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August 8, 2016 / Retirementallychallenged.com

Oh Canada!

Although I have visited Canada several times, my most recent trips have been to the west coast (Vancouver and Victoria).  I was five when I visited eastern Canada, and that was only a day trip to see the Niagara Falls.

I was very much looking forward to the first stop on our month-long road trip, which began on June 14. Our itinerary had us flying in and out of Montreal, but, when we’d be in Montreal again one month later, it would be quick stay overnight by the airport. For our initial visit, we booked our hotel for two nights; not nearly enough for a city with so much to offer, but we had a lot of stops ahead of us and we could only fit in so much.

Even though we lost three hours when we travel from the west coast to the east coast, we still arrived at our destination with plenty of daylight and energy to enjoy a beautiful summer evening in Montreal. We were thrilled to discover that just a few blocks from where we were staying, Les FrancoFolies de Montreal was in full swing. This 10-day, multi-stage musical event has been held in downtown Montreal every summer in since 1989. It features hundreds of French-language performers from all over the world and many of the venues are absolutely free… how great is that?!

FrancoFolies

Our only full day in Montreal was devoted to sight-seeing. Our hotel was well-located within walking distance (a long distance, but we like to walk) from Old Montreal, the waterfront, China Town, Little Italy, and the Norte-Dame Basilica.

I love street murals and Montreal didn’t disappoint!

That evening, we treated ourselves to a lovely dinner at a sidewalk café and then wandered over to the outdoor FrancoFolies stage area for more music and people-watching.

Even though we were only at the beginning of our trip, we agreed that future travels must include an extended stay in Montreal. There is so much to see and do and we knew that we had just scratched the surface.

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33 Comments

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  1. dconnollyislandgmailcom / Aug 8 2016 1:32 pm

    Great post, Janis! Montreal is a truly amazing city. Being an ‘East-Coast-turned-West-Coast’ Canadian girl, I greatly look forward to hearing what you thought of Vancouver and Vancouver Island. Donna
    http://www.retirementreflections.com

    • Retirementallychallenged.com / Aug 8 2016 4:24 pm

      I didn’t get to the western end this time (I should edit the beginning to make that clear), but I hope to next year. We’d like to add to a possible trip to Spokane and drive further north… maybe even to Banff. I’ve been reading some interesting things about Tofino too. So many places to see!

  2. rporter610 / Aug 8 2016 1:37 pm

    What a wonderful adventure you’re on! I’ve always wanted to visit Montreal, Toronto, and other cities in Canada. I look forward to your descriptions and photos.

  3. Genius Mikhail / Aug 8 2016 1:44 pm

    The pictures of street art are nice. I would recommend to walk all over the Old Port area in Montreal.

    • Retirementallychallenged.com / Aug 8 2016 5:12 pm

      We did get down to the Old Port but having just one full day, we weren’t able to spend as much time as I would have liked. Next time (and, I hope there is a next time), we’ll allow more time. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

      • Genius Mikhail / Aug 10 2016 9:59 am

        You’re welcome. Old Port of Montreal is nice.

  4. frantastic / Aug 8 2016 2:24 pm

    I’m an armchair traveller and love to hear about others’ adventures – thanks for sharing this lovely post!

  5. Anabel Marsh / Aug 8 2016 2:49 pm

    I loved Montreal when we visited a few ty

  6. Anabel Marsh / Aug 8 2016 2:50 pm

    I loved Montreal when we visited a few years ago. I think we had three days, or maybe just two, but it definitely wasn’t long enough. (Sorry for stray fragment comment! Fingers not behaving.)

    • Retirementallychallenged.com / Aug 8 2016 4:41 pm

      I really could see renting a flat in Montreal for a month. It was so hard to pick and choose what we were able to see in a short time. Even though most people spoke French and English, I’d like to speak French much better (mine’s pretty much non-existent) next time.

  7. Shelley / Aug 8 2016 3:13 pm

    I’m looking forward to hearing about the rest of your journey. One request. In future posts, if you really like the hotel, will you include the name of it. I check out blog posts before I visit some place to get ideas and recommendations.

    • Retirementallychallenged.com / Aug 8 2016 4:47 pm

      Oh, absolutely! For this trip, we used Airbnb for the most part when we weren’t staying with friends or at the car club gathering. But, in Montreal – both the visit at the beginning and at the end – we stayed in hotels. We especially liked Hotel Manoir Sherbrooke (www.manoirsherbrook.ca). It was an old hotel (no elevators), but lovely, well-situated, great breakfast included, and the staff was delightful.

  8. Lies Jack Kerouac told Me / Aug 8 2016 3:46 pm

    It’s been far too long since I’ve visited Montreal. The last time was on a family road trip to the Gaspe peninsula. Would love to return some day…thanks for the nudge.

  9. Earth Bound / Aug 8 2016 3:50 pm

    I must visit Canada one of these days! Your photos are so enchanting and re-sparks my interest in the area. Thank you for the interesting post!

    • Retirementallychallenged.com / Aug 8 2016 5:09 pm

      I am happy to re-spark your interest! The country is so vast and there is so much to see and experience. We hope to visit the part of the western end next year.

  10. Terri Webster Schrandt / Aug 8 2016 6:26 pm

    Beautiful! I have not yet made it into Canada! I barely made it to Mexico (at least near the bottom of the Baja peninsula). On my list!!

    • Retirementallychallenged.com / Aug 8 2016 6:37 pm

      East coast or west coast – preferably both – you really should plan on a trip to Canada soon. It really is lovely and the people are as nice as their reputation.

  11. joannesisco / Aug 8 2016 6:28 pm

    I’m embarrassed to say I don’t know Montreal. I’ve visited a few times over the years for various reasons but never stayed more than a night or two. I’m aware that Montreal has various festivals going on every weekend throughout the summer and the Comedy Festival is hugely popular. You’ve inspired me to correct this omission in my travels!!

    • Retirementallychallenged.com / Aug 8 2016 6:40 pm

      I really think I could stay at least a month and not see everything it has to offer. I understand the Jazz Festival (which started a few weeks after we left) is the largest in the world. I’d like to see the Comedy Festival… unless it’s all in French.

      • joannesisco / Aug 9 2016 5:01 am

        I’m sure some of it is, but I think most is in English. It attracts comedians from all over the world.

  12. Liesbet / Aug 9 2016 6:17 am

    I’ve never been to eastern Canada. Montreal looks and sounds like a fascinating city! One day… Even though we are not crazy far away from it now, we might have to postpone that area for whenever we have a camper (and more time) again. I’m looking forward to your upcoming posts about the rest of your one month visit to eastern Canada!

    Liesbet @ Roaming About

  13. susan@onesmallwalk / Aug 9 2016 7:52 am

    Beautiful. I’ve never been to Montreal, but it looks very much worth a visit. Eager for more… Susan

  14. betsysbeat / Aug 10 2016 9:20 am

    Loved the photos! I’ll need to put Montreal on our list!

  15. Norm 2.0 / Aug 11 2016 12:36 pm

    Glad you enjoyed your visit. You’re right though, you really only scratched the surface. Hopefully you’ll get to come back for more 🙂

  16. Joe / Aug 12 2016 7:07 pm

    It sounds like you had a very memorable stay in Montreal. In the summer of 2013, we visited to pick up our daughter at McGill University. I think the basilica is one of the most beautiful I have ever seen, especially lit up at night.

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