The writer (front) during a bike ride with her family. // © 2017 Claire Howes
Feature image (above): The Montreal Clock Tower is located in the city’s Old Port. // © 2017 Claire Howes
Fresh air, rich flavor and a dash of European flair make this Canadian city the perfect family getaway.
From its vibrant flower boxes and beautiful cobblestone streets to its stunning architecture, the French-speaking city of Montreal offers a taste of Europe that’s easily accessible to any American with a car. The rich city life, scenic views and family-friendly environment make it the perfect getaway for anyone looking to be immersed in a rich and inviting culture.
Last year, my family spent a month in downtown Montreal. Because we were located in the heart of the city, we were able to live as the locals do and could walk to cafes and boulangeries to pick up fresh baguettes and croissants each morning. Fresh produce is sold around every corner in the city, which made for yummier (and healthier) eating while we were on vacation. We spent our afternoons playing cards and eating our delicious picnic lunches under the shade of the trees — it was a dream. Bike-rental stands and bike lanes are strategically placed around the city to promote energy-efficient transportation, which results in incredibly wheel-friend transit. Not to mention, parking is a breeze.
We spent much of our time by the Old Port in Old Town, walking along the St. Lawrence River and taking in the historical sights — the Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal was one of my favorites. After several hours of exploring, we never had any trouble finding a fantastic restaurant — including creperies, French cafes and Italian bistros __ or a refreshing ice cream stand. We also spent a day biking up to the top of Mount Royal, a small mountain in the city directly west of downtown, to take in the entire vista. It is quite a trek, but the view is incredible.
Our time in Montreal was exciting, relaxing and a great time to grow closer as a family. The people and sights are so welcoming, and I know this trip was definitely not our last.