Montreal in a Day

Montreal Travel Blog

 › entry 5 of 15 › view all entries
This was the third time I've been to Montreal. The first time I was 19, rolled out of the greyhound station and hung out in the seedy part of town for a week. The second time, I went with my company and worked the entire week. This time, I went with my company again, but managed to sneak in a long day of walking around: starting from the Marriot, all the way to the top of Mont Royal, down to Old Montreal and the port, and back up to the hotel.
 
The first thing I noticed on my walk were the beautiful old buildings and the little urban parks dotted around town. Right outside my hotel was Marie-Reine-du-Monde, a picturesque cathedral with gorgeous domes. It's a 1/3 replica of St. Peter's in the Vatican. There was a park across the street to relax in.
The Montreal Cross

I like that Montreal has little spots of green all around the urban chaos, kind of like San Francisco.
 
Mont Royal
 
My first major destination was the top of Mont Royal, the big hill the city that gives the city its name. About 700 feet high, the hill serves as Montreal's largest urban park, an expanse of wooded trails and greenery right above the city.
 
Sure there's a nice paved/gravel main trail to the top, but who could resist scurrying up the side of a hill, through some lush green woods, with chipmunks and gray squirrels frolicking around you? It got a little Blair Witch at times since I was all by myself without a map (If I walk in a up direction that should get me somewhere, right?). The best part was when I was when I was all alone with nothing but trees around me, and suddenly this ranger on a horse appears in the distance.
Me: "Pooonnnyyy!!" Both the ranger and th horse gave me a derisive look.
 
The Chalet on Mont Royal offers the best view of Montreal. Fresh red flowers welcome you to a wide plaza, from which you can see all of Montreal, the river, the beautiful panoramic scenery.
 
After seeing the view from the Chalet, I was very excited to see the view from the top of the hill -- it must be even better! So up I walked.
 
Near the top of the hill is the Montreal Cross, a big industrial looking structure that looks rather foreboding in the daytime. I've seen pictures of it lit up at night, and it's very pretty. I figured there must be an even better monument at the top of the hill, so up I walked.
 
Finally, I got to the top of the hill.
Cobblestone alley next to Place Jacques Cartier
An what view did I behold? A beautiful panoramic view? A giant monument? No, the top of Mont Royal has nothing but a big cell phone tower. And a Bell Canada truck fixing said cell phone tower. Oh well. the rest of the hill was really nice.
 
Old Montreal
 
It was early afternoon when I got down from the hill, so I decided to keep walking all the way across town to Old Montreal, the touristy historic area of the city.
 
The most famous site in Old Montreal is the Notre Dame Cathedral. Now, Montreal is a beautiful town with lots of old architecture... but this most famous building was surrounded by tourists, and honestly.... it was kinda meh. I thought the Marie-Reine-du-Monde and City Hall were prettier, at least from the outside.
Downtown Montreal, view from the Marriot
 
Like major sites in many other cities, there are horse and buggies outside. There's a block of souvenier shops nearby. I got a shirt that said J'(Heart) le bierre.
 
Next, I strolled the streets of Old Montreal, to the pretty flag-draped "second-empire" style buildings in the city hall area, and to Place Jacque Cartier, a touristy but pretty wide walkway with a big statue of Mr. Cartier himself.
 
Off of Place Jacque Cartier, there's an area of alleys with cobblestone streets and artists selling their overpriced wares to tourists -- the tourist book seems to think this place is the Canadian Montmartre or something, and I guess considering the current tourist-ridden state of Montmarte there is a connection.

Lots of tourist restuarants line the streets, and since it's off to the side, its not very crowded. On a Monday afternoon, not a lot of people were out and it was actually very relaxing to chill outdoors in an alley, sipping my coffee in a cute little cobblestone alley while I waited for my Wild Game Plate of deer, bison and carribou. There's also poutine across the street.
Last, I went to the Old Port waterfront before heading back to my hotel.
 
Yeah, my feet were hella sore.
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The Montreal Cross
The Montreal Cross
Cobblestone alley next to Place Ja…
Cobblestone alley next to Place J…
Downtown Montreal, view from the M…
Downtown Montreal, view from the …
City Hall
City Hall
the Chalet on Mont Royal
the Chalet on Mont Royal
Mont Royal trails
Mont Royal trails
Panoramic view of Montreal from th…
Panoramic view of Montreal from t…
Panoramic view of Montreal from th…
Panoramic view of Montreal from t…
Panoramic view of Montreal from th…
Panoramic view of Montreal from t…
Place Jaqcues Cartier
Place Jaqcues Cartier
Marie Reine du Monde, view from th…
Marie Reine du Monde, view from t…
An oxymoron?
An oxymoron?
the Chalet
the Chalet
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Montreal Restaurants, Cafes & Food review
I have a total penchant for tourist food-- you know, regional food that no one really eats on a daily basis but that I can't get back home. So, a Fren… read entire review
Montreal
photo by: cvanzoen