It Gets Real in Mont Real

Enter, if you dare...

The picture above is just one of the very charming places we visited during our too-short weekend in Montreal, Canada or Mont Real as I now affectionately call it.

This post is a little overdue, not because Montreal is not worth writing about, but because I’ve been so overwhelmed with my mid-semester responsibilities. But, here we are, another place to add to the list and that I will definitely return to!

Mont Real, is a nice {re}treat if you enjoy culture, food, nightlife, sightseeing and French culture. According to WikiTravel, Montreal is unique in that its maintained its Francophone culture; it’s the second-largest city (behind Paris) that has French as it’s official language. That means that most people function in French both at work and at home, and living one hour away from this great city it took me a little while to feel like I was really in another country since I didn’t have to travel long on a plane to be surrounded by all the sexy-sounding words coming out of people’s mouths.

Don’t be dismayed if French is not your forte, most people any way involved in the tourism business (hotels, restaurants, shops) have bilingual staff, and for that we were grateful. Also, according to Wikipedia 56% of the population is able to speak both English and French. It was still nice to practice the little French I was responsible for in HS (which is none, because I cheated and took Spanish as my foreign language). I did carry a trusty little phrase book that taught me a new favorite request, L’addition, s’il vous plaît, (the bill please) and by the time we left I was saying this to anyone and anybody who would listen.

We ventured up North during an unexpected heat wave that hit the first week in October, and what a beautiful way to be greeted! Mont Real is a multi-lingual, hip, bright city full of natives, immigrants, and transplants. It was nice seeing a population that reminded me very much of the blends in New York City. The Metro system was easy to navigate, although not 24 hours like the Big Apple (NYC).

What We ATE

  • French Cuisine at Les Deux Gamins 
  • Dessert: Ice cream on Prince Arthur East

  • Thai Food at Thai Grill Mile-End, Montreal 
Crab cakes, Mmm...
  • Homemade Crepes
I get very touchy around food...

  • Foie Gras (French Delicacy)- If you missed that episode, catch up here. Or just watch the video

What We SAW

  • Olympic Stadium
  • Protest against Olympic Stadium
  • Colonial and Stately looking buildings
  • Leaning Tower

  • Chinatown
Every major City has some Gatekeepers...
  • Old Montreal

  • Convenient & Easy Bike Rentals (known as the BIXI system)
Look Mommy, I can read a map!

  • Directing our French-speaking cabbie back to our B&B
  • Finding and AMAZING Bread and Breakfast (A La Carte B&B). The only downside is that it was about a $20 cab ride away from Downtown. But the place was beautifully renovated and warm! (They have 2 suites and an apartment on the second floor, we got the opportunity to stay at both) Pictures courtesy of the website.
Juilliard Suite
Kitchen of apt
  • Metro System

What YOU should know (as an American tourist):
If you’re coming from the States, exchange rates FLUCTUATE daily. Know your stuff, download an APP on your Iphone or check the internet (or the front desk) before you leave the hotel and be assertive! During our 3-day stay, there was never more than a difference of .03 and .04 cents between the Canadian and American dollar but that didn’t stop vendors from trying to get over!

You don’t necessarily have to exchange ALL your American cash, most restaurants we went to accepted both currencies, but do be careful of their ‘in-house’ exchange rate. Don’t get got!

When you rent bikes with the BIXI, they do charge a $200 (deposit) on your card/per bike. If you bypassed or skimmed the ‘rental agreement’ at the machine, you might be shocked to check your statement hours later. They do refund the money within 7 days of the rental.

Have you ever been to Montreal? If not, is it on your Bucket List?

Until the next adventure,

It Gets Real in Mont Real

11 thoughts on “It Gets Real in Mont Real

  1. E. says:

    Great post! I loved the pictures and the humor in your Le Maison pic. Interesting that it is the second city behind Paris with French as their official language, I’m sure it must have been lovely to hear french everywhere since it is such a beautiful language. Very enjoyable read!

  2. Jessica says:

    We meet again!

    As always I love traveling vicariously through you! Why because you know how some people have a green thumb for planting you my friend have the eye for traveling (not sure what body part would work for traveling so I just went with eye lol).

    Now I have tons of family in Canada but crazy thing is, everyone has visited them and they gave even come to the states but I’ve never gone! The timing is always off-work, school, whatever. This post really just made me long to go even more ! Who knew there was Thai food in Montreal or “Mont Real” as you affectionately call it. I love the bike system the sites how beautiful almost rustic the city is. I can see myself drinking wine and saying English words with a French accent lol. Anywho I digress, next time you plan a trip to the great city, please take me with you! Xo

  3. Don says:

    Very nice photographs and entertainkng captions of your trip to Montreal. Nice-looking city.

    I’ve never been and doubt very seriously if I ever do. Wish I could though.

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