you guys been to Montreal? What was your favorite thing?