Is it a party destination, is it a vibrant modern city or is it a historic city? No! its Montreal.It has everything and more. Montreal is the third destination on the post series Across Canada With a Bump.
Montreal molds itself to become different things for different people. Every inch of Montreal has options for adventure, for learning, for relaxing and for enjoying a multitude of cultures.The city of Montreal is named after Mount Royal which forms an inescapable part of the panorama of the city. A lot of Montreal’s shopping, transport system is built underground and it is almost like this expansive and vibrant city moves underground come winter and is just one of the amazing aspects of this city.
We traveled to Montreal by train from Toronto and enjoyed the colors of autumn and the beauty of the Great White North, which was anything but white at that time of the year. It is difficult to cover a beautiful and vibrant city like Montreal in 2-3 days, especially if the traveler is also pregnant and needs to slow down and put up her feet once in a while. We decided to go to the tourist center downtown and then decide on an itinerary.
We booked a Grey line bus tour on the first day and hence were able to take in Montreal with other passengers who wanted to slow it down and escape the crisp autumn air i.e senior citizens. The tour gave us an idea of the city and the sights we should not miss when in Montreal. These we explored later at our own pace and time. Here are a few of my favorite spots in Montreal.
Old Montreal retains its historic charm with slate grey buildings and Victorian architecture. Exploring the streets and centers of Old Montreal is a lot of fun and has the potential to be different experiences for different travelers. Old Montreal is near the pier and is lined with many restaurants, cafes and shopping with curios and souvenirs. The restaurants have cuisines from all over the world with predominantly French and British tastes. We also found a Kashmiri restaurant tucked away in Old Montreal which served some good kababs but it was Downtown Montreal that amazed us, with awesome Indian food at Le Taj. Since I was pregnant, I craved Indian food hence we tried cuisines closer to home as much as we could.
Notre Dame Basilica
Notre Dame Basilica, I remember it as the most beautiful church I have ever seen. The light streaming in through the stained glass paintings, the arches of the church, the skylight, the intricate designs on the walls, every inch of Notre Dame is a masterpiece. I could have spent hours inside the church admiring the paintings and the structure but finally I said a prayer for my little one and we left the Basilica for there was much of Montreal that needed to be seen.
Jardin Botanique de Montreal- Botanical Garden Montreal
The botanical garden in Montreal is a masterpiece and we were in luck as the Botanical garden was hosting its annual ‘Lantern Festival’ when we visited. So it made sense that we visit the botanical garden in the evening. The Japanese and the Chinese gardens host the ‘Lantern Festival’ which is also dubbed as the Gardens of Light. Each of these lanterns are made with paper by experts and shipped to the Botanical Garden for the festival. It is a very romantic experience to be had and one that is never going to leave your memory.
The Bio Dome was originally built for the 1976 Olympic games and later renovated and rebuilt. The Biodome allows visitors to walk through four different ecosystems from the tropical to the marine to the Artic. Flora and fauna of each of these ecosystems is replicated and you can see tropical parrots, the lynx and the penguins all under one roof. You can experience the humidity of the tropics and the cold of Artic and Antartic, all in one dome. Canada has successfully replicated the wonder of this planet which by nature hosts this huge variety of life forms all under one single dome.
All material copyright of Traveling Noodles. Images credited to Razor Rasu.