The University of Vermont's Independent Voice Since 1883

The Vermont Cynic

The University of Vermont's Independent Voice Since 1883

The Vermont Cynic

The University of Vermont's Independent Voice Since 1883

The Vermont Cynic

American in Montr​​éal: a personal guide

Mollys+illustration+for+the+student+guide+to+Montreal+column.
Molly Parker
Molly’s illustration for the student guide to Montreal column.

Montr​​éal is the perfect weekend getaway for UVM students craving a change of pace. Whether you love being confused in a country that speaks a different language or you adore the Canadian club scene, Montr​​éal beckons. 

However, every time I go to Montr​​éal, I wind up feeling a little lost and confused. If only someone wrote a guide on what to do and not to do as a college student visiting the city.

Where to stay

Housing location is an important factor when visiting a strange city. 

“We stayed in a quaint neighborhood, a little run down, a little dreary, but it was nice,” Ritchay said.

Sophomore Barton Ritchay, a companion on my trip, described the neighborhood we stayed in as “perfectly adequate.” 

Verdun stands a little bit outside the main area of the city and, as of 2020, was deemed Montr​​éal’s coolest neighborhood, according to an Oct. 7, 2020 TimeOut article. 

“It was decently close to stuff, close to the metro,” Ritchay said. 

Definitely do some research on the neighborhood you are going to stay in before you go to make sure it is up to your standards. 

What to eat 

According to the internet, Verdun boasts some fantastic eateries. Our lack of research, however, resulted in one questionable meal. 

For breakfast on Saturday, we went to a restaurant called Notre-Boeuf-De-Grâce. We found this restaurant by aimlessly wandering the streets looking for a place with an open table for seven. 

“The food was just so mediocre. I could get that at any American breakfast place,” Ritchay said. 

Nevertheless, I’m adding Notre-Boeuf-De-Grâce to the list of places to try because they have a different drink and food special for every night of the week, according to their online menu, which would be fun to check out at least once.

The main complaint was the sheer Americanness of the place. 

“It gave off a bit of an American sports bar vibe. I would have preferred something more authentically Canadian,” said sophomore Vivian Molesworth. 

Friday night we stopped at this restaurant and bar called El Furniture Warehouse. Besides our being seated right next to a speaker, El Furniture Warehouse had a variety of food and drinks for great prices. 

“I only shared an appetizer plate so it wasn’t expensive, which was nice. The drink special was fun. It was a PBR tall boy and a shot of Jameson,” Ritchay said. 

Additionally, the restaurant’s ambiance woke you up rather than lulling you to sleep with low lighting and soft music. 

“All of the music was 2016 rap, they played Moonlight by X. [At] first they had skate videos on which was dope,” Ritchay said. 

Saturday night we ordered takeout from Ramen Isshin Verdun. In a group of seven, we discovered it was simpler to order in than to find a table. Also, we saved a good bit of money making drinks at home. 

Nighttime shenanigans 

Saint Laurent Boulevard is the place to go. As the main destination for young nightlife, there are bars and clubs galore. 

After our dinner on Friday at El Furniture Warehouse, we went to Cabaret Vol du Nuit

The interior was washed in red light, with a painted ceiling and booth seating around the room. 

“It looked really upscale but actually wasn’t crazy expensive,” Molesworth said. 

If you are a bigger group, I would recommend calling bars ahead of time to reserve a table so you don’t all have to sit spread out at the bar. 

“I wish I stayed there longer; the drinks were delicious and the atmosphere made me feel classy,” Ritchay said. 

In terms of clubbing, Apt. 200 and Cafè Campus are two options on either side of the spectrum. 

Apt. 200 is a more relaxed space, with pool tables, plenty of seating and an optional dance floor. 

“It was kind of like someone’s apartment where they added a bar and just had all those people in there playing pool and dancing. There were lounge booths and tables around, definitely for a younger crowd,” Ritchay said. 

Café Campus embodies the attributes of a typical club, featuring loud music, strobe lights and a fog machine. 

“It was a musical wonderland filled with dildos, smoke and lots and lots of handsy men,” said first-year Stewart Stites. 

Beware of the fog machine, which creates momentary periods of total blindness on the dance floor. 

“The smoke machine totally choked you out; there was zero visibility and then as soon as you could see the strobe lights came on,” Ritchay said. 

Both Apt. 200 and Cafè Campus charge cover fees and require coat checks, so make sure to carry some Canadian cash on your person. 

Sightseeing musts 

Marie-Reine-Du-Monde Cathedral is meant to be based on St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome (Maya Surrenti)

“This is the first time I was ever in a city where you couldn’t throw a brick without breaking a church window,” said Mark Twain in a speech during a visit to Montr​​éal. 

I stopped in the Marie-Reine-Du-Monde Cathedral. The cathedral is supposed to be based on St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, according to the Montr​​éal Visitor Guide

“I was underwhelmed,” Stites said. 

Our group also stopped at a brightly colored claw machine arcade called Claw Sur’Prize. The store acted as a nice change of pace but the token-to-CAD conversion rate was abominable. 

The must-not-miss location is Old Montr​​éal. 

“It had a nice charming old European feel which I wish I got to explore more of,” Ritchay said. 

Walking through the streets of Old Montr​​éal, I felt like I was exploring an entirely different city. Fairy lights lit up the street as the sun went down, and in the rainy evening, the older architecture gave the neighborhood a cozy feel. 

Rue Saint Paul in Old Montreal at dusk (Maya Surrenti)

Montr​​éal is a vibrant, exciting city with endless restaurants, architectural wonders and clubs to visit, a holy grail for a weekend getaway. Definitely plan your activities ahead of your visit to make the most of the Montr​​éal experience. 

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About the Contributor
Molly Parker, Illustrations Editor
(She/her) Molly Parker is a senior studio art and anthropology double major from Hopedale, Mass. She had been a member of the illustrations team since the spring of 2020 before becoming editor of the section in the spring of 2023. Molly also creates prints and zines that she displays in the Burlington area as well as her hometown. Apart from illustrating and creating art, she loves watching horror movies, cooking and crocheting. Email [email protected] to get in contact with Molly.