We arrived at Montreal mid afternoon.
Our first stop was Gibeau Orange Julep, a giant 3-story high Orange ball on the road side. It has a huge hype, but honestly, I think it’s just okay. The drink was too sweet. The texture was funny, but many people like that in between juice and milkshake feel. The price, wow, over CA$30 for 3 drinks and a poutine! The worst part is that the julep attracted so many wasps, it was almost frightening. For me, it is one of those places that one just needed to be there once. I don’t think I will return.
We then checked in our hotel, Fairmont Queen Elizabeth in downtown Montreal. Our room had a view of the back of the famous Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral.
After a brief stop at the Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral where a mass was going on, we walked toward old Montreal.
We soon reached Old Montreal, where cobblestone roads, European style buildings were so dominant.
Soon we reached Notre-Dame de Basilica, probably the most famous landmark of Montreal, is at the center of Old Montreal. There was a line of people waiting to enter for an aura light show.
Eventually, we got to St. Laurence River waterfront.
Across the river, we could see the BioDome.
Along the beautiful Rue St. Paul was the iconic shiny dome of Bonsecours Market.
We decided to have dinner at BreWskey Taproom right next to the market. While the craft beer at BreWkey was interesting, the food was lackluster. I had my poutine number 2 here.
Montreal at night was still very much alive!
Notre-Dame de Basilica
We woke up to the rain, so we decided to take a cab to Notre-Dame de Basilica, the oldest Catholic church in Montreal. While the interior was absolutely stunning (I love the deep blue), the price to enter (CA$14 + online processing per person) was hefty. In the days to come, we saw several beautiful churches whose doors were open to public.
The organ made of 7000 individual pipes was amazing to see, unfortunately we didn’t get to here it play.
When we left the church, rain started to taper off. The glittering cobblestone gave a tranquil yet romantic feel.
Since we had croissant, crepes and coffee at the hotel, we were not in a rush to find lunch. We had a dinner reservation at Montreal Plaza which was a few miles away, we decided to take the car and go to Mile End and Le Plateau-Mont-Royal area in the afternoon. Parking in the city outside of the Old Montreal was quite convenient. Paying and adding minutes in the parking app was very simple.
We went to the very trendy and hippy part of the town, Mile End. Mile End covers a large area that’s filled with artsy and eccentric characters, including some very grand murals.
Along the way, we picked up 2 bagels to share at St-Viateur Bagel.
A beautiful sunny day!
I didn’t read about the park clearly enough. It seemed the trail on top of the mountain would take 2-3 hours to complete. When we got to the parking lot on top of the mountain, we paid parking for the whole day (CA$13). It turned out walking to the Chalet only took 10 minutes, and we didn’t really need to walk the whole trail. The view was okay, but there was definitely a haze in the air.
The whole-day parking did work for us eventually as we went back there in the afternoon to get a much clearer view of Montreal and had a picnic with smoked meat sandwiches.
The China Garden would have been much more pleasant if there was no such outrageous decorative display in the pond. The colorful yet cheap looking décor was somewhat insulting to our culture. Japanese garden is the meantime was much tranquil and elegant.
Sunset at Oratory
Watching the sun set from St. Joseph Oratory, which is the highest building in Montreal, would have been perfect. But the sun kept on moving in and out of the cloud.
The view was incredible when the sun peeked.