In September last year, in the middle of Dave’s almost three months stay in Canada, we met up for a week of quality time together in Montréal. Montréal is not only the biggest city in the state of Quebec but also the second biggest in Canada. The state of Quebec is as some of you already may know a bilingual state where both English and French is spoken. Having been in Paris earlier in 2016, it was very strange to be surrounded by French speaking people again, in a very Americanized setting. Because there is something special about North America. It is just very different from Europe. Montréal as a city is quite spread out, with CBD and The Old Town being to mayor meeting points in the center. Between the two areas runs the Saint Lawrence River.
1. Mount Royal
During our weekly stay in Montréal we had great weather, around 25-ish degrees celsius every day, so obviously we spent most of our time outside. A few mornings we ran or walk up Mount Royal, a majestic hill and green area situated right next to the CBD, where we also were staying. Mount Royal not only holds the best view over the city but is perfect for a lazy Sunday walk or an ambitious evening cardio session.
Besides walking, we spent a lot of our time cycling around. One of our favorite features in Montreal is there public transport system consisting of bikes. You pay per hour or day and are then free to use the bikes around town for a maximum of 30 minutes per go, with no extra charge. A cheap and convenient way to get around, and where ever we went we found a bike station only a block away. The area around the river has long cycling paths, and some of the major roads in the centre have cyclist lanes, making your ride a bit safer.
3. Atwater Market
On our of our days cycling around we happened to stumble across an indoor (and partly outside) market. The picturesque market building offers a few deli shops, a café or two and an Arabic shop, while fruit and vegetable stalls are set up outside. A great place to come for a stroll, to get lunch or just some great snacks.
4. The Saint Lawrence River
With locks, blue water and rustic bridges, the centrally located river is a sight not to be missed. We spent quite a lot of our time chilling by the shore, running and cycling around. And we weren’t alone, Montréalers seemed to love the area as much as we did. The river takes you past both the Old Town and CBD, and much further if you wish.
5. The botanical gardens
On our first day, we visited a tourist information center to learn what we should miss during our stay. The friendly man who helped us very highly recommended a visit to the botanical gardens, and even though we were skeptical we ended up going. A visit we surely didn’t regret. Not only is the park massive, but its areas and themes vary from an insect center to a Japanese garden to a grand rose garden.
6. Old Town
The Old Town is one of the city’s major tourist attractions, but it’s definitely not one to be missed. The area holds not only cobbled streets, pretty buildings and the grand Notre Dame cathedral but also some pretty badass looking factory buildings by the waterfront. The area is best explored by foot, and if you like eating at expensive restaurants with a tourist crowd, this is where you’ll find them.
7. The food
Last but not least, we loved Montréal for its food. Traveling with a restricted diet can be tough, so we often research restaurants that offer food that is safe. For Ebba, restaurants that serve vegan food, raw food or are outspokenly gluten free are usually a safe bet, and in Montréal we happened to find lots of them. Some of our favorite spots? Crudessence on Mackay Street, that serve organic, gluten free and vegan food and the all vegan Aux Vivres.