Montreal or Monreal (to the locals) was for lack of a better word…Merde! Although, to be fair it did have three things working against it from the get go:
- We were there for the Easter break – which meant everything was closed
- It poured down rain every single day we were there
- And we had just arrived from NYC – the city that never sleeps to a city where all we did was sleep.
The hotel that we stayed at was brilliant! They fed us for free on Good Friday (as nothing else was open), there was a bar that sold $3 spirits, lots of Aussies and even a one-man-band. The bonus here was that we didn’t need to hunt down a laundromat, as the hotel offered a wash, dry and fold service for $10. Score!
Notre Dame Cathedral: That Saturday morning we explored the old town and the Notre Dame Cathedral. It’s one of the most spectacular cathedrals I have ever seen, it’s alter looks like the façade of another church…very cool. We had Easter Sunday mass there too – so we got to experience the choir and organ playing.
Latin Quarter: The Latin Quarter (Rue Saint Denis) is the place to be to see some Montreal folk and join them for some dinner and drinks. There is a wide variety of restaurants ranging from Japanese (my favourite) to French burger joints to McDonalds. I say this because I coerced Gus to get Japanese on three of the five nights we were there, it was delicious.
This is where we also checked out the local pub one night to watch the Montreal Canadiens take on the Boston Brauns. There was a guy playing his acoustic guitar during the breaks and as soon as the game started he was promptly removed from the stage and replaced by a 75 inch projector. Much more entertaining!
Biodome: Gus had been to the Biodome in a previous life and recommended we check out this attraction. The Biodome was once home to the 1984 Montreal Olympics Velodrome and has been remodelled to a tropical rainforest zoo. Interestingly enough, the layout resembles each continent and the animals that inhibit them. Key here is to dress lightly, it gets pretty warm in the Americas and doesn’t get any cooler by the time you reach Antarctica, so layer up!
Casino: What to do when it rains in Montreal? Try your luck at a casino! Still on a high from Vegas, we thought we’d find a Craps table and roll some die. Unfortunately, there were no Crap tables, only Black Jack and Roulette. We stayed on though and watched some boxing matches on the screen until dinner time. On our way out weplayed 75 cents on one of the pokies and won what seemed to be 600 credits or $6. What was strange was that a lil old lady was saying something to us in French “Tres bon” was all she kept saying and letting her friend know we’d won $6. Unbeknown to us we kept playing until we got to 500 credits and was where we realised it was worth a good $150. We finished Montreal on a high!
You can tell Montreal has so much potential, but we where there at a really poor time with the weather and Easter. Summer may be a better time to visit.