Some wrong turns lead to the right direction.
Montreal is a very special city with mixed cultures and a romantic European vibe. Their main language is French and for one moment you would think you are in France. Montreal is one of my favorite cities I’ve visited on my third trip to Canada. Despite the strong and heavy winters, Quebecois know how to keep a warm smile.
The city has a lot to offer and for those who enjoy winter activities, this is one of the places to get your shoes dirty. As for me, most of my trip activities included an underground mall, museum visits, and culinary experiments. I landed in Montreal with no plans and one map. The best way to discover a new place is to be open to the possibilities. A wrong turn will always lead to the right direction.
The Ferris wheel at Old Port of Montreal is one of those unexpected places where you can enjoy a hot chocolate at the fireplace, or enjoy the view from above.
Most tourists prefer to come during summer but winter is a wonderful experience and it builds you up to resist cold climates. One of the many ways Canadians get to beat the weather is with their underground city that extends from block to block. One windy afternoon, we visited Place Ville Marie and our plans turned into a shopping trip. Quebecois brands are unique and elegant with a modern taste. The best part about shopping in Montreal during winter is that you can find summer clothes at a very good discount.
The mall also offers a great Barbie exhibition at Les Cours Mont-Royal. The exhibition features haute couture by leading fashion designers and many cultural inspired barbies. This is one of my favorite free things to do during Montreal and is a must visit if you love fashion and history.
Montreal streets offer great artistic inspiration as well. Plateau Mont-Royal has vibrant houses and unique coffee shops and restaurants. For brunch, we decided to try Ginkgo located at Centre-Ville de Montreal. The menu is completely in French and delightful. This was my chance to enjoy a smoothie and well-done crepe.
If you are Catholic like me you will enjoy the different cathedrals and Churches the city has to offer. During our visit, we went to Saint Joseph’s Oratory, Notre-Dame Basilica, Christ Church Cathedral and Saint Patrick’s Basilica. Most of these churches were built in the 1800s and have a gothic architecture. It is worth to pay them a visit and learn more about their history. My favorite was Notre-Dame Basilica as they have a museum inside with all the different cultural nativities.
For first time visitors, is always good to visit the Biodome and Botanical garden. I saw penguins for the first time and it was majestic. It is incredible how you can find paradise during a heavy storm outside. The Observatoire Place Ville Marie (Au Sommet) is a must visit. Think of the Empire State Building but fewer people (way less) with a more intimate environment. The views from the top are spectacular and you can go down one floor at their restaurant to enjoy a 360-degree view of the city.
The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and the Fashion Museum are great for haute couture and art aficionados. The art is very well displayed and there is a lot of cultural variety including art from South Africa, Canada, Asia and Europe.