Okay, I know that this blog generally caters to things in and around NYC, but I'm going to break the rules because I just have to tell you about this place. It's a place with a strong French influence and in my opinion has some of the best and most authentic French style and international cuisine in the continent! It also happens to be a very artsy place with great venues to choose from and some great shopping. I'm talking about the great Canadian city of Montreal.
Now when I say I'm breaking the rules, I mean it! I would encourage people to fly up there or take the dizzying 6 hour 30 minute drive all the way up. The train ride up there is over 10 hours so I would not recommend that! So just take the Northway (I-87) all the way up there.
To get around, the Société de transport de Montréal (STM) offers a decent bus and metro system spanning throughout much of the city (of course if you have a car, you can use that depending upon if the place you are going to is inaccessible via metro or bus. There is a downside though. Non of the trains or busses are air-conditioned... The trains have fans. So if you happen to go when there is a rare heat wave in the summer like I did, it can get very uncomfortable. The busses are worse because there are only windows, but I used the metro most of the time. The really awesome thing about the metro is that each station is filled with art. Each station has something different.
Now there is lots to do in this charming city, but I'm going to focus on a few places. Let's talk about the amazing and giant open-air markets. My favorite one of all is called the Jean-Talon market in the neighborhood of... you guessed it...Jean-Talon. You take the sleek metro orange line to Jean-Talon station. It's far from downtown, but the metro goes fast and there are several trains a day. Anyway, this market is about the size of a football field (I'm not exaggerating) offering the finest and freshest products from the province of Quebec, including amazing produce, local and international baked goods, and local maple syrup. Trust me, if you are a foody like myself, you can't afford to miss out on this. Jean-Talon also has the amazing chain bakery of Montreal, Premiere Moisson. In my opinion the best bakery in the world. Everything they make is amazing including signature handmade breads, pastries, and amazing sandwiches. The locations are scattered throughout the city and are consistant with each other, so just look for the Premiere Moisson nearest you. The other good market is the Atwater Market all the way across town. This market still has the amazing varieties of produce as Jean-Talon, but this place caters more toward meat, poutry, and other things. Atwater is good when it's freezing cold outside or on a rare hot day since there is an indoor area.
So these are some good markets to go to in Montreal. But I'm not done yet. Next post, I will be talking about a cool hip place to hangout and shop and also having some damn good Montreal bagels