Touchdown in Montréal. I am back in one of my favorite cities, even better, countries. For the obvious reasons of incredible French culture and the mild habit of trying every food in sight, I've arrived with anticipation to find something to add to this list. This time I'm combining the lively city experience of Montréal with a few days of adventure in the mountains of Tremblant.
I am quite ready for winter in Canada.
The saying goes in Montréal: You forget how green it is in summer, when you've experienced winter there. It's true — the city transforms into a winter wonderland. The streets are blanketed in snow, cafe windows are steamy from coffee lovers, and the opportunity for outdoor activities are endless. My assumption was that the city would lose the life that once energized me the summer prior. I couldn't have been more wrong. The city is alive and bustling, no matter the temperature.
With four days in this city, I fell into old habits and found a few to add to the repertoire. Visiting favorite cafes like Tommy, and stopping in at Cafe Parvis, I fell in love all over again with the coffee scene. And, of course, a walk through the cobblestone streets of Old Montréal was a must. Montréal has found a rhythm—better yet, a balance—in combining the historic French way of life with the modern arts. During the day, Mont Royal is the place to be, whether it's snowshoeing it's circling slopes, or cross-country skiing with incredible views over the city. This time of year during the weekend nights, you'll find the Igloofest pumped with people bundled in coats and dancing to electronica music, all surrounded by ice structures and igloos galore.
The final night in the city came to an end after a few extra scoops of Poutine (regional dish of fries with gravy and cheese curds) at L'Original in the heart of Montréal.
Up with the sun, with another host of pleasant memories in tow, it was time pack our bags, leave the city, and head to the mountains.
As cliche as it may be, the mountains are always calling, particularly in Canada. The promise of corduroy slopes and new winter adventure are impossible to deny. I arrived to Tremblant after winding through the snowcapped mountains on a quick hour-and-a-half drive from Montréal. This eastern North American ski village is well loved, and for good reason. The bustling excitement rang throughout Tremblant. Families were coming off the mountain after a day on the extensive slopes, and it didn't take long for everyone to trade in their snow gear for an evening of entertainment.
At night, the village boasts many opportunities for all ages. A theatre, a multitude of restaurants, the Mont Tremblant Casino, and nightly DiscoTech (club) means that there is something for everyone when the sun goes down. I found myself seeking a bit of adrenaline via the sledding hill that is complimentary for lodging guests. After a few runs, squealing like a 10 year old, my inner child was, too, ready to retreat for the night.
An early morning started with a trip to the spa. An opportunity to try the ritual of Scandinavian Baths is something not to be missed. At Scandinave Spa Mont-Tremblant, it all starts with a soak in something hot like a sauna or jacuzzi, then a plunge into cold water — here we plunge into the 32 degree waters of the Diable River! Afterwards you bundle in a robe, settling in a relaxation room, and repeat this three-step process. The afternoon was completed with a lunch at the local brewer, Micobrasserie La Diable, indulging in the kind of food needed to fuel a day of adventure. As the sun started to set, we grabbed our snowshoes, and set our sights on the summit of Tremblant.
The alpenglow went for as far as the eye could see as we made our way by snowshoe through the thick forest. We arrived to a cozy log cabin on the mountain, where pots of fondue awaited us. After filling our belly's, it was time for the exciting part: by headlamp and the light of the moon, we descended down the entire mountain by snowshoe — laughing and savoring each moment down. This was truly a bucket-list moment to remember.
Tremblant brought the opportunity to ski the slopes and experience exciting, unparalleled opportunities for winter adventure. One day was for snowboarding on the incredible terrain, and I often found myself in awe of the pure natural beauty. The village called after a day on the mountain, and I grabbed a hot cocoa and placed myself conveniently next to the square's main fireplace. The European-style ski village, where everything is reachable by foot, made it feel warm and welcoming.
From the city to the slopes, Montréal and Tremblant was the ultimate opportunity to have a balance of city and countryside. Easily reachable by car, and with multiple direct flights in and out of both destinations available, the opportunity for a Canadian winter adventure is waiting.
+ Bon Traveler was welcomed as a guest of Tourisme Montréal, Tremblant Resorts, and Tourisme Québec.