The most difficult part of our travel project is the search for a suitable temporary home. 91 days is a strange amount of time, neither short- nor long-term, and it's always scary to book an apartment in a city we've never visited. So, when we luck out with a place as nice as our home in Montreal, we feel like we should share.
In the future, when we look back on our favorite culinary experiences in Montreal, we're not going to be thinking about the city's bistros or pastisseries. We won't even be remembering poutine all that fondly. No, we'll be thinking about the restaurants of Chinatown, where we ate constantly and never once had a bad meal.
One of finest colonial-era houses in Montreal is the Maison Saint-Gabriel, found in the neighborhood of Pointe Saint-Charles. Purchased in 1662 by Marguerite Bourgeoys for her congregation of nuns, this farmhouse allowed the sisters to be self-sufficient, and provided a place where they could educate community children. In 1966, the house opened its doors as a historic site.
Like most cities, Montreal can be ugly and noisy, with its constant construction, heavy traffic, plain gray skyscrapers, chain restaurants, and cloudy days. But it can also be surprisingly beautiful... and nowhere is that more apparent than around Saint-Louis Square, in the neighborhood of the Plateau.
There's nothing rich people enjoy more than lording it over the rest of us, especially when they can do so literally. Montreal began life as a provincial fur-trading village, but as it grew in wealth and prestige, the richest and most powerful members of society started to build fabulous mansions on the slopes of Mont Royal, in a neighborhood which would eventually be coined the "Golden Square Mile."
Situated around Boulevard Saint Laurent, immediately south of Little Italy, Mile End has become synonymous with Montreal's indie music scene. And bagels. And hipsters. We spent a sunny day exploring the streets of one of the city's most iconic neighborhoods.
The Quartier Latin of Paris is famous for its bohemian vibe, with students roaming cobblestone alleys in search of a cheap meal, a good book, or a café in which to while away the hours. But you don't have to fly to France if you want to experience the same atmosphere. The area around the University of Quebec at Montreal (UQAM) has a such similar feel that it's been named after its Parisian counterpart.
Found within the former Généreux public bath hall on Rue Amherst, across from the Marché Saint-Jacques, the Écomusée du Vier Monde shines a light on the working-class community of Montreal's Centre-Sud. We visited the museum, and then took a walk around the neighborhood to which it's dedicated.
If you follow St. Laurent north, past the train tracks and Rosemont Boulevard, you end up in the neighborhood of Little Italy, which has long been home to Montreal's Italian expat community. With espresso cafes, pizzerias, upscale restaurants, and pastry shops, Little Italy is a place you should visit when you're hungry, and not leave until you're stuffed as full as a cannoli.
One of the largest gay villages in the Western Hemisphere is in Montreal. A square of blocks centered around Rue St. Catherine, Le Village has provided a place of acceptance and inclusion for the city's gay community since the 1970s.