View of Montreal from Parc du Mont Royal
This is the fifth post in the Montreal Jazz Festival Weekend series. Other posts include New Series! Montreal Jazz Festival Weekend, L'Express Montreal, A Tour of Montreal Bakeries and Bagel Shops, and Lawrence.
Let's face it. Our purpose for visiting Montreal was two-fold.
There was the Jazz Festival that was going on that weekend, and we made sure to spend our evenings checking out different concerts and fully taking in the experience. However, we were also in Montreal for its fantastic food and culture. We planned our days around our meals and various food destinations.
Of course, you can't just eat all day, so you have to find activities to do during those off times between meals. Here are two great places we found to visit and explore: Market Jean-Talon and Parc du Mont Royal.
- Market Jean-Talon
Market Jean-Talon is one of the largest public markets in North America. Located in Montreal's Little Italy area, this huge farmers market not only sells produce, it includes dozens of stands and shops that sell flowers, prepared foods, meats, and all sorts of baked goods.
Baskets of strawberries, capeberries, and tomatoes!
So many different freshly squeezed juice options!
Edible zucchini flowers!
Many other plants.
There are also many meat vendors, both right inside the covered part of the market as well as in the shops outside.
I was totally blown away by the variety here!
If we hadn't eaten lunch already, I would have loved to stop here and taste some local Prince Edward Island raw oysters!
The Maple Sugar Pie is a local favorite. It's sort of like a pecan pie, but without the pecans and with maple syrup instead (though there are definitely versions that include nuts, often walnuts).
Hee hee, I just thought the fondant Lego man at this bakery was cute.
Surrounding the huge open market space are boutique shops that sell cured meats, cheese, spices, and all sorts of other artisanal products. The market is open year-round (yes, there's a HUGE indoor area), and there are multiple parking garages.
We saw some crazy hot peppers for sale at one of the spice shops. Can you believe this chili pepper is rated on a heat scale of 28/10??! Scotch Bonnet, which is already known to be crazy hot, is only rated a 9/10.
All in all, walking around Market Jean-Talon is a fun way to spend a couple hours of an afternoon while visiting Montreal. You could pick up all sorts of souvenirs and gifts and also sample some fun little bites.
2. Mont Royal
Montreal is named after Mont Royal (Mount Royal), the large hill that sits just west of downtown Montreal.
The large hill includes Parc du Mont Royal, the largest green space in the city.
It's a walkable hike to the top, taking about 45-minutes. Cyclists also enjoy riding their bikes up the road which leads to the top. Finally, if you're short on time (or just tired and don't feel like getting super sweaty), you can also drive to the top (there's plenty of parking) or take the number 11 bus.
At the top there are several places to visit. The Chalet is a large building near one of the lookouts that often hosts events.
The lookout area is a great place to sit, enjoy some snacks, and just enjoy the view.While we were there, they even had a public piano outside that different people were playing.
Of course, the main reason to come up here is for the view! You can see all of Montreal and the surrounding areas.
You can take walking trails that lead to other sites, like Beaver Lake, which was under construction when we visited.
All in all, Mont Royal is definitely one of those "must-visits" if you've never visited Montreal. Not only does it give you the best view of downtown Montreal, it also gives you the opportunity to enjoy the green space, get some exercise, and just relax.
Next time, I would love to pick up some fun picnic foods from Market Jean-Talon and enjoy a relaxing lunch outside (weather permitting, of course!)