This Travel Log also doubles as a Throwback Thursday, as this epic girls trip to Montréal, Canada, took trip place last August. Click through the slideshow for a glimpse at some of the highlights.
Me and my boos — Yvette, Sierra and Andrea — wanted to get some travel in together. But where to? Savannah? Santa Fe? Boulder? Suddenly, Canada looked pretty good since we could go international without going too far for our weekender. As a kid, I took a day trip from Detroit to Toronto with my brother Robert and my aunt Betty, but I had been wanting to give Canada a real go. I’m so glad we settled on Montréal. And thus began a new tradition for our crew.
Sierra and I arrived within an hour or so of each other on Friday, Aug. 25, so we met up at the airport and Ubered to our Airbnb, which was located in Old Montréal and not too far from downtown. Yvette was next to arrive, and the three of us wandered to find a brunch spot. Immediately, I was charmed by the architecture and foliage everywhere. It felt like we were in France. Oui oui! We soon met up with Andrea, who arrived a few hours later, and set out to have a proper lunch. I was pleasantly surprised by how accommodating the locals were by offering double-sided menus in French and English because I tried Duolingo and my French accent is especially atrocious. We wandered a few blocks away from the square where we brunched and were enchanted by a quaint restaurant that had corks on display. I had a delicious steak and fries and the girls feasted on clams, and all enjoyed a bottle of red wine over lunch. I could get used to this cosmopolitan-ladies-who-lunch life. The rest of the evening consisted of a fancy dinner at L’Original. The smothered pork chop and spaghetti was everything. On the way to find a bar for a night cap, we encountered a movie playing on the side of one of the buildings. It turns out it was part of an art installation for Montréal’s 375th anniversary celebration. We ended the night at Saint Pierre, a newly opened bar run by a black woman (aaoooww!) and playing dope music. I had a refreshing drink called “Respect Your Elders,” which included elderberries. Who would have thunk?
The next day, we got an early start and went on a dining walking tour that left from the steps of the Notre-Dame Basilica, which we would find out was Celine Dion’s church. It was there where she got married and had the funeral for her husband. The tour guide pointed out important landmarks and gave us tons of historical anecdotes (Did you know that Montréal was named after its proximity to Mount Royal?), plus we got to try some great traditional bites along the way. Delicious custard-filled tarts, duck and pork patés, macarons and a smoked meat sandwich made the tour well worth it. The awkward mix of outlandish characters on the tour was memorable, and also a point of contention as we wanted to slap one of the ladies for making a borderline racist comment about an interracial couple. Folks be wildin’. Of course, we ate again shortly after the tour, but this time we felt better equipped to pick a place and had a good lay of the land. I tried my first poutine (Fun fact: It’s really pronounced “poo-ten” — far less fun to say than “poo-teen” in an aggressive Southern accent, which is how I still choose to pronounce it) and a tasty flight of local beers. We went back to the Airbnb to rest from all the walking we had done. That evening, we took a short Uber drive to a fun restaurant, where we ordered a number of dishes to share and proceeded to do shots like college girls on spring break. Hahaha. We still got it!
On our last full day in town, we had a lovely brunch after being lured in to a swanky hotel restaurant with the promise of a free mimosa. I mean, why not? We went to see the rainbow balloons lining the LGBT neighborhood and stocked up on last-minute souvenirs. Those Coffee Crisps — imagine a coffee-flavored Kit Kat candy bar — that we discovered at the grocery store were smackin’, and I left with several to bring home. We finished the night at a cute little tiki bar called Le Mal Nécessaire, which translates to The Necessary Evil, where we drank some potent punches and lamented the early morning flights we had back home.
Montréal, you beautiful beast. Thanks for your hospitality and the adventures I had with my girls. I could definitely see myself living here if I had to live in a foreign city. Either way, I will be back.
To see previous places I’ve jetted off to via my Travel Log, click here.