When others are taking off for warm sunny beaches and looking to awaken their bodies from the winter doldrums, I say, buck the trend. I say, go deeper into winter. Head North to a lovely town called Montreal.
Last week my husband and I spent a few days in Montreal. Little did we realize when booking the trip that we were chasing winter. We made a small mistake when we got married nine years ago. As Midwesterners we chose to have a destination wedding in Puerto Vallarta in March. It was wonderful. However, now we are left to celebrate our anniversary in one of the worst months of the year for the Midwest. If you go north, you find winter. If you stay in the Midwest, you are slushing through the big melt and if you dare to fly south, prepare to pay outlandish prices for tickets and hotels.
This year we chose to chase winter and ended up in Montreal. For a skin cancer survivor it might be the best place on earth. Still grey and snowy, we were able to bundle up and walk along the romantic cobblestone streets of Old Montreal. Truly a movie scene, the tight roads are lined with beautiful stone buildings and an echo of the history of life that has passed along the same sidewalks.
If you are a food lover, you can’t go wrong in Montreal. A wonderful mix of French cuisines and European influences will delight your palate. Traditional European breakfasts abounding with proteins and cheeses and accented with flakey buttery croissants. Amazing coffee and the constant whisper of French wafting past your ear like a romantic song. I find myself transported back in time until I start to observe my surroundings.
Inside these historic facades lies intense, modern art. Techniques I’ve never seen before incorporating graffiti and pop art into lovely oils. Prints with passion and animal eyes so full of life they are calling me in from the sidewalk.
The next shop is an artful array of couture and ready to wear combined into one space with a dynamic stylist ready to read your size with just a glance. Immediately you are Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman and there staring back at you in a mirror is the hipper, more fabulous Montreal version of yourself.
Montreal combines the energy and feel of two of my favorite US cities: New York and Chicago. The city has a similar feel and vibe as Chicago. It is easily accessible. Lots of open park space and an intricate architectural marriage of old stone walkups and modern glass and steel skyscrapers. The people are kind and open and always welcome to a quick chat about their dog or attire or recommendation of a restaurant. But the city has this amazing hipster vibe that reminds me of the energy of New York. The style of the people is unique, tough and very fem-fatal. The art is very avant garde. The food scene is rich and abounding with fabulous neighborhood delights you can easily fall into and ner depart until fully satiated hours later.
So I say, go north and discover a piece of the world that will welcome you, embrace you and turn you out well rested, well fed and more glamorous than ever.
Sleep: Hotel Nelligan