I've made no secret of the fact that I love Montreal — make that LOVE Montreal. It's one of those cities that just clicked for me, in part because it's such a beautiful and fun place to be in the summer (see reasons why here!). I admittedly haven't visited Montreal in the winter, but I figure that's okay. I'm good for now 😊
Over the years, I've traveled to Montreal five times, most recently during this past Fourth of July holiday for the International Jazz Festival. Sometimes I stay in Montreal the entire time and sometimes, like this last trip, I venture out of Montreal to explore a new place in Quebec. I still have many places to see in the region, but I've come to realize that I not only LOVE Montreal, I LOVE Quebec as well!
Seeing as how it's Canada's 150th and Montreal's 375th anniversaries, I decided to round up all the reasons I love Quebec, Canada:
The Ubiquitous French Spoken Everywhere
I like to think I'm a Francophile, although these days I may be more of an Anglophile. Regardless, I love French things and feel almost a sense of comfort when I'm in a francophone city. I get to practice a little of my increasingly pitiful French and read every sign out loud in my questionable accent. It's great. Quebec is no exception. People speak to you in French first and you can continue to converse with them in this way or ask "Parlez
The Wine! The Cheese! Did I Mention the Wine?
Did you know there are almost 50 wineries in Quebec? Winos, head to Quebec! Not only are there a number of wineries but there's also a number of varieties of wine. Québécois vineyards cover everything from the super sweet ice wine to the dry sparkling wine, produced using the méthode champenoise. There are also several fromageries where you can try some fantastic locally made cheese. During my most recent trip to Quebec, I did a wine tasting at Le Cep d'Argent and tried several cheeses (and an amaaazing grilled cheese sandwich with maple and pear jam) at Fromagerie La Station. Basically I was in heaven.
The Food in General
Aside from the wine and cheese is the rest of the food of Quebec, which is pretty fantastic. The crepes, the steak frites, the poutine...yes, even the poutine...I always find a great meal every time I'm in Quebec. Some of my favorites so far include Au Pied de Cochon, Le Dépanneur Café, Holder Restaurant and Juliette et Chocolat in Montreal and Le Billig Creperie in Quebec City. But there are so many other places where I've eaten, and the food has been fantastic.
The Beautiful Countryside
Montreal is a wonderful city, but I recommend leaving it for at least a little bit, if you have the time, to enjoy Quebec's amazing countryside. I'm a city girl at heart but increasingly I find myself loving the peace and quiet of the country. During my recent trip from Montreal to the Eastern Townships, I loved looking out the window at the green fields, occasional cows and horses (my favorite!) and mountains rising up in the distance. I also enjoyed walking in the fresh air and passing by Quebec's beautiful lakes. It's all worth experiencing at least once!
The Quaint Streets of Montreal and Quebec City
One of the things I love about Quebec is how much it feels like France in some areas. In fact, I have the below photo framed in black and white in my apartment and, whenever visitors try to guess the location, they always say France. It's one of the unique aspects of this region – the blend of North America and Europe that feels not quite like you're in France but not quite like you're in Canada, even though that's technically where you are. I've never come across another place like Quebec in this way.
The Array of Things to Do
I know a lot of cities have festivals but surely Quebec is the King of Festivals. Montreal alone must have about 100 over the course of four months, or at least it feels that way. Then there are the festivals in Quebec City and other nearby towns. I truly believe there is something for everyone in Quebec. Literally, everyone. From Comic Con to Cirque du Soleil to museums to cycling to concerts to food festivals to art fairs to so many other things I don't have the space to name them all. Just trust me when I say you will find something you like to do in Quebec. Except maybe dune bashing. Not sure they have that, BUT I wouldn't be surprised if they did.
For those living in the U.S., now is a fantastic time to visit Canada. The dollar has been strong the last few years and is still going very strong. At the time I visited, it was roughly $.77 USD to $1 CAD. Compared to many large cities in the U.S., Montreal and Quebec in general are both very affordable and have just as much if not more things to do! There are also many free events, making this a great place for anyone looking to travel on a budget or who just love a good deal.
Have I convinced you to visit Quebec yet? If not, here's another picture for you:
Until next time, Quebec!