Flags waving on a windy morning in Montreal. Photo by me.
I’ve never known a family vacation that one would call relaxing. Maybe I’m just too young to remember those times, but ever since I can recall my family and I have always taken intense vacations. The kind where you wake up at 8 am every morning (I’m not a morning person, so this is early for me.) to make the tours and trips we have planned. They involve lots of car rentals and reservations. The kind where you better bring walking shoes because if you don’t your whining won’t influence the decision to walk 10 miles a day over cobblestones. The kind where you feel more exhausted when you get back than when you left.
We’ve never slept in and moseyed to the beach whenever we felt like it. That’s not our kind of vacation.
My parents, both from small towns in Montana, apparently got it into their minds that they’ve got a lot of traveling to do and they’re bringing us along.
As a kid, I was always grateful to see new places. But as an adult—with a bit of a shopping addiction—I’m even more grateful.
I guess this is a long way of telling you that when my family visited me in July, there’s no way we’d all be satisfied with just Boston. We took our talents to the Great White North, the French-speaking province to be exact.
We’d heard that Montreal was like Europe, especially Paris. Being Francophiles, we couldn’t wait to check it out.
One Parisian-feeling building near the Vieux Port. Photo by me.
In some ways it was like Paris: I was eager to go to Big in Japan, a bar/gastropub recently profiled in Conde Nast Traveler. So much so that I made my entire family get dressed up after a day of traveling and stress. However, when we arrived the place was dark and a note on the window informed us that the bar was on vacation until the very day we were scheduled to leave. (That was not our first encounter with the European-style vacation notice.)
In some ways it wasn’t: The area we called home felt more like Seattle with the amount of dreadlocks, street art and trash.
Nevertheless, it was a new place for us to explore. We took to Montreal by sea, by foot and by table.