Last week I posed highlights from our 48 hours in beautiful Ottawa, Ontario during a long weekend adventure. Within our time in Ottawa we took a day excursion to Montreal where we went to a Canadian’s game and briefly explored this stunning city prior to making our way back to the capital.
After debating bus, train, or car to get the two or so hours to Montreal, we’d settled on the train based on ease, timing, reviews, and price. In my previous post I’d documented my mistake of confusing Ottawa Central with the Ottawa Train Station. In short, after walking in the cold for twenty minutes to the Ottawa Central, which I’d thought was the train station I realized my mistake only after we’d arrived and there was no train tracks in sight. Thankfully, we had arrived early enough to grab an Uber and make it to the correct station with minimal stress involved. The train station in Montreal is ideally located near downtown so it an easy ten minute walk to our LHotel. You could tell our cute little hotel was old, however it had a unique atmosphere with diverse art covering every available inch on the walls, and our room had huge vaulted ceilings adding a novel aspect to that space as well. We loved the hotel in general, reminding us of a less updated Le Méridien Vienna.
Once we’d dropped off our bags at the hotel, we hurried around the corner to a grab a bite to eat before the game. We’d heard such wonderful things about Montreal’s food scene, however we did not plan adequately enough ahead of time to make reservations at any of the restaurants we had been eyeing and they were all full. The food at Emiliano’s was good and convenient because it was right by our hotel, especially considering we were running close to game time.
We decided to walk to the game in order to see more of the city, and Centre Bell was only twenty minutes from our hotel. Not long after setting out on our walk, we could tell most people walking with us were headed in the same direction for the game. The game itself was fantastic, with one of the best overall atmospheres Luke and I have encountered at a sporting event. Sure, we love our hometown Red Wings and will always tout their Hockey Town USA nickname, however the Canadians’ energy was contagious to say the least. I’m an sports fan in general, with hockey probably being one of my least favorite sports to watch on the TV, but we had a blast watching the Canadians live. The Habs even had one of the Wing’s old players Tatar on their squad! It was definitely a different experience hearing everything announced in French first before the English translation following. I’d always known French was spoken in Montreal, but was surprised to hear how universal it was throughout the city from the street signs to the menus. Overall, we had a great time at the game, especially as the Habs pulled out the win!
The next morning Luke and I got up early to explore as much as Old Montreal as we could before out train departed for Ottawa. Unfortunately, due to it being a Sunday morning and a National Holiday (Remembrance Day) several of the breakfast places we were interested in were closed. We loved Old Montreal as it felt like we could have easily been somewhere in Europe with its cobble stone streets and old architecture. We first walked to Montreal’s Notre Dame Basilica before continuing along to Montreal’s City Hall.
Once in the famous plaza, we circled the Chateau Ramezay before walking down the Jacques-Cartier Plaza to the Montreal’s Old Port. While we thoroughly enjoyed our walk, the wind experienced along the water was miserably cold. As we didn’t have hats with us to shelter our poor ears, we were eager to find shelter as we moved back inland. We ducked into an indoor shopping center where we slowly thawed out while exploring. I even bought a beautiful stocking cap because I was so thoroughly frozen. After we’d warmed up a bit we decided to take the twenty minute walk into the freezing wind to visit the Montreal’s most popular library the Grande Bibliotheque. You can read more about our visit here but it was a delightful library that was a blast exploring.
After our literary excursion, we ventured back into the cold to find some lunch. We made our way back to Jacques-Cartier Plaza where we first tried to get lunch Taverne Gaspar, unfortunately as we had not made reservations in advance the popular spot was booked. We backtracked and made our way to John Michaels Pub, which had a fantastic view overlooking the plaza and heaping portions.
As our lunch drew to a close, so did our time in Montreal. Our twenty four hours was far too short of a time in such an interesting city. We definitely plan on a near future trip (hopefully in warmer weather) where we spend more time exploring all Montreal has to offer!