I’m back! After a hiatus spanning the past few months I have decided to come back to blogging. The real reason I was absent so far this year is because it was my last semester as an undergrad! I graduated with my BA in French and also psychology. I needed time to focus on what I was doing and being present so I took a break from It’s a Mod Life. I have to say, I am glad I did because my schedule was jam-packed, I wouldnt’ve had any time. So now I am just working on my job search and furthering my future career and hence plenty of time to blog, create, and make.
As a graduation gift to myself, I decided to bring Harry and I to Montréal. I had never been which is shocking because of the proximity of the French speaking area to me. I’ll take any chance I get to speak French (everybody in Montréal speaks English so don’t worry if you can’t speak French). With the help of one of my previous instructors, who lived in Montréal for six years, and our adventures there, I have curated Montréal 101.
Stay in an Airbnb. Montréal has so many neighborhoods and they are all charming, quaint feeling, and safe. It’s easy to get anywhere you want from any given neighborhood because of the great public transportation, see below. It’s also a great way to meet locals. We stayed in Villeray and absolutely loved it there.
Take Bixi! It’s Montréal’s bike share system and the first one in North America. It’s extensive, almost a bike station on every corner, very affordable, and probably the best way to get around the city. Montréal is very bike friendly and there are bike lanes on almost every street. It’s also just the best way to get to know a city.
Metro! The metro is very streamlined but very effective. It’s really really cheap, only about 25CAD for a weekly pass.
Cafés: The most important thing to know about Montréal is that it is a coffee city by far. There is an abundance of independent cafés. Some of our favorites were: Cafe Ferlucci, Cafe Pista, Cafe Noble, Tommy Cafe and Cafe Laure et Fils.
Bagels and smoked meat: Montréal has a large Hasidic Jew community which has made it famous for bagels and smoked meat. Please do yourself a favor and take advantage of this while visiting. The bagels are all one of a kind and beautiful.
Dining: Montréal has a really low cost of living so you can enjoy great food at a low cost. We opted to eat most breakfasts and lunches in our Airbnb to save money but also to take advantage of the charming back balcony of our Airbnb. Our favorite food was at Sparrow, L’Gros Luxe, Le Cagibi, and Venice MTL. Montréal is also very vegetarian/vegan friendly so it’s a great place to visit if you are one of those.
Montréal is the kind of city where you can just walk around a neighborhood all day and be completely content. For this reason we weren’t so concerned about making it to an attraction and a lot of the days we were there we just walked around, a lot. We did make it to the Biodôme, the Biosphère, the Fine Arts Museum, the Olympic Stadium, the Contemporary Art Museum, Mount Royal, Jarry Park, etc.
Neighborhoods to check out:
Our favorite neighborhood was Mile-End. Lots of cafes, vintage stores, book stores, and restaurants. Old Montreal, Le Plateau Mont Royal, Villeray, Little Italy, and Little Burgundy are all great neighborhoods to hang out in.
We both highly recommend this city. As Americans, Montréal has restored a lot of hope in us for what North American cities can be like and has given us energy to keep striving for better urban communities. Safe travels!