10 THINGS TO DO IN MONTRÉAL

So you’re going to Montreal? LUCKY YOU! Is there room in your suitcase? Can I come? On the off chance that you said no, and you’re going without me (rude), here’s my ultimate list of thing to do, see and drink in Montreal.

Like all good things in life, Montreal is full of extremes and the unexpected. Summer is hot hot hot. Humidity central. And Winter… Ice Ice Baby. It’s so cold that your nose hairs freeze outside. And fall is simply splendid. The trees explode with colour and make for some pretty popping Instagram pics. Regardless of when you visit, keep in mind that this will ultimately determine what you do and when you do it. Because you ain’t going to be walking the streets of Montreal for hours on end in freezing rain (I know this because we tried and I swear our veins were starting to freeze up). OK – so now I’m done being weather woman, here’s my ultimate list of things to do in Montreal!

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1. Mont-Royal.

This is my number 1 thing to do in Montreal, and once you do it you’ll see why. There’s not many cities in the world where you can feel like you’re lost in the woods when you’re actually just on a mountain in the middle of the city. You can do this in all seasons and it’s still just as magical. Mont-Royal was designed by the same guy that designed New York’s Central Park (that dude knew his parks). Not only is the walk up easy and beautiful, but the top hosts some of the best views in all of Montreal (plus it’s FREE). If you’ve got a few hours, definitely explore the rest of the mountain. There’s a beautiful old cemetery, L’Oratoire Saint-Joseph and Beaver Lake (which you can go ice skating on in Winter).

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2. Vieux-Port (Old Port).

This is the heart of culture in Montreal. Home to Basilica Notre Dame (Paris’ Notre-Dame’s little sister), Rue Saint-Paul (Montreal’s oldest street), and access to the Saint Laurence River, this is a place you simply cannot miss. In Summer there are markets, stalls and lots of street performers and buskers to keep you entertained whilst you soak up some sunshine on a Terrace. Exploring old port, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were lost in a little European town.

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3. Le Plateau.

This is for all you coffee lover, hipsters out there. The Plateau is an area of Montreal, kinda the equivalent of Newtown in Sydney, but French. Yea – I’ll let that sink in. And this is where I used to live so I think I’ve earned the right to say I know the Plateau pretty well. You can get off at metro station Mont Royal and explore Avenue Mont-Royal. You’ll find some beautiful little cafes, thrift stores, restaurants and houses. The architecture in the Plateau is really something special and you can feel the buzz and vibe in the air. You haven’t been to Montreal unless you dip your toes in the hipster hood of the Plateau.

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4. Parc La Fontaine.

This is one of my favourite parks in Montreal. There’s squirrels galore and you’ll see dogs running about like crazy. Summer is beautiful as you can sit under a tree and watch the fountain bubble over the pond. Winter is extra special because it honestly looks like something from a fairytale. If you can get your hands on a toboggan, you won’t regret unleashing your inner child and slipping and sliding down the hills. It’s located on Rue Rachel near Mont Royal Metro.

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5. La Banquise.

The best thing about travelling is trying new food, we all know this. And if you go to Quebec, especially Montreal, you need to try their specialty, Poutine. La Banquaise definitely has some of the cities best poutine. Whilst people will tell you poutine is just chips, gravy and cheese… it’s so much more than that. My favourite is called La Boogooloo, fries, gravy, cheese, pulled port, sour cream and cabbage… OMG, it’s bringing tears to my eyes just thinking about it. It’s right around the corner from Parc La Fontaine on Rue Rachel, so once you’ve finished exploring, you can stuff your face with Poutine. Make sure you look after your food baby accordingly.

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6. L’avenue.

Speaking of food babies… make sure you go to this renowned brunch restaurant on an empty stomach. Wait times, similarly to La Banquise can reach 45 minutes, but I assure you it’s worth it. After taking 15 minutes looking through the menu and finally deciding what to devour, make sure you check out the bathroom. Just do it. Again, I assure you you’ll leave that place waddling down the street.

Check out Ben Brown’s vlog from when he was in Montreal and go to experience the extravagance of L’avenue. 

 

7. The Gay Village.

One of the best things about Montreal is it’s liberal thinking, love and acceptance. They have an amazing gay village, right near Berri UQAM Metro. In Summer there were beautiful decorations lining the street that was closed off for pedestrians to stroll along. If you’re looking for some gay nightclubs, then this place has you sorted!

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8. Jean-Talon Markets.

Fresh food and produce your thing? Make sure you don’t miss these incredible markets! Again, ensure you’re got an empty stomach and follow your noses. Are you noticing a trend here? Yes, I love food. Yes, Montreal has f*cking good food!

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9. Boulevard Saint Laurent.

Think murals, street art, thrift shops, clubs, restaurants… the hub of nightlife in Montreal. Any good night out in Montreal starts and ends here. You’ll want to make sure you’re looking pretty flashy and jump in line pretty early for a lot of clubs, or you may find yourself just partying in the street. When you’re stumbling from the club at 4am, make sure you stumble by ‘Two Chow’ or ‘Toodles,’ $2 noodles. You’ll be devouring them in seconds and it will make the walk home much more entertaining.

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10. Sundays.

Sundays in Montreal are honestly perfection. Especially in Summer. To enjoy your Sunday afternoon you can either go to Picnique Electronique or Tam Tams. The Jean Drapeau park with the theme park. Sadly I didn’t make it to this place, but hey, you’ve gotta have something to go back for. You take the yellow line from Berri UQAM and jump off on the island. My friend told me they built this island from all of the dirt from building the metro (thanks Rosa), and decided to put a theme park on it. In Summer it hosts an EDM event every Sunday afternoon called Picnique-Eletronique. And if you go in Winter, you can go to check out the view of the city, I’m told it’s pretty spectacular.

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And to shake things up, you can spend your Sunday afternoon at this free unofficial community event called Tam Tams. Held in Mont Royal Parc near the big statue, every Sunday afternoon whilst it’s warm, you’ll see hundreds of people playing drums, Frisbee, hacky sac, and smoking weed. Montreal is pretty relaxed on smoking weed, especially at this event. Whether you smoke or not, it’s an incredible sight to see, people coming together to celebrate music, their community, friendship and good times.

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Tam Tams

So they’re my top 10 things to do in Montreal. There are sooooo many more, but that should keep you busy for now. Two pieces of advice, brush up on your French, and engage with locals. The locals of Montreal are so lovely and kind (and know how to drink), so to get the full Montreal experience, make sure you have a chat with some locals at a bar.

Well, get on out there! Montreal is waiting for you. Wait, I still need to get in your suitcase!!!!

 

These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things: OCTOBER 16

This has got to have been one of the craziest months I’ve had! Literally every weekend I’ve travelled somewhere or had a major event on. The reality of living in Montreal has finally sunken in, I actually have to study (I did NOT sign up for this) and boy it’s getting cold outside! I’m so grateful for all of the incredible experiences I’ve had this month and intend to ride this wave of inspiration and happiness through til the end of the year. Donc, (probably one of my favourite French words around), here are my favourite things from October!

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The beautiful Washington D.C

U.S of A

So I started October in the land of the free (or until Donald Trump came along), in Washington D.C. It was my first time in the states! And man could you smell the patriotism. I stayed with my amazing friends that I met in La Rochelle! It was so wonderful to see them again! I miss them all already and can’t wait to see where our paths cross again. Oh and yea, I guess I saw some cool things too – you can check it out below.

Quebec City

My friend Emma and I did a day trip to Quebec City and Montmorency Falls. Unfortunately it poured rain THE ENTIRE DAY! But the falls were truly incredible. It looks like I’ll have to come back for Quebec City another day!

TORONTO with CISA

This was a pretty hectic weekend! CISA is the Concordia International Student Association and a whole bus load of us went to Toronto for the weekend to set ourselves loose on the city. We were off to a rocky start because to get there, we caught an overnight bus. I may or may not have been (nope, definitely was) drunk. Whilst I got a good sleep, we arrived at 6:30am and couldn’t check in to the hotel until 4pm. Let’s just say the struggle was real. Our little squad consisted of Emma, Tim (Aussies as well) and Elena (this gorgeous girl from California). We explored Toronto together and made it up the CN Tower, and visited the St Lawrence Food Market. The next day we also went to Niagara Falls and tasted ice wine. On the way back to Montreal we stopped in Kingston (which I later learnt was the first capital of Canada) where we had THE BEST RAMEN EVER! It was a crazy weekend but I met some truly amazing people.

BUFFER FESTIVAL

One of the best weekends I’ve had. Ever. Period! Not only did I get to meet some of my idols like Louis Cole, Ben Brown, Nicole Eddy, Tim Kellner, Raya Was Here, Steve Booker… but I was inspired beyond belief. I saw incredible performers and creators who live their lives so beautifully. They make the most of every day and try to capture the beauty of this world through a camera lens. Words really do fail me here so check out my video below.

HALLOWEEN

OK so to some of you, it may be a surprise that Australia, doesn’t really celebrate Halloween… *gasp* I know right? But, it made me even more excited to be in Montreal for Halloween! It was – again – crazy fun. My friends and I went hard. We went out Thursday, Friday and Saturday night, which meant we needed 3 different costumes. And for those of you who know me – I LOVE dressing up! It was a pretty cool experience to go to house parties, clubs and bars, walking the streets with fake blood spilling out of my mouth and just having a great time with my friends!

[By the way if you couldn’t tell, I was Wednesday from the Addams family and a dead Breakfast at Tiffany’s Audrey Hepburn]

Tunes

Kings of Leon cover Robyn’s Dancing on My Own

I’ve had this song ON REPEAT! I love K.O.L and this song just fits them sooooo perfectly!

EDEN

I’m basically just loving everything from these guys. I love listening to them when I’m writing and have a cup of tea in hand. I don’t know, I guess perfection does exist!

Vloggers & Bloggers

Well after BufferFest I went on a YouTube BINGE and found some pretty awesome creators!

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Damn guys get onto this! I was lucky enough to meet Dan at Buffer Fest and he’s a creator from Montreal. I love his style and his personality is so genuine! He’s definitely inspired me to be more comfortable and ‘myself’ in front of the camera! You can subscribe to his channel here!

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Logal Paul

OK so you know me, I’m always a little late to the party, but now that I’m here… OMG! This guy is the epitome of entertainment. He’s probably definitely slightly very crazy. But he’s 21 years old and is carving his way in the extremely competitive world of Hollywood and damn he works hard for it. This past weekend I’ve binge watched about 15 of his videos so if you’re in need of a laugh – be sure to check this guy out.

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Reads

So this month I was on a bit of a streak with books (I’ve been actively trying to read more because damn isn’t that feeling of accomplishment amazing when you finish a book?!).

‘Modern Romance’ by Aziz Ansari.

OMG this book is way too real for anyone who has tried Tinder, waited a significant amount of time to text someone back or just caught in the delusional world of modern dating. What I love about this book is that it’s not just someone’s opinion – whilst he is absolutely hilarious! But he conducted a significant amount of research with sociologist, Eric Klinenberg. I flicked through this book in just three days and I’d highly recommend it to anyone.

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‘You Can’t Touch My Hair’ by Phoebe Robinson

This is a great page turner. It’s light hearted yet addresses very serious issues of race. As someone who has benefitted immensely from white privilege, reading this book is extremely eye opening to the every day, casual racist behaviours inflicted on people of colour. At some points I wish that she had dug deeper and really hit the nail on the head, but I guess it wasn’t meant to be one of those books. This is her experience and thoughts on black culture and it was incredibly enlightening.

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Quote

This one has really been resonating with me lately. I’m at this weird stage where I’ll be packing up and leaving this newly created life before I know it. But I feel like I haven’t exactly left my mark here yet. The friendships I’ve been lucky enough to create have meant so much to me and I’m incredibly grateful. And I guess I’ve been reflecting on past experiences (when I lived in London). Over time you forget the little details but you know how much people mean to you because that’s something truly unforgettable.

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Well…. October. DAMN! November, you better be AMAZING because you’ve got a lot to live up to!

xxx A

 

 

 

My Epic Travel Plans: JUNE – AUGUST

“I’m in love with cities I’ve never been to and people I’ve never met.”

After putting some plans into action, I can finally reveal to you my incredibly exciting plans for the next few months! One of the best things about travel is planning. And one of the other good things is actually making these plans come to life! Now, it’s just a matter of time.

24th June: Sydney -> Manila (one night stopover)

25th June: Manila -> London (I’m back baby!)

26th June – 3rd July: LONDON! I’m talking visiting old friends, visiting my old house, my old local pub and my old stomping ground which is East London. I’m also talking visiting friends that I haven’t seen for years, and visiting places I didn’t get to go when I was there in 2013.

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Hamstead Heath, London. One of my favourite places. Source

3rd July – 29th July – La Rochelle, France. So I’m spending a month in France doing an AIM Overseas Short Course. For 4 weeks I’ll be living, learning and breathing everything French. I’ll be studying French language every morning, and be doing cultural activities like tasting wine and cheese in the afternoon. This is where I’ll be for Bastille Day and my birthday! I’m a little nervous because I haven’t studied French for the past 6 months but I think there’s only one way to learn… and that’s do as the French do.

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The beautiful streets of La Rochelle! Source

29th July – 12th August: Roadtrip/Epic Adventures! I don’t have any locked in plans as of yet, but that’s always fun, just to wing it a little and see where I end up. I may go north to Rennes, Mont St Michel or Dinan. I may go south to Toulouse, Bayonne and end up in Spain in San Sebastian. Or I may go south east and go to Nice, Cannes and through to Italy. Wherever I go and whoever I’m with, I know I’ll have an awesome time!

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San Sebastian, Spain… who knows where I’ll end up? Source

12th August – 18th August: ICELAND! I am beyond ridiculously excited to go back to Iceland! I was there in Winter of 2014 where I nearly froze to death. This year, I’ll be returning in Summer (where it’s still likely to be cold) but nonetheless… I’m determined to get out there and discover all that this unique country has to offer. I’m planning on visiting friends, chasing waterfalls and swimming in natural thermal hot springs! Watch out Iceland!

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Akureyri, Iceland. Source

18th August —- MONTREAL! As of the 18th of August, I’ll be in Montreal. I’ll be here until late December as an exchange student at the University of Concordia! A part from having to organise where I’m going to be living during this time, everything is coming together nicely and I freakin’ cannot wait!

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Cannot wait to explore French Canada! Source 

And from there, who knows? But hey, I think that’s the best part!