Known as the Cultural Capital of Canada, Montreal caters to everyone. The French-speaking city is home to Cirque du Soleil, Art Galleries, hockey, and poutine. Combine Montreal’s old French and modern architecture, the language, the food, and a certain je ne sais quoi. It’s no wonder thousands of people flock to the city every year. This summer I decided to visit a good friend that lives in Montreal. I was living in Vermont at the time. And the idea of spending a weekend in Montreal was far too tempting to resist. A trip to Montreal would only take me 2 hours! That’s a chance I was not going to pass up! At the time I didn’t own a car so I did what any resourceful latina would do, I investigated! The best and cheapest way for me to get there would be taking a Greyhound bus from Montpellier connecting in Burlington and then arriving in Montreal. I packed my backpack and I headed off for Canada for the weekend after a long day of work. Because I would lose 2 days because of traveling on a bus I only had a day to actually experience and enjoy the city. But that wasn’t going to stop me from seeing one of my favorite cities!
Here is a list of all of the places I visited on my day in Montreal!
1. Old Montreal
By far my favorite place in the city! Old Montreal is one of those places you imagine in fairytales. The distinct old French charm, cobblestones roads, old buildings, and narrow streets make you feel as if somehow you ended up in Europe. I like to joke around that if you want to feel like you are in Europe but don’t want to leave the Americas, Quebec is definitely the place to go!
On your day in Old Montreal, you can walk on the narrow streets, visit the many art galleries, shops, restaurants, and monuments the city offers. Make sure to visit Place Jacques-Cartier! Old Montreal is beautiful! So make sure to bring your camera, there are so many beautiful sights you don’t want to miss!
Pro Tip: Bring comfortable shoes! The cobblestones might be uncomfortable for some who choose to walk in sandals or the occasional flip- flops.
2. Notre – Dame Basilica
I’m not a Catholic (I don’t follow any religions if I am being honest) but there is something about visiting old churches that makes me feel closer to my family. On every trip I make, I try to visit a church, just to feel they are present in that trip in some sort of fashion. The Notre – Dame Basilica is located in the historic district of Old Montreal, the Basilica faces la Place d’Armes. Which should make it easy to find. The church served as the first cathedral of the Diocese of Montreal from 1821 to 1822. Now it’s a major tourist site where they offer tours to learn about this imposing and beautiful building.
3. Olympic stadium
Designed by French architect Roger Taillibert, the monument has become an international symbol for the city of Montréal. It was built in the mid-1970s as the main venue for the 1976 Summer Olympics. The stadium and Olympic Park grounds border Maisonneuve Park, which includes the Montreal Botanical Gardens. The Olympic stadium hosts the Biodome, where you can walk through replicas of four ecosystems found in the Americas.
(This is an older picture of when I visited the Olympic Stadium for the first time)
4. A walk alongside the Vieux Port de Montreal
A walk alongside the old port is a nice way to end your day. There you can enjoy the view of the river, where dozens of boats and jet skis pass you by in the summer, you will find men and women of all ages enjoying the sun before the Canadian winter arrives. You can ride the Ferris wheel and other at actions in the area. The port is a family friendly place where you will see kids running around, people walking their dogs and couples riding bikes. Amongst the hundreds of people that congregate every day, you can find vendors, where you will find everything from postcards, to jewelry to food. The old port is a great space where you can eat some ice cream and enjoy the sunset in the St Lawrence River.