Montreal Part II: Old Montreal and Atwater Market

Monday, our second day in Montreal, was bright and sunny with very little rain. There was the odd shower here and there, but nothing like Sunday. I’ve never seen rain so violent.

We began the day with breakfast at Cora’s. Kevin ordered a crepe plate with loads of fresh fruit and a slice of French toast buried underneath. I ordered a fruit smoothie and paired it with water + sprouted rice protein powder and a homemade grain-free blueberry muffin topped with organic raspberry jam and coconut butter that I’d brought from home.

It was delicious!

After breakfast, we headed back to the hotel to work for a couple of hours before we went exploring for the day.

Right before we left, I indulged in a bowl of almond yogurt with flax oil, ground flax seed and banana chunks.

To say I was excited about going to Atwater Market was an understatement.

If there’s anything I’ve learned about living a healthy life, it’s that you have to learn how to laugh with yourself. Just look at those flared nostrils and beady eyes! Ha, I crack myself up.

The concierge at the hotel provided us with a map which I used for about 2.4 seconds before dumping it in the trash and bringing up my maps app on my iPhone. I would die without that app, seriously. Montreal, Vancouver, London, India… I’m pretty sure I’d still be lost in Mumbai had I not had it with me.

The metro in Montreal is really easy to understand. The stations are within a close proximity to each other so you can always find a place to jump on, it’s well-priced, and comes often. Every place we chose to visit during our trip was on the line and easy to get to. A drastic change from the public transportation in Calgary.

A couple of stops East of our hotel was Old Montreal, the oldest area in Montreal dating back to the 1600’s. I’d visited Old Montreal as a teenager with my family when we’d stopped for a couple of days on our way to Maine one summer. I remember it being magical, romantic, full of life… and cute French boys. Hey, I’m just being honest!

Going as an adult was much different. This time, I marveled at the architecture.

We wanted to explore Notre Dame Basilica, but with an entry free of $5 a person, we chose to sit on the steps and sift through pictures of the basilica using our iPhones instead.

It was the next best thing if you ask me!

I could have explored all day but we were on a schedule so had to hurry along to see everything we’d wanted to see before Kevin returned to work on Tuesday.

We hopped on the metro and headed to Lionel-Groulx station, a couple of blocks North of Atwater Market.

We walked passed Eglise Sainte-Irène, a church on Atwater Avenue, and decided to step in to check it out. It was no basilica, but it was gorgeous nonetheless!

A couple minutes walk and we were there, Atwater market at it’s finest!

There were rows of fresh berries,

golden corn,

endless garlic, green beans and spices,

gorgeous pastries,

and a couple of gluten-free items, too!

The market itself was pretty small. With all the outstanding reviews I’d heard of the place, I imagined it being filled with endless rows of farmers, merchants, and the like, music, flowers and shops… but it wasn’t. It was nice, and had good produce, but I felt like the magic I’d imagined was missing.

Thankfully, I shared my thoughts on Facebook and many of you suggested I check out Jean-Talon, another market in the city. And boy, were you right…

It was the BOMB!

But that’s a story for another day.

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  1. Great pics Leanne! That is quite the paparazzi lens that Kevin’s got on his camera! I also couldn’t live without my maps app on my iPhone. That thing is a lifesaver (especially when I first Google map something on my computer and forget to look at the reverse route to make sure I can get home, which is very often!) Your trip to Cora’s sounds like it was a great one. I always love to get the Samira Wake-Up (ie a massive fruit platter) when I’m there, with a poached egg on the side (just for a bit of protein lol!). Can’t wait to see your trip to the other market!

    • That paparazzi lens is our 24-70mm on his Canon 7D. We bought the camera and lens for the blog and when I’m not taking pictures of my recipes, he uses it. It’s great for when we go out on our little adventures. I take my old camera with 50mm lens and grab all the close up shots, and he does the further away ones. We’re a great photog team!

      I’ve never seen Samira Wake-Up! I’ll have to give it a try next time. The breakfast options are limited in Airdrie so we usually end up going to Cora’s when I’m too lazy to cook or plan to meet up with friends for brunch.

      Oh, you’ll LOVE the other market. You have to go one day ;)

  2. So fun to read about your travels in Montreal. Good friends of mine lived there for the past 2 years and I was able to make it up several times to visit. Going to the market was one of my favourite things! I would always go up for Thanksgiving – so we got to pick up a lot of delicious food for our Thanksgiving dinner. Look forward to your next post!

    On another note… I think it’s great you bring your own food to restaurants and combine with what they have! Do you ever get comments from the waitresses? I am always hesitant to do so!

    • Yum, I bet the markets are buzzing with activity around that time. How fun!

      Regarding bringing food from home – I do it ALL the time. I’ve never had an issue. Most times, the waitress/waiter is just curious about what I’ve brought. Then I talk about my allergies, the blog, and my approach to healthy eating. It generally always sparks a pleasant conversation with staff and other restaurant goers. It’s a bit challenging to find a place that is open to adding my protein powders to their smoothies while they’re making it though. I’ve only ever had one place allow me to do it… and it was in India!

  3. haha love the last picture of you! Sounds like a fun day you had in Montreal, I’ve been once as I went to school in Vermont and lived pretty close to the border. I loved how it felt like a little piece of Europe!

    • I was so happy to be back at our station! Walking around Montreal with a broken toe was so exhausting. I jumped for joy when we got close to our hotel! You’re right, it feels a lot like Europe for sure :)

    • It’s an optical illusion! My side shave is a bit thicker now so you can’t really tell it’s shaven, but it’s still there! Each time it grows out long I think I want to grow it out, then I miss it short and shave it again. I would imagine it will be a real pain when I decide to grow it out all the way.

  4. I literally want to dive into your picture of the crepes!! lol. Looks like you had a blast, Montreal is SO much fun! Bonus that they have good eats all around.

  5. RIGHT ON! That’s exactly what I was thinking, you picked the wrong market. Jean-Talon is really where it’s at (altought again, I’ve never been myself… starting to wonder whether or not I really live in the Montreal area?!?)

    Given the brilliant way with which you write about my native city, I can’t wait to hear what you have to say about Marché Jean-Talon. I’ve been wanting to go for so long now, I’m seriously considering heading there this coming Sunday. Hopefully I get to read your review before then! :)

    • You’ve never been? You must! This Sunday, do it up. There is so much produce and amazingness. You’d love it, I promise :)

  6. LOVE Montreal, this post makes me want to go back to visit so bad! I used to attend a college near the Canadian border in NY state, and Montreal was so much fun. Great food city! Thank you so much for sharing!

    • You’re right, such amazing food! Thanks for visiting, Brandon. Yours is absolutely amazing! I’ve been surfing around it for the last 20 minutes, great site :)

  7. Looks like you and Kevin had a wonderful time exploring! And I totally wish I had that app that you mentioned. I got SUPER lost today on an interstate and ended up going into the burbs of Chicago (I live two hours away from Chicago…) when I was just trying to get home, by myself! If there is one thing that I have a really hard time handling, it’s getting lost. Luckily my mom was so sweet and patient with me on the phone and helped me get home :)

    I can’t wait to see your post about the other market! I bet it was amazing!

  8. Jean Talon is the best!! You can’t go to Montréal and didn’t go there!!! I’m from Trois-Rivières (Qc) but at each time we go to Montréal we go to Jean Talon. One time I go to Atwater and I was like….what is this ? you know…that’s totally different. I hope you taste sorbets at Havre des glaces !! Sorry for my english

  9. First of all, you are absolutely adorable!

    Even though I would tune in to your blog for the recipes and your writing, the pictures alone would make me visit your site. They are amazing, Leanne. Love reading about your travels.

  10. Sounds like a fabulous trip. I’ve never been to Montreal. Actually, I’ve never been to Canada at all…….except one time when we slipped across international waters in a whale watching boat from Orcas Island. Your pics are beautiful and fun.

  11. So inspiring, reading & seeing the wonderful pics you show here! A pic says more than 1000 words :) Liebe Grüße from Germany.

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