My short trip to Montreal July 2004

Aug 1st, 2004, 02:49 PM
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My short trip to Montreal July 2004

Hi everyone,

I returned today from Montreal. I was there for 4 nights and really enjoyed the city and sights. It was a short trip, but since my husband Tony is there for training, until the end of this week with Midatlantic Airways, I thought it would be a great opportunity to take advantage of the free hotel and see some of Montreal.

The hotel (Hilton Garden Inn near the airport) had courtesy shuttle to the metro (Du College). It was about a 25-30 minute metro ride to Champ de Mars. Very nice hotel along with the friendliest service I encountered for a large chain hotel.

I arrived on Wednesday, got to the hotel, and got to see Tony for a short while before he had to go to work (cockpit simulators on their night schedule). After figuring out how to get to town, I headed in. I arrived at Champ de Mars and instead of blue skies I saw earlier, it was raining. It didn?t last too long. Most of the afternoon was just wandering around the old town area seeing Vieux-Montréal. There were lots of tourists enjoying the outdoor cafés at place Jacques-Cartier. Hungry for lunch, I looked at several menus posted outside the restaurants. I selected Modavie on rue St. Paul and enjoyed their cream of vegetable soup and a half portion of their Mediterranean salad, which consisted of smoked salmon, feta cheese, olives, capers and tomatoes. It was quite filling and I was very glad I didn?t order the full portion. I couldn?t imagine the size of it because the half portion was large! I also had some wine.

The rest of the afternoon into the evening was spent visiting the Bonsecours Market (lots of little shops), and walking all the way up St. Denis. My friend Olivia recommended I try L? Express one night for dinner (main reason for my long walk on St. Denis. I didn?t make reservations, but I was told I could be seated if I would vacate the table 1.5 hours later for someone who had reservations. I figured that was plenty of time (and it was). It?s a very lively restaurant with terrific waiters, both handsome and polite. Dinner was excellent: Mousse de Foie followed by slices of roast lamb layered on top of vegetables, potato au gratin and a vegetable mousse; wine.

Tony had Thursday off, so we headed to town with his friend Matt. We did tons of walking this day. I showed them the old town area, shopped in the stores for souvenirs, and then we enjoyed crepes at Delices Vieux.

In the afternoon we walked around the port area. The area was filled with tourists. We then visited Chinatown (quite small but filled with shops and restaurants), walked along St. Catherine, and window shopped at the Underground. We stopped for a round of drinks at a small café. Nearby, people were setting up for the 10-day French music festival. Rue Crescent is an interesting street with many cafés and restaurants. The street reminded me of Boston. On the way back towards the old town (for dinner), we stopped to see the Cathédrale-Basilique Marie-Reine-du-Monde. Outside an Anglican church, a group of musicians were playing bagpipes. We listened for a while before finding a place for dinner. I did have a small list of restaurants and along the way I spotted Boris Bistro. We couldn?t sit outside (already filled with hungry diners) so we ate inside. It?s a very contemporary looking restaurant with very good food. I had a small puff pastry topped with a wild mushroom sauce, then a delicious duck risotto with wild mushrooms in an orange cream sauce. Tony had the paté and a sausage dish. Matt had the same appetizer and the Veal blanquette. We all enjoyed a round of Calvados and crème brulee for dessert. We had a nice walk to the metro after dinner and headed home.

The next two days I spent visiting several museums ? Friday visiting museums in the old town area and yesterday the art museums. I purchased the museum pass ($39), which included a metro pass. On Thursday I had lunch and dinner at Le Bourlingueur. Their table d'hôte was very well priced and included choices of salad or soups (two choices), entrée, and dessert. I had the cream of leek soup, grilled salmon (with rice and diced vegetables), and poached pear for lunch; Gazpacho, shrimp in a pernod sauce (same sides), and a lemon cake with chocolate drizzled on top for dinner.

Yesterday, after visiting the museums and having lunch, I walked along rue Sherbrooke to Blvd. Saint Laurent. Heading up I found rue Prince Arthur. It?s a small pedestrian street filled with cafés and restaurants. I had a glass of wine at a Mexican place and relaxed after my long walk. For my last meal in Montreal, I walked up rue St. Denis and dined at Au Bistro Gourmet 2. I enjoyed the salad and the lamb shank with vegetables. Of course, I finished with crème brulee!

Montreal is a great place to visit and I really enjoyed my time there. I was told Montreal is the ?Paris without the jetlag? and ?Paris without the attitude.? I personally didn?t find it to be very similar to Paris, but it does have a nice European ambiance, especially in the old town area. Some of the architecture did remind me of Paris, which made me wish I were in Paris, while other parts reminded me of Boston. I didn?t work hard at speaking French, like I do while in Paris, because most people speak English. Everyone I met was very friendly and helpful.

Oh! I forgot, I did visit Notre Dame yesterday. It was quite beautiful!!

Monica
monicapileggi is offline  
Aug 1st, 2004, 02:53 PM
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Ahhh, monica, you make me miss Montreal
It sounds like you really made use of the short time you were there, it is so enjoyable to just walk in Montreal.
I love L'Express and need to go back for some frites
Glad you had a good time~
Scarlett
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Aug 2nd, 2004, 03:12 AM
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Hi Scarlett,

There is lots more to see, but I feel I did plenty in the short time I was in Montreal. I have to say all the meals I had were very good, but I was surprised that most restaurants didn't sell vin de maison by the 1/4 carafe. Most were by the glass or bottle.

Monica
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Aug 2nd, 2004, 05:18 AM
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Wow, I read your report with pleasure, you write and describe well. It's always fun for a montrealer to experience the city through the eyes of a visitor. I'm glad you got to eat at l'Express; it's always so booked.

Seems like you had all good eats and a fine time !! come back soon !!
mitchdesj is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2004, 05:36 AM
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Hello mitchdesj,

Thank you for your kind words! Yes, I did enjoy Montreal and hope to return there again soon.

If interested, I posted my photos on Ofoto.com:

http://www.ofoto.com/PhotoView.jsp?U...d=172592105105

Monica
monicapileggi is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2004, 07:26 AM
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Glad to hear you had a good time and that there's a courtesy shuttle to du College metro. It's funny, since your post, I paid a bit of attention on my way home from work and noticed one day the van from Hilton Garden Inn, with passengers getting off.

I've been meaning to try Bistro Boris (along with about a zillion other places). Anyhow, I'm glad you enjoyed the parts of the city you got to explore.

T'es la bienvenue n'importe quand!
Daniel_Williams is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2004, 12:11 PM
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Hi Daniel,

Do you live in that part of town, near du College? Yes, do go to Bistro Boris. It was very good. Make sure you make reservations so you can dine al fresco. Food was very good, service prompt and friendly service.

I?ll have to make plans to return again with Tony so he can enjoy the other sights too. And I?ll have to set up a fodorite get together. I should have thought about it for this trip!

Take care and thanks again for your help.

Monica
monicapileggi is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2004, 05:29 PM
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Hi

I live within walking distance of Snowdon Metro (5 stops from du College) in the shadow of the Oratoire Saint Joseph, but I transfer at du College every day of the workweek. I've lived in a few parts of the city though, including the McGill Ghetto and the Plateau Mont-Royal. You definitely hit a few of my stomping grounds (and the outskirts of some of my previous residences), but there are plenty of neat areas for you to explore on future visits that you didn't mention here...

Thanks for paying our fair city a visit! DAN
Daniel_Williams is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2004, 06:49 AM
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Dan, is the Oratoire Saint Joseph the one I saw in the distance on the hill with the very large dome? I'll have to visit there the next time. Not seeing everything in one visit (usually impossible anyway) gives me the opportunity to keep Montreal on my list of travel plans!

Monica
monicapileggi is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2004, 07:23 AM
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Thanks for the wonderful report, my hubby and I are heading there over the labor day weekend and really appreciate having all this info.
indie is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2004, 09:03 AM
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Hi Indie,

You can check my web site in a few days as I will be posting my restaurant list with addresses, food description and the prices I paid. http://www.luvtotravel.homestead.com/home.html Have a great time!

Monica
monicapileggi is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2004, 03:41 PM
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Hi indie, I have a restaurant list if you want to email me
Scarlett is offline  

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