This week, I thought I’d share a photo from my recent trip to Montreal, Quebec – I’ve been home less than twenty-four hours, and I already cannot wait to start planning my return. Spending a mere day and a half in a city can be tough, and I departed Montreal feeling as though there was so much more to be explored. For example, I barely scraped the surface of Mont-Royal and I didn’t even have the opportunity to stroll along the Lachine Canal, which guidebooks and travel blogs have informed me is an absolute Montreal must.
Although, I’m not one to believe in “must-sees.” You can visit London and still leave with a rich sense of the city without seeing Big Ben or Buckingham Palace. I digress. I don’t think I’ve ever left a city truly satisfied, thinking that I’d seen as much as I could. Montreal is no exception, and if I ever have the opportunity to visit this charming Canadian city again, though, I think I’d like some warmer weather.
Weather: that one problem with the otherwise perfect plan of off-season travel.
Did the blustery, windy, below-freezing temperature lessen our fun? Absolutely not. It could have been worse, right? Rain pouring from the sky in buckets? A record-breaking blizzard? We encountered no such hardship. The sun came out both days we spent in Montreal and the blue sky stretched for miles. So what if the wind was so strong that I felt like a kite? The temperature dipped below freezing, but that’s what coat and gloves are for.
We still had the opportunity to do plenty of walking, and I’m happy to report that my favorite part of the city can be explored on foot during any season. Pictured above, the Vieux-Port (“Old Port”), located right next to the popular old town and Bonsecours Market, boasts a pedestrian-friendly path, picturesque boats on a lazy river, and some seasonal ice skating. During summer, travelers can also spend the afternoon on a human-made beach complete with built-in parasols; unfortunately, swimming in the Saint Lawrence River isn’t permitted. The atmosphere may not trick visitors into thinking they’re at a Caribbean resort, but I didn’t come here to take a dip. The Vieux-Port is quiet, beautiful, and incredibly clean.
The port’s clock tower is easily the most recognizable part of the port, and while the area is crowded during the summer, off-season travelers will enjoy the solitude along with a handful of locals braving the cold. When I was downtown or strolling the streets of the old town, it was easy for me to forget that I was, in fact, on an island. But the Vieux-Port reminded me of the importance that the maritime industry has played in Montreal’s history – and enough beautiful churches and public buildings are visible from the port that I finally felt, fully, Montreal’s European