I’m still speaking a little bit of French (we are talkin’ French 101) from my trip to Montreal this past weekend.
I took French in high school and college and was never any good. But my education actually proved to be very helpful when I visited Paris in college. It’s amazing how much comes back to you when you REALLY need it.
Since Montreal is a bilingual city, almost everyone speaks both French and English but I still tried to speak some French even if it was just simple greetings. I still remembered a lot!
I left work early and stopped home to David prepping some road snacks for the trip.
He got a lot …
We snacked on berries, cantaloupe, bananas, pistachios (he shelled them for me!), almonds, homemade guac (David makes great guac), celery, carrots and some Honest Teas for our 6 hour car ride to Montreal.
The plan was to snack so that we could save room for a big Poutine late-night dinner.
I was the driver as we went through customs into Canada and cracked a joke with the border patrol. When he asked if we palnned on leaving anything in Montreal I pointed at David and said “Maybe him!” I THINK I got a teeny crack of a smile from him but regardless he let us go and I burst out laughing. I have no idea what possessed me to try to JOKE at the border but something did and luckily we got away unscathed.
Once we arrived in the city and circled around a few times, we got to the boutique hotel we were staying at on Rue St. Denis, a popular and busy street in the city.
The hotel was great. Small, quaint and the staff was very helpful with all of our inquiries.
We had a reservation for a comedy show so after dropping our bags off we pretty much turned back around to walk to the metro. Of course we got pretty lost waking around after the metro so we were late to the show but luckily they had a few openers and the headliner had not started yet. Thank gosh because we were almost at a breaking point. Traveling can be stressful especially when you have a hard time navigating. Plus it was all in another language.
The comedian was really funny. He was Canadian so he definitely had his fair share at poking fun of Americans but some of the jokes weren’t too far from the truth! Dare I say.
Then, it was POUTINE time. You know Poutine? It’s Canada’s specialty dish. Fries, cheese curds and gravayyy. A gourmet dish of fat and grease.
David had been talking about Poutine for weeks so we were both salivating when we arrived at the restaurant around 10:30 p.m. We went to La Banquise, a very popular, 24-hour Poutine place that serves a vegetarian gravy (yay!!). Big thanks to Janine for commenting on a post of mine and recommending the restaurant. It was a great, funky spot.
Oh, I’ve decided you have gotta be funky to live in Montreal. Everyone had their own eclectic style.
Speaking of Montrealians (?), on our way there I was curious if a lot of people would smoke since we were going to an area with heavy European influences. The verdict is that A LOT of people smoke. Many young people too! I guess I’m so surprised because it seems like smoking has decreased in America, or at least where I live. I wasn’t used to it. But I am sure there are plenty of things we do in America that other cultures wouldn’t understand. It’s what makes the world go round, right?
Well, as much we all welcomed Spring with open arms just a few days ago, Mother Nature was not going to give up Winter without a fight.
We planned on doing a lot around the city today but Montreal got hit with about 9 inches of snow. So we had to cut a few things but we still trudged into the winter wonderland to
explore eat as much as we could.
Started off the day with some sucre (sugar) crepes and lattes at La Bulle Au Carre. I got chocolate and David got salted caramel with Maple syrup.
They had old French comic books at each table for people to read.
Later, we made our way to Old Montreal to see the Notre Dame Basilica and shop/eat. This is an area with a very European vibe, brick roads (although they were snow covered) and a lot of art, high-end boutiques and cafes/pubs.
We ate at this really fun cafe called Le Marché de la Villette. It was really lively with loud music and a lot of clapping and cheering.
After a few hours of snowy walking we made our way underground to Eaton Centre, the underground “city” that stretches 15 miles under the city. The area we went to was essentially just a mall but looking back we think we were in Eaton Centre a few times and didn’t even realize it.
We stopped at a few of my favorite stores like Zara and Roots. Canadian favorites! I also became obsessed with Canada Goose winter coats because literally everyone had one and they looked so warm. I later found out they’re a hefty $650+ price-wise.
We were BEAT after a long day of walking. My hamstrings were so tight from walking in Uggs and snowy side walks.
After a recoup at the hotel we got some dessert at a chocolate bar, Juliette et Chocolat, down the street from our hotel.
Holy chocolate. Like, REAL chocolate. You know with Cacao!!
I got a chocolate brownie with bittersweet chocolate syrup and David got a caramel-filled cake with chocolate syrup on it. Can you see the pattern? Me=chocolate, David=caramel.
We had a side of ridiculously over-the-top PDA at the table next to us. As I was inhaling my chocolate I was simultaneously nauseated with the action next door.
Ahhh, Burlington. There’s something about this place that is so darn welcoming and comfortable. I first visited Burlington over the summer with David and we both fell in love with both the state of Vermont and Burlington.
Thankfully we conveniently made it back to the area on our way back from Canada to get lunch with my friends from college. Three of them live in Burlington now and it was AWESOME to see them.
We ate at the popular Penny Cluse Cafe right off the main Church Street strip.
I got gingerbread pancakes. Freaking best combo. I never knew I loved gingerbread so much until I discovered Cookie Butter. I’ve been hooked on the flavor ever since.
A trip to Vermont is not complete without some Ben and Jerry’s.
This weekend was a much needed getaway and it was especially perfect because we went somewhere that felt like another country (okay, I know we were in Canada but we felt like we were in Europe), and I got to see some of my best friends.
I would love to visit Montreal again, especially when it’s a little warmer. There is still so much I want to see and I really enjoyed traveling there.
Merci, Au Revoir!
Sorry, had to throw in just a few last French words. Being there has really made me want to get back into learning the language. Rosetta Stone anyone?
If you stuck with this long-arse post, I want to hear from you!
Have you traveled anywhere recently?
How was your weekend?