Montreal

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Montreal is about as close as you’re going to get to Europe without crossing the Atlantic ocean. This city oozes regal appeal and old world charm. It is predominantly a French-speaking city, but just about everybody there speaks English as well.

I stayed at the Marriott Montreal Chateau Champlain, which was in the perfect location and had the most incredible views of the city. There was also a Starbuck’s on the first floor. Always a bonus in my case.

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Our first meal was at a restaurant on Rue Peel called Chez Alexandre. I enjoyed a couple cups of tea then experienced my first plate of l’escargo. Once you get past the texture, there’s really nothing but salt and butter. Not something I would want to eat with any type of regularity, but it’s fun to eat adventurously from time to time.

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We spent the next couple of hours exploring the upscale shops of Rue Peel (aka Peel St) and then found ourselves in the middle of the International Jazz Festival. This event is ranked the largest jazz festival in the world and attracts around 3,000 musicians and 2.5 million spectators every summer.

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I was attacked by creatures on stilts in the process, which was really rather terrifying.

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One of my favorite areas of Montreal was Old Montreal/ Old Port. Saint-Paul Street was made up of cobblestone roads and was home to countless art galleries which we spent a fair amount of time perusing through.

Dinner one night was at a Mexican restaurant called Carlos & Pepes. I got a huge banana daiquiri which did a wonderful job of filling me up to maximum capacity. I guess I got a little carried away with the lowered drinking age in Canada and forgot about eating real food. Oops.

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On our last day, we ventured out a little farther from Downtown Montreal and explored the area known as Plateau Mont Royal. The streets are lined with patisseries (pastry shops), boulangeries (bakeries) and cafes. We had lunch at a boulangerie called Premiere Moisson and filled up a box of delicious pastries to bring home. Much was missing from the box by the time we actually arrived home…. I wonder where it could have gone?

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