The Best Things I Did in Montréal

My favourite things from 1.5 days in Montréal in June, 2023 🍁

We started our trip off in Montréal, Québec .

We had a nice smooth trip out and I enjoyed the flight as much as it is possible for me to enjoy a 7 hour flight [1]. I got to watch almost all of the second (and last, very sad because I love it) season of Avenue 5 and Champions which was pretty great. When we got to Montréal it was HOT AF, 32 degrees and super humid.

Don’t worry, I am going to spare you a full travel diary… and just share my highlights!

Basilica Notre Dame AURA Show

We did this our first night and it was spectacular. I am a sucker for a light show set to stirring music and the setting for this one is hard to beat, the cathedral is stunning. Whether you are religious or not (I’m not) you’ll find yourself moved this experience.

They also do put the normal lights on at the end so you get a bit of a chance to take in the surroundings without the fancy light effects.

Notre Dame Basilica, Montreal - AURA


So getting up there was an ordeal. I had a masterplan to get the metro and a bus up to save Mum’s knees but once we got out the metro we found all the buses were rerouted and on huge delays, and then once we got on one, that they weren’t going up to the summit at the moment because of resurfacing the road!

We ended up having to walk up in the end, which aside from my taking us in the wrong direction for a bit, was actually not that bad a walk up the steps as I’d feared! We did start from the track at the base in the park and not the one at the city entrance.

It was worth it for the views, and the Canada Dry and ice lolly I got at the top!

I hate photos of myself usually but I like this one and also all my other photos of this were just boring views lol they’re more exciting in person I promise!

Museum of Fine Arts

I loved this place. It had been so long since I’d been to an art museum and I’d really forgotten how much I enjoy them. Mum was not so entranced by the modern art pieces but I think she liked the other stuff! It was particularly cool to learn about some Canadian artists, this was my introduction to the “Group of Seven.”

These were two of the pieces that I keep thinking about. I’m no art student but the blue one (because I never thought to note its name or artist!) fascinates me because it looks super basic but I know it takes a lot of skill to create something like that. It’s mesmerising. The other is Dead Dad by Ron Mueck and it was so haunting in person.

Bagel at the Hinnawi Bros

I had the New York one (I think) and it was super delicious. Messy to eat but so good. Ordering this was a real test of my Year 7 French, long forgotten and was never good anyway, but I did remember that “oeuf” was egg. This was only day two and we were still acclimatising to the French, by the time we left Québec I was feeling a little more confident with it, at least enough to have a pretty good idea of menu items!

I was very hungry, in my haste to eat the thing I took this fuzzy crappy photo!

The Cirque du Soleil Echo show

I have never been to Cirque du Soleil before, and I actually had no idea they were in Montréal! [2] We just spotted the big tent when we were exploring the Old Port area the night before and were able to get a couple of tickets.

It was incredible. They’re doing things that do not seem humanly possible. I thought people were going to die about five times. I understand why the tickets are so pricey because you’re watching those people dice with death every night!

I would absolutely go again!

The View from our hotel room

This was a special once-in-a-lifetime trip, which had been 3 years in the planning, so Mum and I had decided to splash out on some nicer hotel rooms for some of our stays (not all of them, believe me!). Montréal was the first of our Fairmont stays and we had a free room upgrade to one with a better view. This one was pretty cool!

Next up: my Québec City highlights (spoiler: I am in love with Québec.)


[1] The best flight I ever had was actually a 9 hour flight to from London to Vancouver where half the plane was empty (I think because most of the passengers had a missed connection) and I got a full row to myself in an almost empty cabin and it was bloody glorious. I watched Disaster Artist, Baywatch, Spider-man: Homecoming and Jumanji Welcome To The Jungle and just had the time of my life. It was better than winning the lottery. (Flight home however was hell). [back]

[2] I learned that it was was founded (invented? born?) in Québec ! So an absolutely fitting French Canadian activity! [back]

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  • A.S. Akkalon

    That sounds like a fantastic trip! I’ve never been to Montreal. The closest I’ve come is Vancouver (which I’m guessing is not that close), and that was for work. I did meet some raccoons, though.
    I would love to see Cirque du Soleil, but somehow I’ve never managed.

    • Alice

      I also went to Vancouver for work and I honestly wasn’t that impressed with it, but I was there alone and spending two weeks in the office and only had a free weekend to explore. Best bit was I did try all the Ben & Jerry’s flavours we don’t get in the UK!

      Vancouver is on the West Coast, the East Coast is a different vibe especially Quebec province where French is the first language.

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