Travel Retrospective: Montreal Highlights

Travel Retrospective: Weekend Trip to Montreal - Sweet and Savoring

I loved the design of these metro stop signs!

One of the nice things about living in the Northeastern U.S. is the proximity to so many large cities. Boston, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., and of course, NYC, are all a relatively short train ride away. What’s more, great foreign cities are also a train ride away: in Canada! One of my favorite cities in North America (with New York and San Francisco coming first and second, of course) is Montreal. Characteristics like great architecture and design, clever street art, friendly locals, and that almost-European feel to the city are what makes Montreal such a fantastic travel destination.

Travel Retrospective: Aesthetically Pleasing Montreal - Sweet and Savoring

Any city that makes you feel like you’re in a Tim Burton film automatically gets some brownie points.

I used to drive or take the train up to Montreal quite often, but unfortunately at this point it’s been nearly six years since my last visit. I’d love to return sometime soon– there’s so much more to explore (plus, I’d have a nicer, newer camera).

Travel Retrospective: Montreal Highlights - Sweet and Savoring

View of Montreal from the top of Mount Royal. So rewarding!

When I took the train up to Montreal in August of 2008, I had no agenda other than enjoying a few days by myself and trying to clear my head. I don’t think I even did any research before departing, other than booking my hostel stay. And aren’t those trips often the best kind? Days filled with lots of wandering, unsure of what you’ll stumble onto next, a completely open schedule to do as you please.

I hope you enjoy this random smattering of images from my last Montreal trip. (Another reason to go back: I have no documentation of what I ate there!)

Travel Retrospective: Montreal Highlights - Sweet and Savoring

Does anyone else take pictures of ordinarily boring sights like mailboxes when in another country?

Travel Retrospective: Montreal Highlights - Sweet and Savoring

On McGill University campus: recycling bins! Here in the U.S. we’ve been slower than the rest of the world with public recycling containers. Back in 2008, I was happy to see these.

You know I can’t visit a city without capturing it’s street art:

Travel Retrospective: Montreal Highlights - Sweet and Savoring

Gnomes at work?

Travel Retrospective: Montreal Highlights - Sweet and Savoring

Yes! Old school animation street art!

Travel Retrospective: Montreal Highlights - Sweet and Savoring

Betty Boop sitting pretty.

Travel Retrospective: Montreal Highlights - Sweet and Savoring

Some of my favorite chalk art I’ve ever come across.

Travel Retrospective: Montreal Highlights - Sweet and Savoring

Who doesn’t need to be reminded of this?

Travel Retrospective: Montreal Highlights - Sweet and Savoring

“AIDS will disappear one day. In the meantime, we have the opportunity to learn and grow. And we must.”

And two favorite signs:

Travel Retrospective: Montreal Highlights - Sweet and Savoring

Translation: I am small but I know kung-fu.

Travel Retrospective: Montreal Highlights - Sweet and Savoring

Walking too close to cars *will* mean random sludge falls on your head.

Then there was this really wonderful building that I happened upon when the light was just perfect…

Travel Retrospective: Montreal Highlights - Sweet and Savoring

Pretty nice from outside, especially with that quirky fountain…

Travel Retrospective: Montreal Highlights - Sweet and Savoring

But then I realized you go could inside and oh my goodness! A whole building that acts as a colorful-light-box-mood-lifter!

Travel Retrospective: Montreal Highlights - Sweet and Savoring

View from inside Palais des congrès de Montréal, a convention center that has since undergone a massive expansion.

Travel Retrospective: Montreal Highlights - Sweet and Savoring

Never forget to look below you: you never know when you’re missing out on a great persective :)

Speaking of light, late afternoon was the perfect time to wander around the Old Port, or Vieux-Port de Montréal. I explored the waterside and gazed at the boats on the St. Lawrence River. Water seems to be a recurring theme: every city or place I love has a river or other body of water adjacent to it. Gee, could the fact that I grew up on an island have anything to do with that? :)

Travel Retrospective: Montreal Highlights - Sweet and Savoring

The historic Bonsecours Market in Old Montreal. Gorgeous Renaissance Revival architecture.

Travel Retrospective: Montreal Highlights - Sweet and Savoring

Along the Bassin Bonsecours

Travel Retrospective: Montreal Highlights - Sweet and Savoring

The historic Old Port stretches for two miles along the St. Lawrence River

Travel Retrospective: Montreal Highlights - Sweet and Savoring

How nice it would have been to hop aboard that boat! (Seen in the background: the former Expo 67 American Pavilion, from the 1967 World’s Fair, now known as the Montreal Biosphere)

If you’d like to learn more about Montreal, I urge you to check out A Montrealer Abroad, written by a local who clearly loves her city.

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday, friends, and as always, thank you so much for stopping by!

 

*

Walkers are ‘practitioners of the city,’ for the city is made to be walked. A city is a language, a repository of possibilities, and walking is the act of speaking that language, of selecting from those possibilities. Just as language limits what can be said, architecture limits where one can walk, but the walker invents other ways to go.    –Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust: A History of Walking

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58 Responses to “Travel Retrospective: Montreal Highlights”

  1. Hanan February 2, 2014 at 3:52 pm #

    Love all the street art! What a beautiful city!

    • Christy February 2, 2014 at 4:51 pm #

      Thanks, Hannah! I loved it too and can’t wait to discover more.

  2. Mitch February 2, 2014 at 4:09 pm #

    We took our son to visit Montreal for Labor Day week in August on 2012. We absolutely loved it! What a great city with so many sites! And we got to go into the Olympic pavilion, that was a highlight for me. BTW, I am so old, I did visit the 67 Worlds Fair with my parents
    Mitch
    Mitch recently posted…@Staples Awesome New Space Saver Shredder! #StyleYourSpace @RS_LifestylersMy Profile

    • Christy February 2, 2014 at 4:59 pm #

      There are so many sites that I still need to see, which is why I should plan another trip soon! (and haha, I like that I post stuff that people of all ages can relate to ;)

  3. Lisa February 2, 2014 at 4:42 pm #

    Great post! I love Montreal too (or else I wouldn’t have spent 7 awesome years there). It has so many cool and random things to do. You should definitely try to visit more often (although I would stick with the summer/fall months, otherwise the cold and the snow make visiting slightly more difficult)

    • Christy February 2, 2014 at 10:41 pm #

      Hey, Lisa! I can’t wait to explore Montreal more, when the chance arises. I did visit once or twice during the winter, and while it wasn’t *too* bad, I will always prefer warmer weather, for sure.

  4. Debra February 2, 2014 at 5:16 pm #

    Montreal is such a beautiful city and I love how it combines the old (French) with the modern (English). I take pictures of mailboxes & interesting street signs in other countries too, they can be quite amusing!
    Debra recently posted…Get In the Game With Mohawk Flooring #ShowMoLove Puppy Bowl XMy Profile

    • Christy February 2, 2014 at 10:43 pm #

      Exactly- there’s so much charm and character, but it feels so vibrant at the same time. Thanks for your comment, Debra!

  5. Brandy February 2, 2014 at 5:40 pm #

    I have never been outside of the United States, ever. In my 32 years of life. I would love to visit Montreal, looks pretty!

    • Christy February 2, 2014 at 10:45 pm #

      It is *so* pretty. I hope you get the chance to travel, it’s the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done!

  6. Robin (Masshole Mommy) February 2, 2014 at 6:46 pm #

    I haven’t been to Montreal in YEARS. This makes me want to go back again soon. I think I am going to have to look into that….

    • Christy February 2, 2014 at 10:47 pm #

      Yes, do look into it- it’s so close!

  7. Amy Desrosiers February 2, 2014 at 7:39 pm #

    I think it is do cool that they have recycling bins everywhere! Maybe someday I can visit Canada and see all these cool thing first hand.
    Amy Desrosiers recently posted…Enjoying the Big Game Day with CVS Gold Emblem Party Must Haves #BigGameDay #CVSMy Profile

    • Christy February 3, 2014 at 1:18 am #

      I’m glad the U.S. is catching up, sort of. Next step is eliminating single-use plastic bags everywhere!

  8. Tamara February 2, 2014 at 7:54 pm #

    I don’t know how I could have missed that rainbow light building! I’d have a field day there with my camera. Maybe it wasn’t built yet when I last went. I visited when I was 16 with my aunt and had a blast. It was summer. Then I went again when I was 20 or so with a boyfriend and it was frigid January. I’ll never forget that cold!!

    • Christy February 3, 2014 at 1:23 am #

      Yes, I’d love to see what you create with your camera and the Palais des Congres! And man…cold weather can really do you in, especially when you travel somewhere and just aren’t prepared for it.

  9. Kecia February 2, 2014 at 10:59 pm #

    There are so many cities in the northeast I want to visit. I love their street art in Montreal!

    • Christy February 3, 2014 at 1:32 am #

      I admit, I’ve spent more time in foreign places that some of the cities I mentioned here. Boston is only 3 hours away, but I’ve never actually spent a full day there! Need to change that in the near future.

  10. Melissa February 2, 2014 at 11:37 pm #

    What a fun experience and I LOVE your pictures. I would love to visit.

    • Christy February 3, 2014 at 1:34 am #

      Thanks Melissa! I feel like Montreal is often overlooked for some reason, so I’m happy to give it some exposure :)

  11. Rosey February 2, 2014 at 11:50 pm #

    Having a nicer, newer camera IS the perfect excuse to go. :) The pictures you have up here are awesome.

  12. Alesha @ Full Time Mama February 3, 2014 at 12:20 am #

    I’ve never been to Canada, and the furthest East I’ve gone in the US is Missouri. I’ve always wanted to go, however, and your photos make me want to go even more. You got some great shots!
    Alesha @ Full Time Mama recently posted…Recipe: Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Soup with Crispy Tortilla StripsMy Profile

    • Christy February 3, 2014 at 10:52 am #

      Oh, you’re so sweet, Alesha! I haven’t explored enough of the middle of the country, myself. Hopefully that’ll change soon!

  13. katherine February 3, 2014 at 2:59 am #

    I used to speak French and I’ve always wanted to go there!

    • Christy February 3, 2014 at 10:57 am #

      That’s one of the things I love that gives it to the European feel- Montreal has its Francophile culture…but my own French is abysmal ;) Everyone speaks English, too, though, which is nice.

  14. Liz @ I Heart Vegetables February 3, 2014 at 7:40 am #

    I’ve actually never been to Canada but I really want to see Montreal and Toronto! There is just so much to see :)

    • Christy February 3, 2014 at 11:01 am #

      I’d almost venture to say ‘too much to see’! I was just showing Andy how relatively close Toronto is to NY, because it’d be so nice to visit there as well. My mind never stops reaching for that next destination!

  15. Onica {MommyFactor} February 3, 2014 at 8:59 am #

    Ok I like the Gnomes at work sign. LOL. I heard Montreal is alovely city and your photos really capture some of that.

    • Christy February 3, 2014 at 7:53 pm #

      It made giggle to myself when I found it! Thanks for your nice words :)

  16. Jennifer February 3, 2014 at 9:37 am #

    I’ve never been to Montreal but I follow a friend on Instagram that lives there. I’ve actually seen a few photos in her feed that you’ve shared!

  17. Emily Smith // The Best of this Life February 3, 2014 at 10:37 am #

    Such a great write up of one of my favourite cities!! Love the photography too – you really get a feel for the city. Old Port is such a great hang out – from walking around to dance/lounge clubs.

    • Christy February 11, 2014 at 1:59 am #

      Glad you liked it, Emily, and thanks for your sweet compliements!

  18. Shana Norris February 3, 2014 at 11:40 am #

    I’ve never been, but have heard great things about it. I didn’t realize you were so close. How nice! I’ve always imagined that the city would have a great European feel. My husband *always* photographs street art when we’re visiting a new city. It really can be amazing.

    • Christy February 11, 2014 at 2:01 am #

      A city’s street art can tell you so much about its people and politics! And yes, the European feel is really what drew me back time after time.

  19. A Montrealer Abroad (@marievallieres) February 3, 2014 at 11:44 am #

    Thank you so much for the shout out!

    • Christy February 3, 2014 at 7:50 pm #

      My pleasure, Marie!

  20. Christa Sterken February 3, 2014 at 12:49 pm #

    Thank you for the walking tour, I am sharing these today. As more of an armchair traveler by necessity, I always SO appreciate seeing the larger world around me :)

    • Christy February 15, 2014 at 11:43 pm #

      You’re welcome, Christa, and thank you!!

  21. Cassie @ Southeast by Midwest February 3, 2014 at 2:51 pm #

    Wow that building looks GORGEOUS. I’d love to go visit Canada one day and those pictures are making me want to choose Montreal as the destination because wow that’s just beautiful. And the signs are funny lol
    Cassie @ Southeast by Midwest recently posted…OPI Cajun Shrimp Swatches, Photos, and ReviewMy Profile

    • Christy February 15, 2014 at 11:44 pm #

      Admittedly I’m biased because I’ve been there several times, but do it! Explore Montreal! :)

  22. Melinda@LookWhatMomFound...andDadtoo February 3, 2014 at 3:14 pm #

    I’ve always wanted to go to Montreal. I love the mix of old, new, contemporary and vintage.

    • Christy February 11, 2014 at 1:55 am #

      I hope you get the chance to visit someday, Melinda!

  23. Eliz Frank February 3, 2014 at 5:47 pm #

    Montreal is one of my favorite cities and although I’ve been to a few places in Canada, I need to find my way there… Your pictures are stunning
    Eliz

    • Christy February 15, 2014 at 11:46 pm #

      Thank you, Eliz. I’d love to explore more of Canada, myself.

  24. Lisa Thompson February 3, 2014 at 6:27 pm #

    I’m not sure if I’ve ever been to Montreal or not. Your pictures were lovely and it made me want to check out Montreal.
    Lisa Thompson recently posted…100 Days of School T-Shirt You Can Wear Year RoundMy Profile

  25. Amy @ Marvelous Mommy February 3, 2014 at 7:05 pm #

    Beautiful photos! I can’t wait to travel this year with my new camera! Now I want to visit Montreal!
    Amy @ Marvelous Mommy recently posted…10 Valentine’s Day DIY ProjectsMy Profile

    • Christy February 11, 2014 at 2:06 am #

      Doesn’t a new camera make everything so much more exciting? Hope you have some memorable adventures this year!

  26. Deb Rothaug February 3, 2014 at 8:43 pm #

    Love that “street gnome” too, very cute! I didn’t know the Montreal Biosphere was the new name of the former American pavilion from the World’s Fair! We haven’t been to Montreal in many many years, it would be a good possibility for a mini-vacation You make places sound so much more special and interesting, how about trying Portland, Maine?

    • Christy February 11, 2014 at 2:05 am #

      I learn a lot about places I’ve been when I research them for my posts :)
      And yes, I would love to feature Portland! Thinking of doing a whole Northeast Tour sort of thing….still in the brainstorming stage!

  27. Amanda Love February 3, 2014 at 9:58 pm #

    I’ve never been to Montreal before but now you make me want to go there. I have family there but have only been as far as Ontario.
    Amanda Love recently posted…Art Explosion at Color Me MineMy Profile

    • Christy February 15, 2014 at 11:52 pm #

      If I’ve made you want to go, I think I’ve done my job :)

  28. Mike February 5, 2014 at 12:19 pm #

    Hey lovely pics you have shared. Montreal is such a beautiful place to visit at any time, but I prefer visiting during Christmas. I have visited the Bonsecours Market, now feeling a bit nostalgic.

    • Christy February 15, 2014 at 11:50 pm #

      Thank you, Mike. I’m sure Montreal is lovely around the holidays!

  29. Daphne February 13, 2014 at 9:19 pm #

    Just came back from Montreal a couple of weeks ago. Absolutely freezing there! So different from the summer. It’s such a beautiful city!:-) #SITSblogging

    • Christy February 15, 2014 at 11:49 pm #

      I can only imagine how it must be lately with this crazy winter! Thanks for stopping by, Daphne :)

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