Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Bon weekend à Montréal

To celebrate the long weekend, Alex and I decided to take a trip to Montreal. We’ve been to Montreal once before to see the Arcade Fire, but it was February and not exactly walking around weather, so we didn’t know very much about the city before the trip. We both really love Canada though, so we thought it would be fun and we were right.

Montreal is a really neat city. It’s super old and kind of tiny like Boston. It is unique, unlike American, European, or even other Canadian cities we’ve visited, mostly due to it strong French Canadian culture. Downtown Montreal sits to the northwest of the St. Lawrence River and southeast of Mont Royal, which is nice because it has a little something for everyone.

Most of the action takes place in Old Montreal, but there are lots of great little neighborhoods like the Quartier Latin, The Plateau, and Gay Village. Mont Royal Park is also particularly nice for views of the city and a little urban hiking, which is how we spent our Saturday morning! We also checked out the Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal and found the underground city, a place that would have been helpful when we visited in February.

We went to two great restaurants on our visit, one in Old Montreal called Modavie (on recommendation from Emily and Christopher!) and one downtown called Mesa 14 (which we just stumbled on and ended up being incredibly good Mexican.) The beers are out of this world, as expected, and everyone we met was great. The official language of Montreal is French but everyone speaks English so most conversations start off with a “Bonjour Hello!”

The best part of our trip and a definite “don’t miss” was the Biodome (no, we didn’t see Pauly Shore). Originally constructed as the cycling arena for the 1976 Olympic Games, the biodome houses 3 simulated ecosystems: tropical, North American, and polar. It was so neat. We got to see monkeys, turtles, penguins, otters, parrots, bats, and a capybara all living in harmony in their simulated natural environments (much more exciting than an abandoned cycling arena.)

All and all Montreal was a fantastic weekend trip and we both want to visit again!

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