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Well, highlights according to me. The highlights according to me that aren’t food, since I posted about that already (here), the food is ALWAYS the highlight. I really loved Montreal because it’s a small city. I always lean towards smaller cities: Austin, Granada in Spain, Barcelona. I live in a city with a population nearing (or perhaps already surpassing?) 14 million, so smaller cities are such a breath of fresh air.
When we hit a new city we walk, all day, everywhere. I have the scars on my feet from ill-chosen footwear to prove it. And wandering the neighborhoods of Montreal did not disappoint.
Old Montreal, this is where you start. Just wander, sit on a bench and people watch. Stop for a drink or lunch at Jardin Nelson. Buenos Aires is called the Paris of the South, but Old Montreal really did feel like being in the France of the new world.
No, no relation to THAT Notre-Dame, it’s Our Lady, and it’s common, and the tour guides are sick of that question. Don’t ask it. The basilica was breathtaking, and Celine Dion got married there, and anything good enough for Celine is good enough for me.
In Place d’Armes, caddy corner from the basilica, are two statues. One of a French woman holding a poodle, and another of an English man holding a pug. The man and the woman are looking angrily away from each other, while the dogs in their arms are desperate to meet, representing the English and French populations of Quebec. I don’t have any photos because at that point I had HAD it and was tired, I apologize, poor footwear. But there are photos here.
One morning we just wandered the Plateau neighborhood. It’s a beautiful neighborhood and a good way to see Montreal without feeling surrounded by throngs of tourists. I loved the homes with their exterior wrought-iron staircases, designed to save space inside. The neighborhood is full of cute cafes and shops, so it’s best to just get lost in it all.
Mile End was such a cool neighborhood. It was full of coffee shops, boutiques, and street art. But do I have any of that to show you? No. I do not. Why? Because the neighborhood is also home to two of the city’s most famous bagel shops. And I was blinded by the bagel. I went in for the kill and left my camera to the side. So while you should go and enjoy all the neighborhood has to offer, all I have to offer you myself is this photo of bagels:
Mount Royal Park
Nearby is Mount Royal Park, worth a visit. It was designed by the same designer as New York’s Central Park but feels completely different.
You can walk up the mountain on a number of trails under tunnels of trees to the top, where there’s a large promenade to enjoy a panoramic view of the city.
That’s right, the squirrels! I’ve never seen squirrels so daring, so unafraid, so bold. Ok, I’m done now. But really, they weren’t afraid of people AT ALL. They would run right up to us demanding to be fed.
The Illuminated Crowd
Located downtown (1981 McGill College Avenue), this polyester resins sculpture by Raymond Mason is of a crowd of 65 people and gets quite dark. The front line is filled with onlookers pressed tightly together, a bit grotesque.
The crowd and mood gets darker and more desperate the further back you go in the sculpture.
Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral
Also downtown, the cathedral was modeled after St. Peter’s in Rome. It’s not quite as awe inspiring as it’s Roman counterpart it is very beautiful.
There’s so much delicious food in Montreal: poutine, smoked meat sandwiches, bagels…click here for where.
There’s so much more to see, but when I think back about my trip these are the things that stick out in my mind. These were my favorite stops and neighborhoods.