I spent a semester studying in Tours, France in college, and I’d yet to visit another French-speaking country since I returned to the U.S. in late 2015. That is, until my mom and I took a trip to Montreal in June. I wondered how much French I would remember, and if I’d be able to communicate with the locals in the French-Canadian city. Turns out, I remembered enough French to get by, and I was reacquainted with my love of French culture.
Montreal has a unique blend of old and new– we stayed in a modern Airbnb in a high rise apartment building, but we were just blocks away from the historic district, Old Montreal. Our trip was filled with sightseeing, eating, and of course, drinking coffee. From unique local cafes like La Finca Café & Bureau to a daily stop at Tim Horton’s for a maple-glazed donut, we loved exploring this beautiful city.
One of our favorite spots in Montreal was Tommy, a cafe in Old Montreal. I remembered seeing an Instagram from one of my friends of this coffee shop, so I knew it was a must-go. Tommy is in the old British Empire Building, and its light, airy design creates an interesting juxtaposition with the historic building.
Bar Henrietta was another one of our favorite spots, located in the Mile End neighborhood. Mile End is filled with cool shops like Vde V, bars, cafes, and restaurants, and Bar Henrietta fits right in. We enjoyed a few appetizers, including some olives and delicious goat cheese toasts in the open-air bar area on a warm summer night.
Perhaps our favorite, and definitely most surprising find was Venice, a hip restaurant serving California-inspired cuisine. We loved it so much that we visited both Venice locations in the city– in Old Montreal and downtown. The restaurant’s decor perfectly evoked an authentic California feel that I absolutely loved as a native Californian. We both enjoyed poke bowls for dinner.
During our trip to Canada, we also decided to drive about an our and a half to the ski town of Mont-Tremblant. The proponent of our road trip within our larger road trip was naturally a spa. We spent a few hours taking in the hot and cold pools of Scandinavia Spa. Relaxing as it was, my mom and I couldn’t leave the area without doing a little exploring. We drove a few minutes to the mountain’s pedestrian village, which despite being relatively touristy and filled with chain stores and hotels, is still very beautiful. There are plenty of activities in the summer, I can only imagine what it’s like during peak ski season.
Back in the city we stopped at Crew for one last coffee. It’s in an old bank where baristas now take the place of tellers.
It’s hard to believe Montreal is only about five and a half hours from Connecticut/New York. Its European feel was even better knowing that we wouldn’t have to face an eight hour flight to return home. A road trip with my mom is always fun– aside from our excitement of visiting Montreal, a trip with the two of us is never complete without a few roadside stops for photos (for Annie, of course), a killer playlist (by me, obviously), aaaand even a few fast food stops along the way (preferably Tim Horton’s).