A little bit of French Canada – Montreal

At the beginning of fall, I decided to trek up north of the border to experience Montreal, Canada.  This French-Speaking city surprised me in many ways!  I wasn’t expecting Montreal to be a vibrant city full of young hipsters and deliciously bad-for-you dishes wrapped up in an appreciative art scene.  Even though it is a French-Speaking city, many locals were also fluent in English, due to the many English Courses offered in Canada.  Montreal made a great destination for a long weekend get away because it’s a little city with big attitude.  Here are a few of my favorite places!

Notre Dame MontrealBasilique Notre-Dame

Located in Old Montreal, it’s like a little piece of Europe right here in North America.  Like many other Notre-Dame cathedrals, this gorgeous church it is ordained with plenty of paintings and sculptures depicting scenes of the Christian faith.  The only difference I noticed between this church and others I’ve seen in Europe was that this one was slightly more modern and detailed with more vibrant colors and plenty of texture.

La Cour on rue Saint-Amable

There’s a tiny little pedestrian street called “Rue Saint-Amable” where many artists set up their photographs, paintings and other artisan crafts to be sold to art lovers.  But one of the coolest areas of this tiny street is an area tucked away called “La Cour” where many jewelers display their handmade goods.  The narrow passage opened up to a courtyard with a large tree growing in the middle, a nice and shady spot to escape the sun and look at intricate jewelry.

La Cour Montreal

SchwartzSchwartz Montreal

This place wasn’t even on my radar!  But after so many of my friends and locals told me to go, I just had to check it out.  Hell!  I even overheard people talking about it on the streets – Schwartz Smoked Meats!  So I couldn’t resist the temptation, and I’m glad I didn’t gloss over this important Montreal staple.  I arrived around 11 am to enjoy a smoked meat sandwich for lunch and there was already a line out the door of people just waiting to be seated!  After a long wait, I was seated at a tiny table all the way in the back.  This small hole-in-the wall had the capacity to seat maybe 50 people.  Every single seat was taken, and even though it was a ton of people crammed up in this narrow building, it was absolutely silent.  You know the food is good when everyone becomes coaxed into a silent trance.  After getting my smoked meat sandwich, I could see what the hubbub was all about.  The meat was flavorful, the rye bread was fresh and the mustard and pickle served as a perfect complement to this titan of a sandwich.

Mount Royal

To shake my meat coma from Schwartz, I checked out Mount Royal.  Mount Royal offers great views of the Montreal skyline, pristine nature, plenty of park space, and greatest of all, a graveyard!  I didn’t get a chance to check out the graveyard, but I did see what all the fuss was about.

Mont Royal

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