Thursday's Child: Destination Montreal

Thursday, September 11, 2014

“All the kids have always known
That the emperor wears no clothes
But they bow down to him anyway
Cause it’s better than being alone.”
- from "Ready to Start", Arcade Fire

Destination: Montreal, Quebec

When we visited: August, 2014

Why to go:

There are many great reasons to visit Montreal. It's one of the most European cities in North America, the architecture is lovely, and the food is terrific. Our reason for visiting was perhaps less common - we had tickets to see one of our favourite bands, Arcade Fire, play the last concert on their Reflektor tour. 

What to see: 

Given how close we live to Montreal (five hours by train), I’m embarrassed at how long it’s been since I was last there. (To give you an idea, the second-last time I was in Montreal was for the 1976 Olympics. Ouch.)

Although we were in town only one night, we packed a lot into our visit. We admired the lovely Notre-Dame Basilica and the adjacent Place d’Armes. We walked the cobblestoned streets of Vieux-Montreal and basked in the energy of pedestrian-only Place Jacques Cartier with its restaurants, boutiques and buskers.

If you like to shop, visiting Marche Bonsecours is a must. This beautiful heritage building is home to about a dozen boutiques that specialize in products made and designed by Quebecois artisans. Whether you’re looking for art, fashion, jewelry or souvenirs, you’ll find it all here, at every price level – and you won’t find anything else like it. I’m not usually an avid shopper, but walking through the Marche Bonsecours was like walking through an art gallery.
Pre-concert family selfie
And, yes, we attended an Arcade Fire concert in Parc Jean-Drapeau. With the girls working at camp all summer, this trip was their only summer holiday, and a fun way to spend family time together. The concert was brilliant, one of the best I've been to. 

I asked my youngest daughter what her favourite song at the concert was, and she answered, aghast, “Picking just one would be sacrilegious.” As for my favourite? Probably “Normal Person”, with strong consideration to “Rebellion”, “Afterlife”, “Wake Up”, “The Suburbs” … never mind, picking just one would be sacrilegious.

Where to stay: 

Because we were in Montreal such a short time, we wanted to stay in a hotel that was close to everything. Auberge Bonaparte was a perfect choice – it was a short commute to the concert, and its location in the old city meant we could walk almost everywhere.

Where to eat: 

Montreal is known for its fine dining, but because of the nature of our visit, we only had the chance to eat casual meals. (A good reason for us to go back!) We enjoyed our meals at Café Veritas and Jardin Nelson, both in the old city, and had a wonderful three-course breakfast at our inn, included in the price.

And if I can recommend a restaurant that we didn’t eat at, Burritoville (owned by our friend Steve and two business partners) is a fabulous Mexican restaurant that’s unfortunately closed on Sundays – another good reason to go back.

I do not cheer for this hockey team

“Is anything as strange as a normal person?
Is anyone as cruel as a normal person?
Waiting after school for you
They want to know if you
If you’re normal too.
Well, are you?”

-       “Normal Person”, Arcade Fire


Marcela said...

wow! looks like a great trip! thank you for great pictures!

Jessica Lawson said...

Another wonderful collection of photos and a family trip I'm jealous of! Thanks for sharing :)

Liz That Skinny Chick Can Bake said...

It's so nice to see a current photo of your and your beautiful girls. I've never been to Montreal, though we've discussed the possibility a number of times. I'm going to bring it up again :)

Beth said...

I hope you get there, Liz. I think you'd love it!

Jemi Fraser said...

Gorgeous! My son had several hockey tournaments there - he loved it!

Choc Chip Uru @ Go Bake Yourself said...

Montreal is so beautiful, I really wanted to go on exchange there :D
Thanks for sharing your trip!

Choc Chip Uru

Barbara said...

I've never been to Montreal! I was about to go with a group several years ago, but something interfered and I had to cancel. Such a lovely city, your post was fun to see.

Monica said...

We went to Montreal and Quebec a couple of years ago and had a great time. You make me want to go back to Montreal again. Looks like a lovely trip!

Angie's Recipes said...

Such a beautiful city! Love your family selfie.

Anonymous said...

I have not been to Montreal and looking at this beautiful picture wants me go there! lovely place to see.

Gloria Baker said...

Love these pics and the church!
And love the pic of you and yours the girld are beautiful..and you too:)))

Mary @ The World Is A Book said...

Beautiful photos. Glad to see you had a great visit despite it being short. How lucky for you to be within a train ride to Montreal. I haven't been but have always wanted to visit. My favorite is your family selfie.

Inger @ Art of Natural Living said...

A number of years ago we drove through Montreal on a trip from Wisconsin to Vermont. We spent a night each in Toronto and Ottawa and I wish (even more now) that we'd had the time for a night in Montreal too. Sounds like you got a lot of fun in--perhaps you will get back sooner for another visit.

Joanne said...

Montreal is definitely on my must-visit list!

Martha@SeasideSimplicity said...

I've been there but many years ago. Love all your beautiful photos! Here's to a great week!

Pam said...

My hubby has been to Montreal many times and talks about how beautiful it is. I've been around other Canadian cities, but never Montreal, will have to change that. The Basilica is beautiful!

Andrea_TheKitchenLioness said...

Beth, the city of Montréal is one of my favorite cities in the whole world - you could not be more right about it being one of the most European cities in North America - funny, that is exactly what I always said about beautiful Montréal.
Thank you for making me feel wonderful on this rainy Saturday morning, far, far away from that wonderful place.

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