THE MONTREAL VACATION HOME
This past year I had the distinct pleasure of getting to meet a colleague of mine from Texas who made the decision a few years back to invest in a vacation home here in the Le Plateau neighborhood of Montreal. She originally came to visit Montreal in the fall of 2000 and loved it so much, she returned and rented a place in the Plateau for 30 days in August of 2002. Finally, in May of 2006, after contemplating for several years, she and her husband took the plunge, purchasing a lovely pied à terre by Le Fontaine Park in Le Plateau. For years now, they have enjoyed spending their summer months in our beautiful city and consider it one of their best kept secrets. I guess that is until now! She recently created a website that tells the story of her Montreal journey along with sharing some great information about what to see and where to go when in Montreal. This is her open love letter to Montréal!
Here’s an excerp from her “Love Letter To Montreal” by my fellow realtor and colleague in Texas, Judy Thompson.
Discovering the city
THERE ARE TOO MANY wonderful things about our Montreal life to list but I love shopping for fresh fruit and vegetables in our neighborhood La Fruiterie du Plateau, or at Atwater Market or Jean-Talon Market (don’t miss the Tourism Montreal video) in Little Italy. Other favorite things are dim sum in Chinatown at Kam Fung, lunch at L’Express, dinner at a Portuguese or Greek restaurant, St. Louis Square with its truly beautiful French-style fountain and flowers and dinner on Prince Arthur Street at Les Deux Gamins.
ON A TYPICAL MORNING I go out early to buy a newspaper and fresh bread then go home to fix breakfast with blueberries or other local produce (Ontario peaches are especially delicious). On special occasions we might eat breakfast at local favorites Cafe Cherrier or l’Avenue. A new spot for breakfast is Gonzo Cafe on rue Duluth and the always-wonderful Tot ou Tard is one of our favorites for any meal..
THE REMAINDER of our days are spent exploring different parts of the city such as Mile-End, having afternoon coffee and pastry at a coffeehouse, riding Bixis to Old Montreal and along the Lachine Canal, meeting friends at Else’s, Bily Kun, or L’Barouf, walking to the top of Mount Royal, and ending up at McGill University. In the evening, we occasionally take in the free production at Theatre Verdure, (now closed for renovation) an open-air performance theater in Parc La Fontaine. Other options are tours by Local Montreal, a Fitz and Folwell bike tour or one by these providers: Spade & Palacio, Dyad, GuideaTour or Excursions Montreal. Here is a good self-guided Plateau walking tour. And don’t miss the jet-boat over the rapids if it’s a hot day!.
IF YOU LOVE CYCLING Montreal has 300+ miles of dedicated bike paths and has been rated the best city in North America for cycling. In August 2007 Quebec inaugurated the amazing Route Verte, a vast network of bicycle paths that extends 3000+ miles through the province, passing through 300+ municipalities, a cyclist’s dream. If not owning a car appeals to you from a climate change perspective, you’ll love this: 97% of Montreal’s electricity is generated by Hydro-Quebec, which produces power from dammed water and turbines, not coal or natural gas.
THERE ARE MANY WONDERFUL PLACES TO STAY, especially on the Plateau and in Old Montreal. PLATEAU LODGING: Anne ma souer Anne, Auberge de la Fontaine, Bienvenue B&B, Boulanger Bassin B&B, Casa Bianca, Gingerbread Manor, Gizella, Hotel de l’Institut, Hotel Kutuma, Le Gite to name a few, OLD MONTREAL LODGING: Auberge Bonaparte, Auberge du Vieux-Port, Auberge Pierre Calvet (Benjamin Franklin visited), Hotel Gault, Hotel Nelligan, Hotel Place ‘d Armes, Hotel St.James, Hotel St. Paul, Intercontinental, LHotel (my favorite), Le Petit Hotel, Le Saint Sulpice, the new William Gray, W Hotel and Westin.
You can read more about her journey about acquiring her vacation home in Montreal on her site.