Day 5: I’m in Love with a City

Montreal is such a cool city. There is such a variety of things to do. We started the day with a walk to Plateau and Mile End. We were in search of murals, colorful homes, poutine, bagels, and smoked meat sandwiches. 

Murals: the city has done an impressive job of encouraging mural street art. It can be found all over, but is especially prevalent in Plateau and Mile End. 

Colorful Homes: the Plateau area is home to colorful homes with steep stairs and little gardens. It is an instagrammer’s dream. 

Poutine: La Banquise is supposed to be the place for pouting, and I would agree. Other than the waitress spilling water on me twice, it was a great experience. The gravy and type of fries are what really make this place good.

Bagels: St. Viater is the place to get Montreal style bagels. Getting them in the Mile End neighborhood is unique because you get to see more of the Jewish neighborhood.

Smoked Meat Sandwich: Schwartz’s is the classic place to find this type of sandwich. It is basically a corned beef sandwich.

We needed a short nap after our hike around the city. This helped, but we decided to stop for coffee before the light show at Notre Dame. We found a little coffee shop called Tommy.

We bought tickets the day before for the Aura light show at Notre Dame. As I mentioned yesterday, this is one of my favorite churchs, but the light show made it even better. I found it to be an emotional experience that reminded me of what great achievements can be made through creativity. As if that wasn’t enough, we lingered to take photos, and the guy was nice enough to turn the lights on for us. It was just Michael and I in there. What an amazing feeling.

After having one of best moments so far on this trip, we decided to take a stroll in the night. Montreal has this awesome program called Cite Memoire. There are light shows projected all over the city with audio stories. We came across an interactive one in the alley that was mesmerizing. Feeling a bit hungry again, we stopped for pizza along the port. This was an amazing evening.

Paris by Métro: Cité

Ile de la CiteCité at a Glance



Tip=You may want to use the elevator when it is operating.

Sights Within 1 Kilometer:

*Website in French

Sight Details

Île de la Cité: Paris began on this island over 2,000 years ago.  The island is lively and full of tourists because of the major sights.  You are bound to hear some music as you stroll, or find a prankster hanging out by Notre-Dame.  If you look down in this area you will find Point Zero.  Every distance in France is measured from this location.

Bird and Flower Market: The flower market is open Monday through Saturday, but on Sunday you will hear the chirping of birds filling the space.  This market is found right outside the exit of the metro.

Archaeological Crypt: As time passes, dirt and dust collects building layers over the past.  The crypt shows a hidden world under the ground.  Since the island housed people over 2,000 years ago, there is history resting below our feet.  The remains feature Roman buildings along with the sewer.  Yum.

Seine/Quais: Since Île de la Cité is an island, it is surrounded by the Seine.  Find a good spot on a bridge and watch the ebb and flow of people travel down the river.  The quays along the Seine are perfect for strolling or a picnic.  Life is good watching the world go by on water.

Bouquinistes: Vintage books, posters, and affordable souvenirs can be found in the little green boxes lining the river.  You may come across an abundance of American pop culture, but if you dig through and visit several bouquinistes, you can find the perfect gift for someone else or yourself.

Palais de Justice: If you are trying to get into Sainte-Chapelle and you are confused about why you have to go through security, it is because the church is attached to the Palais de Justice.  The members of the French Supreme Court enters the building under the motto of Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité.

Sainte-Chapelle Church: This original home to the Crown of Thorns houses some of the most beautiful stained glass in the world.  Although the relic has moved down the block to Notre-Dame, the church is well worth a visit.  The color and Gothic style will shock any visitor.  The design is fluid and consistent due to the speedy construction, unlike other Gothic churches of the time period.

Conceirgerie: The former prison housed Marie-Antoinette before her date with the guillotine.

St. Séverin Church: This squat-looking church is a bit dingy on the outside, but allows for a closer view of gargoyles and stained glass.

Notre-Dame: The famous cathedral was saved by Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame.  Facing ruin, the story revived the interest in the great Gothic cathedral.  If you have energy left over after straining your neck upwards and walking around the grounds, get your workout by climbing the more than 400 steps up the tower to see the gargoyles face to face.  I think this is one of the best views of Paris.

Shakespeare and Company: Although this is not the original bookstore owned by Sylvia Beach that was frequented by James Joyce or Ernest Hemingway, it is a replica that keeps the spirit of the bookstore alive.  The originals no longer exist, but the values have been instilled in the current store.  Enjoy events where you can hear readings or maybe even see a celebrity.  If you buy a book, don’t forget to ask for the stamp inside the cover.

Sorbonne/Latin Quarter: The Latin Quarter is best known for the two major boulevards: St. Michel and St. Germain des Prés.  There is plenty of shopping and eating to be done on these streets, but sneaking in and out of the side streets reveals a picturesque, hidden side of the Latin Quarter.  I wish I could give you exact streets to walk down, but stumbling upon your own will be more enjoyable.

Hôtel de Ville: The city hall houses free exhibitions for the public.  The esplanade out front changes throughout the year.  Sometimes you will find sand while another time you might find a green space has taken over.

Pont Neuf: The bridge is not ornate, but it is known as the oldest bridge crossing the Seine in Paris.

Place Saint-Michel: The fountain has seen some challenging times in Paris history.  From uprisings against the Nazis to student demonstrations in 1968, the cove that forms Place Saint Michel has heard people standing up for what they believe in.  Venture through the streets in the surrounding area to find hidden corners of the Latin Quarter.

Cluny Museum: The former Roman baths have been converted into a museum with medieval art.  The museum is known for the tapestries called Lady and the Unicorn.  Who would have thought tapestries could be so naughty.

Deportation Memorial: Located behind Notre-Dame you will find a hidden memorial for the 200,000 people that were deported during World War II by the Vichy French.  Having a basic understanding of the occupation in France before visiting the memorial will create the context necessary for truly understanding the disgust of the time period.  As you walk through the memorial, pay close attention to how the architecture makes you feel.

Mémorial de la Shoah: Located in the Marais, this memorial educates the visitors about the holocaust while honoring the Jews that died.

Île St. Louis: This island is home to the best ice cream in Paris: Berthillon.  Walking the streets, you feel like you are in a village making it is easy to forget that you are in the city center.  Hear the accordion player in the background as you window shop with your glacé in hand.

Panthéon: The Panthéon is the resting place for many famous French such as Voltaire, Marie Curie ,and Victor Hugo.

Arab World Institute: The goal of the institute is to build an understanding between different cultures.  The unique architecture holds art, history, and a library to bring people together by banishing the lack of knowledge about the culture.

Do you have suggestions for how I can make this more user friendly or more informational?  I’d love some feedback!