Paris is a bucket list destination that so many of us dream of visiting one day. I envision lunches in outdoor cafés, where I’ll eat endless ham croissants and sip lattes. Sometimes I wonder when I’ll be able to get there, as it can seem like a distant destination from all the way here in Jamaica. I also don’t know a lick of French, but I think a basic understanding of the language will help. Maybe we can go learn French and also find some fun things to do in Montreal?
Image via Flickr by abdallah
I’m willing to bet that Montreal has never popped into your mind when thinking of places to visit. However, it’s so much closer to this side of the world, and more than half of the population speaks both English and French. That gives you a chance to dip your toes into a place where French language and culture are predominant. Montreal is Canada’s second-largest city and the second-largest French-speaking city in the world, after Paris. If you’re serious about visiting Paris or anywhere in France, especially long-term, then it would be a great idea to plan an initial visit to Montreal and begin to immerse yourself in French.
Things to Do in Montreal
Image via Flickr by art_inthecity
What will you do in Montreal? There’s plenty to choose from! This guide to Montreal covers everything from breakfast to nightlife with hiking and shopping in between. The Underground City is a great place to start, especially if you’re visiting during those brutal winter months. It’s a 20-mile city beneath the city, featuring movie theatres, a skating rink, shopping,
eateries, art galleries, cafés, and even hotels. I would definitely plan a day at La Ronde Six Flags, too.
Where to Go Learn French in Montreal
Of course, the whole purpose of our trip to Montreal is to learn some French. In addition to totally immersing yourself in the language and culture by striking up conversations and visiting local festivals, it would be a great idea to take a class or two. The Sprach Caffe has a bunch of one-week courses to help you get around on your educational getaway. One of the courses is a one-on- one session, which would be a great treat to fast-track your French if you’re a quick learner. Of course, engaging with the city will also help you to pick up the language, too.
One of the best ways to dive into a city is to hang out where the locals spend time. Strike up a conversation by asking for recommendations or by joining in on a group activity such as a board game. Here’s a list of 15 casual spots reviewed by people who’ve visited them. You’ll find everything from ice cream bars and coffee shops to Spanish diners and dives with live music.
Montreal is a large, eclectic city that will satisfy your French dreams without taking you too far from home. Let me know if I’ve convinced you to add this city to your list. Hopefully, you’ll find lots of other fun things to do in Montreal!
And if you’re in the mood for a beachy vacation, check out my guide here on things to do in Monterey, California.