Our first full day in Montreal began with a delicious breakfast at our hotel. And it was free! Complete with lattes, espresso…whatever kind of coffee you wanted! After breakfast, Lyle and I headed out to the Centre d’histoire de Montreal (Old Montreal History Museum). The museum showcases the history of the city and is located in a beautiful Flemish style building that originally opened in 1904 as the city’s central fire station. The fire station closed in 1972 and the museum was opened in 1983 as a part of Montreal’s cultural rehabilitation of the historic district. The museum was great. As Americans, there’s so much we don’t know about Canadian history, and after visiting this museum, I want to learn even more! We had a lot of fun exploring and had the museum mostly to ourselves. There was a special exhibit about the 1920s in Montreal, the jazz age, and “scandal” (i.e. the mafia, brothels, and bootlegging).
After leaving the museum, it was time for a coffee. We stopped in Le Petit Dep. Never ones to just wonder, we learned that ‘dep’ is short for ‘deppaneur’, which is the French word for a convenience store. I had a latte, my second one of the day. I haven’t been drinking much coffee lately, so within an hour I was getting quite jittery. We were doing some shopping at the Bonsecour Market (where we had eaten dinner the night before) and decided to get some lunch. Nearby, we found a restaurant called 7 Grain. We ate (the food fixed my coffee-shakes) and relaxed for a while. It was so cold outside! Another day of less than 10 degree temperatures. Lyle filmed some time-lapse shots out the window while we looked at the map and played with our French language apps.
We decided to go back to the hotel before heading out to dinner later. It felt great to be so relaxed. We spend most of our trips trying to do and see as much as possible, which is always great, but there’s something to be said about slowing down and not trying to do it all.
A little later we went out to dinner. We found a great Indian restaurant called Gandhi. Indian food is one of our go-to cuisines. Can’t get enough. Gandhi was excellent and the service was impeccable. After dinner, it was still a little early to call it a night so we stopped in to a jazzy little restaurant called Modavie for after-dinner drinks. It seems that a lot of Montreal has a very 1920s/jazz vibe. Lyle ordered a local beer and my after-dinner drink was cake. It was so good we would come back our last night in the city.
An interesting little tidbit for you…From May 17, 2016 through April 10, 2017, there is a history project going on in Montreal called ‘Cite Memoire’. It is described on its website as being “loosely inspired by the history of Montreal” and features images projected on walls throughout the city. We had noticed right outside our hotel window the projection of an old church on the night we arrived, but when we got back the second night, and I was closing the curtains, I looked out the window to see the face of a giant woman! Talk about a surprise! Ha!