The Montréal Jazz Festival is one of the BEST jazz festivals in the world – I read that in a few places, so I’m almost certain that it’s true – and this past weekend I had a chance to check it out. And I took my Mom along for the ride.
It’s 5am and I’m sitting behind the steering wheel, trying to convince myself that I am awake enough to drive, while my Mom is in the passenger side, eager to get to our destination. It’s her first time visiting Montréal, and thanks to an invite from my friends over at Turkish Airlines, we are planning to see the Montréal Jazz Festival as well.
I’ve made the drive to Montréal several times over the last couple years, I know that I will only need to fill-up with gas once, that Kingston is the half way point, and that by leaving Orangeville between 4am and 5am means that I will miss the rush hour traffic and be in Montréal no later than 11am. And since Mom and I would only have Saturday and Sunday to explore Montréal and check out the jazz festival, time was of the essence.
Le Germain Montréal is one of my favourite properties in the city. It’s located in the heart of downtown, the staff are friendly and helpful, the breakfast is yummy, and the beds are dangerously comfortable. I loved that Le Germain is about six blocks from the Montréal Jazz Festival, perfect walking distance, and if we don’t feel like walking then we can take the metro and be there in two stops.
Mom felt like a princess, this is her first trip since my Dad passed away, hell it’s her first trip in about four years. She was blown away by how friendly the staff were to her, and it didn’t take long for her to discover the amazingness that is a rain head shower. Even I have difficulty getting out of that shower.
Don’t get me started on how many Montréal bagels were consumed during breakfast.
Two days is not nearly enough time to explore a city like Montréal, but we did our best. Our first stop? Lunch, and since it’s summer I could not resist taking my Mom for lobster rolls. I am obsessed with lobster rolls, and the fact that she had never tried a lobster roll before, well that was the decision maker right there. Leaving our bags at the hotel we go back into the car and made our way to the old port to one of my favourite spots, Muvbox’s Restaurant Îles de la Madeliene.
She loved it. Yay! Love converting people to the fabulousness that is a lobster roll.
Naturally a visit to Montréal should always include time wandering Old Montréal. Yeah, it’s touristy, but if you’ve never been to Montréal before, then it is something you should do, so we did. And when I wore my Mom out, she suggested we take a carriage ride, before saying adieu to the old city and venturing to other parts of Montréal.
With Old Montréal explored, well as much as we could with the little time we had, it was off to Mile End, checking out street art and buying fresh hot bagels from Fairmount. There was no way I was going to drive home without at least two dozen bagels – in hindsight having all dressed bagels in the car was probably a bad idea as the car now smells like bagel and it has been like four days.
And when Mom needed a break from the city, we drove out to Saint-Eustache to visit La Maison Lavande, a lavender farm with live music, and chilled glasses of lavender limonade.
Montréal Jazz Festival
It was the last weekend of the jazz festival, and according to a waitress the busiest weekend of the entire year. And I now understand why, the crowds were insane. Getting a good spot meant arriving really early and resisting the urge to pee, and thanks to Turkish Airlines and their fabulous VIP lounge we didn’t have to endure that torture.
As the sun began to set, the music began to play and I couldn’t help thinking about my Dad. He loved jazz, and for a few minutes I wished I could have brought him along, he would have loved the tribute concert to B.B. King.
We didn’t have a lot of time to see all of the festival, and although that was definitely a highlight, it wasn’t necessarily the point of the trip, the trip was for my Mom to get away and for us to spend time exploring together. It was a chance for her to get a small peak into my life as a travel blogger/writer, and for me to experience Montréal through her eyes as a tourist.
Hopefully this is the first of many mini trips with my Mom.
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