Montreal is one of those cities that is pretty darn impossible not to like.
I visited for the first time in 2007, found myself there on family vacation for the first couple days in July and—funny enough—am back right now, currently signing in 450 college students (and 73 lifelong learners) so we can set sail across the Atlantic sometime this evening. (Irene, please divert thine wrath!)
The first time I was here was a drastically different experience: Even though I was a working professional in New York at the time, I stayed with my friend in a student flat and saw much more of the party and university lifestyle. During our visit this July, 15 of us stayed in high style at the Hotel Omni Mont-Royal, we ate good food and drank good drinks, we experienced our first Canada Day celebration (that part was a letdown) and we got a taste of the jazz festival.
And! After all these years of Ali’s brainwashing, I finally got my first taste of Tim Hortons (verdict: delicious!).
Also, I got to meet some of my very favorite travel bloggers: the darling Mina and Alex of Sending Postcards and the eponymous Ken Kaminesky, whose photographs blow me away on a daily basis.
We moseyed about the city, nibbling on poutine and indulging in ice cream and, more than anything, enjoying the summer weather that we never had in San Francisco. (Sundresses and short sleeves in July? Unheard of!)
In my mind, the architecture of Montreal is one of its finest attributes.
Sometimes I wish I knew more about design and architecture, while other times I think it’s a blessing not to know a thing and just to be able to enjoy something for its simplistic beauty.
I love the Frenchness of this city: how it’s the spoken and written language, how many people don’t speak English, how I have to stumble over basic French phrases that I barely recall from sixth grade when our last exchange student from France, France-Lise, left—simply to be understood. And most of all how, unlike in France, nobody rolls an eye or casts a scowl at my poor attempt at their language!
This time around—as in from yesterday through today—we’ve only had 24 hours in Montreal, many of which I’ve had to work; however, a few of my lovely Semester at Sea co-workers and I took advantage of that saying “the calm before the storm” and stole away for dinner in the Old Town last night before the “first day of school” madness began today.
I have to say that being docked in the port, those of us on the M/V Explorer probably have the best view in town!
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How exciting, lucky you 🙂 Happy travels!
As always, your photography is stunning. Do you special-order billowy white clouds where ever you go?????
Hahaha! It’s a nice effect for photography, not so nice when those billowy white clouds open up and pour on you when you’re walking around the city and 20 minutes away from the ship, with no jacket or umbrella (as happened yesterday!).
Great photos as always! I’m hoping my travels will bring me to Montreal sooner or later. I’ve had opportunities to go there in the past but always had a reason why I couldn’t make it.
It looks like a great place to start your next adventure. Bon voyage!
I’m sure that opportunity will circle back around soon 😉
Thank you for posting such beautiful pictures of my hometown!! I now live in Tokyo, but I dearly miss Montreal- this was an amazing post, and I also love Mina and Alex 🙂
From one beautiful city to the next! I’m looking forward to visiting Tokyo for the first time this fall. I’ve never before been to Japan!
Oh, please get in touch if you come to Tokyo, I’ll show you my favourite sights!! xo
As usual, I love your photos! And I am even more excited to hear that you will be traveling @ the world this fall!! So cool! Can’t wait to hear all about it!
I’ve heard that Montreal is like Paris but without the tourists or snippy French people. Looks like I need to add it to my “must visit” list!
Unbelievable photos – I was especially taken with the sunglasses one – who thinks to do those kinds of things. Haven’t been back to Montreal since my honeymoon there so very long ago . . . all I remember is tons of cigarette smoke and a bad chocolate mousse which had me winding up in the hospital with food poisoning . . . perhaps I’ll get over my negative memories and make it back there with my guys.
Awww… can’t believe you’re there without me!
Montreal is definitely on our list. We are hoping to get a baby free trip up there next summer when we drop our son off at “grandma camp.” Your photos (and words) just inspired me to hold on to that dream! Thank you. I’ve needed it.
Sigh, gorgeous!! It’s added to The List. I really hope your sailing goes off without a hitch!
I’ve been dying to see Montreal someday, and your post just whets the appetite further! Have a great adventure on the high seas!
It was so nice to meet you. I hope we run into each other again soon!
I’ve met many delightful people this summer from Montreal. All I can say “Je ne parle vous Francais.” Yet most speak a bit of English and we make it work. Nice to see this beautiful city through your eyes. Glad you got to run away before school starts. When do you leave the port?
I am ashamed to admit….I’ve never been to Canada. But I very much WANT to go, and this post makes that want even stronger!
I hadn’t been to Canada until four years ago either, and now I’ve been a half dozen times! You’re not too far away either–get on it, Molly!
I know! I know! I’m on it, I’m on it! Canada, here I come! (Eventually….) (Sigh….)
I love Montreal, especially the Old Port. We did the Frommers’ walking tour there (despite the rain, and despite Frommers saying, “Don’t do the tour in the rain”) and loved it as well. Add a meal at Au Pied du Cochon for a perfect visit!
Gorgeous photos, Kristin! I especially like the close-up of your sunglasses, the image captured in the reflection looks great.
Thanks, Sara! Scott and I have a bit of an obsession with reflections so we tend to take a whole lot of shots in one another’s sunglasses 😉
I love that you got to meet Ken, he’s so fabulous!!! And I’d love to meet Mine and Alex one day! Great pics. 🙂
He is! He’s got such piercing blue eyes–just like in his Twitter handle =) He and SVV totally hit it off.
Ooh, I’m digging the photo of pretty architecture in your pretty sunglasses. I’ll have to put Montreal on my “to visit” list!
If–and when–you ever move back to North America, you and Rodolfo have a lifetime worth of travels to look forward to on this continent alone!
Ahhh, Montreal. I really need to return one day when I have more on the agenda than “DRINK ALCOHOL SINCE I AM OF LEGAL AGE IN CANADA.”
I was a real cultural explorer back at 18.
HAHA. That was my approach to living in Edinburgh when I was 20, so you’re not alone…then I moved back to the States and had TWO MONTHS until my 21st birthday. Two very painful months where I was stuck at home while my 21-year-old friends did bar tours of Knoxville!
I love that you did a Photo Friday about THIS city now. Being only 3 hours from Montreal, we’ve been saying for two years now that we need to take a trip to explore Montreal. (And if this hurricane shit comes to pass, it may be sooner than planned!) Looks like a gorgeous city, I’m more excited than ever to see what it has to offer!
THREE HOURS? And you haven’t been already? For shame, Steph! I’m only sad we had just a few hours this time around and couldn’t call you to force–erm, ask–you and Kyle to meet us up there!
(IT WILL HAPPEN.)
It’s the wonderful and terrible thing about where we live. On one hand, we’re about 3 hours from everything–3 hours from the city, 3 hours from Boston, 3 hours from Montreal, 3 hours from Providence–so we have so very many wonderful cities available to us. But at the same time, it makes it shameful when we realize that we’ve BEEN so few of those wonderful places! It’s something we’re trying to work on, I promise you!
(And a kickass tour guide would certainly make it more fun. Just saying.)
I’ve only been there once, for a few days, but LOVED the city. I actually applied to McGill University there, and the University of Victoria and just hoped the best one would answer me first. I made a good life here in Vic but I can’t help but wonder what it would have been like in Montreal.
i love canada! I want to go to Montreal so bad!
Ahhhh! you make me feel homesick with your text and pics. 🙂 Nice shots, thanks for sharing!
I love the vibe of my town even though I’m far away, and love when a new person discover and like it too.