My Superstar Sighting - Montreal
Picture this. It's your very first trip to Montreal and you are excited AF to explore every square inch of the city. So you strap on your comfiest kicks and saunter happily downtown until you encounter a massive crowd along trendy Saint Catherine Street. You have 2 choices:
Cross the police barricades and join the festivities, protest, or mob? Or skedaddle as quickly as possible to avoid a possible melee.
Barricades are somewhat foreboding to clueless tourists like me so I simply detoured without knowing what I had potentially missed or dodged. I didn't care either way since I was determined to see downtown Montreal without further interruption.
After 6 hours, my blistered feet headed back to the potentially-charged scene, where several dozen people still stood. My gut told me to stay put this time since I didn't feel threatened. Blockades disappeared. Crowd dissipated. Zero police presence. Why were people still lurking?
I'm not one to get starry-eyed when movie stars, singers, or TV personalities cross my path. Unless it's Anthony Bourdain of course. Then all bets are off. But I was uncharacteristically gobsmacked once I heard that Celine Dion was within reach. Gulp.
That's me. Dead center. Trying to catch a glimpse of Canadian royalty. I couldn't see beyond countless iPhone-toting fans who were MUCH TALLER (like the 7-foot guy behind me) and a lot closer to Celine than I was. I almost wrote this off as a NON-sighting until Ms. Dion emerged from her moonroof.
Despite the height disadvantage, I held my camera high above my head and miraculously captured footage of this global megastar. Right place. Right time? The travel gods clearly had my back.
I am still smiling from the spontaneous sighting that catapulted this Canadian stop to another level entirely. Who knew that stepping beyond airport customs and TSA checkpoints would lead to such an unforgettable experience. With that in mind...
Can you imagine connecting through the same airport multiple times without ever exploring the surrounding city? I headed back to Montreal to see what I've been missing. The following compilation video covers my 4-day trek through many hotspots in Old Town Montreal and its surrounding neighborhoods. Footage includes Saint Catherine Street, Parc Mont Royale, Marche Bonsecours, Vieux-Port, Saint Catherine Street, Biosphere, and Notre Dame Basilica, where Celine Dion got married. How fitting!
Many people ask about trip recommendations. So I crafted the following list (with several photos) to kick-start your pre-planning efforts. Happy planning!
To access photo highlights, click here.
Kampai Garden - Downtown Montreal
Terraze Nelligan (Hotel Nelligan) - Old Montreal
Auberge Bonaparte (Hotel Bonaparte) - Old Montreal
Chez Suzette Crepes and Fondues - Old Montreal
Place Montreal Trust
Centre Eaton Montreal
Cool Things to Do:
Ziplining - Quai de l'Horloge - Vieux-Port
La Grande Roue de Montreal - Quai de l'Horloge - Vieux-Port
Champs de Mars - Le Grand Tableau Cite Memoire (Outdoor film after dusk)
Biosphere - Parc Jean-Drapeau - Saint Helen's Island
Hotel de ville
Vieux-Port de Montreal
Basilique Notre-Dame de Montreal
Parc Mont Royal - Note: Visit the Chalet du Mont Royal to view the downtown skyline.
1) Airport transportation options: I spent roughly 40 CAD (including tip) from Montreal Airport to Hotel Nouvel (downtown Montreal) via taxi. On the way back, I took bus line 747 for only 10 CAD (coins only). Plan accordingly since there will be numerous stops en route to Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport.
2) Metro Pass: If you're going to use the metro more than 3 times in one day, purchase the all day metro pass for 10 CAD from the station agent.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”