Are you looking to experience some European flair? I always am, so after doing some research about Montreal, Canada I was sold.
It was nice to make the trip up north to Canada and spend under $300 for fabulous culture, crepes, sights, festivals, and language. I never really heard much about Montreal before it becoming a destination for a professional conference (rainbow windows cover the front of the convention center). However, research led to finding that it is a hidden gem of a city. I did not expect the population to be so diverse, between the immersion of French and Asian cultures I was spellbound. You can walk down a street that feels like Paris or venture in and out of bakeries in Chinatown. Shopping is ample (in the underground city…), the food is awesome, and yes everything is in French. I do suggest brushing up a bit on your French before arriving, just basic phrases and some of the slang. Learning slang terms was the very useful and quick in a crowd. I also suggest downloading maps and planning locations ahead of time so you don’t get lost. Chances are you will, getting lost is part of the fun right?
So let’s get down to the nitty gritty in Montreal you must try poutine, which consists of fries topped with gravy and cheese curds. Depending on the restaurant you can try the poutine with pork or duck too. This personally was not my cup of tea, but worth the experience.
Also get yourself to a crepe shop or restaurant, you can have them however you like savory or sweet. You must take a walk through the cobble stone streets of Old Montreal, which is very close to the Port. There are multiple walking tours you can find online, but do not miss out on the Norte Dame Cathedral. It is totally worth the $5 to look around inside, regardless this impressive structure built in 1823 is not to be missed.
You can also plan your trip around the many festivals Montreal has to offer throughout the year. We happened to be there the last night of the lights festival which offered up awesome gourmet grilled cheeses, maple cotton candy, ice rolled maple syrup, outdoor bars, dancing, music, zip lining through the city, sledding, and many awesome light displays.
All in all? Montreal is a great destination that I never really expected to be so wonderful. It’s nice for a quick getaway with European flair without spending a fortune.