Montreal is a French speaking city in the Canadian province of Quebec. I grew up in the northwestern section of Vermont and crossing the border in to the french speaking land of the Quebecois in Canada was always an exciting experience. It’s true what they say, that Montreal makes you feel as if you were walking the streets of downtown Paris.
Even though the province of Quebec is primarily French speaking, people also speak english. You can get by very easy without speaking french and using english in Montreal. However it is very much appreciated when you do speak french.
In an effort to preserve the French language, the citizens of Quebec have made it standard to always greet people in French first, and using english second.
Check out this interesting NPR Interview from back in 2014 where they discuss why keeping the French language alive in Quebec is important.
Without further ado, here is my perfect itinerary for spending a day in this magical city:
Start your day in Old Town Montreal. This part of town is my favorite because of its cobblestone streets, many art galleries, restaurants and proximity to the Saint Lawrence river.
If you find yourself in Montreal during the months of April to mid-October, be sure to grab breakfast at restaurant Jardin Nelson –407, place Jacques-Cartier Old Montreal, Quebec.
The interior is amazing. Old brick walls and industrial fixtures make this dining experience like no other. On Sunday’s enjoy live jazz music with brunch.
Browse the shops, art galleries and jewelry stores in Old Town.
Visit the Botanical Garden – http://espacepourlavie.ca/en Spend an afternoon by strolling through Montreal’s botanical garden. The magnificent space is great for families, couples, or even solo.
Head to St. Catherine Street for some shopping and then grab a bite to eat at Peel Pub located on nearby Rue Peel street. When in Montreal you must eat poutine. Poutine consists of french fries smothered in gravy and topped off with cheese curds. I assure it is absolutely delicious. http://peelpubmontreal.com/
Check in to your hotel at the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth located at 900 Rene Levesque Blvd. W is a luxurious accommodation. This hotel has had famous guests such as Nelson Mandela, members of the British royal family and one of its most notable guests, John Lennon and Yoko Ono who had their famous 1969 sit in during the Vietnam war. The Fairmont Queen Elizabeth is actually the largest hotel in all of Quebec.
Dinner – Jatoba 1184 Place Phillips – Asian fusion food that is elevated for a fine dining experience. This place has graced the presence of the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and has some fancy accolades to back up its awesomeness!
Enjoy a Canadians hockey game –Hockey is the official sport of Canada. Attending a hockey game is as exciting as if you were attending a European soccer game (futbol game). Fans are die hard. The Centre Bell where the Canadians play is located in central downtown. It’s very convenient to get to from any area hotel.
End the night with a few pints and maybe some dancing on Rue Crescent and Rue Saint Catherine St. Rue Crescent runs perpendicular to Rue Saint Catherine and this is the part of the city where night life is at its finest. Clubs, quiet bars, rowdy Irish bars….whatever type of scene you are into you will look no further than Rue Crescent and Rue Saint Catherine.