On our last full day, we planned to visit the Botanical Garden, Insectarium, and the Biodôme! We were excited that the weather was on our side yesterday—blue skies, beautiful fluffy clouds, and cool temperatures. We stopped for breakfast at Fabergé on Fairmount Street, a hip and fun restaurant that serves breakfast all day along with their lunch menu. They had some really fun items on their menu, like chicken waffles, PB&J french toast, a “benny mac” which is a mac n’ cheese fritter and pulled pork topped with jalapeño jelly. They also had all sorts of waffles, including a s’mores waffle! We just took it easy ordering a plain crepe with an egg breakfast platter—we would be doing a lot of walking that day, so we wanted to take it easy! When we visit Montréal again, I am definitely trying the PB&J french toast!
After breakfast, we made our way to the Botanical Garden. I was super excited to begin exploring! The Montréal Botanical Garden has a collection of 22,000 plant species, 10 greenhouses, a gorgeous tree pavilion, and more than 20 gardens spread over 75 hectares. It is massive and absolutely breathtaking.
We first stopped at the Insectarium—mostly to get it out of the way. Ian and I are a little hesitant about insects, but the museum was very interesting. All I can say is get ready to get goosebumps as you observe all different types of insects!
After two days of traveling throughout crowds, it was a perfect way to unwind and feel at peace. Together, Ian and I roamed the gardens and strolled through windy paths filled with flowers and different shrubs. It was so lovely! There were plenty of benches and innovative seating throughout the gardens, where couples clinked their champagne glasses in celebration or enjoyed lunch under a weeping willow tree.
One of our absolute favorite spots was the Japanese Garden. The garden opened in 1988 is 2.5 hectares and was designed by Japanese landscape artist Ken Nakajima. When you enter the cultural pavilion, you are able to sit by the Zen garden with headphones with meditation music to put you at ease. There’s another room where you can learn more about the Japanese culture—there’s food on display (not to eat), paintings, and two other exhibition spaces. One of the most fascinating parts of the garden was the Bonsai Courtyard, which includes a collection of bonsai trees that range from 25 to 350 years old. It was an incredible sight. The amount of patience, care, and affection that goes into each tree is so astounding.
When you leave the cultural pavilion, you’ll find a large green space that was carefully designed. All elements in the garden (water, stones, a lantern, bridges, and plants) are perfectly balanced to create a feeling of serenity and make every visitor feel at peace. I know that I was. Ian and I strolled the gardens filled with calm, and the world around us was in complete harmony. The pathways also led to a beautiful pond with Koi carp swimming in its shallow waters. We did not want to leave!
We continued to explore the gardens, walking through the arboretum, the shade garden, and rose gardens. We were able to walk aimlessly through the Botanical Gardens and enjoy the sights. We also stopped at the Monumental Dougherty, beautiful art sculptures woven from willow branches!
After the Botanical Gardens, we made the walk to the Olympic Park to take a look at the Olympic Stadium. It was a long walk to the Biodôme, which ultimately was disappointing. After visiting the Biodôme, we headed back to the main parking lot and headed to Old Montreal to have one last look at the Notre Dame Basilica and have a delicious dinner.
From hiking to the top of Mont Royal and walking the shops of downtown to exploring the beauty of Old Montréal and the Botanical Gardens, Montréal is an amazing city, filled with something for everyone! We are very grateful to have visited, and we are excited to come back soon. Thanks all for reading and I can’t wait to write more about our adventures…like Ireland in March!
JUST A NOTE
Before we left for our journey home today, we stopped at a café on Fairmount called Brioche À Tête and we had the most amazing croissants. As we devoured them in complete silence, we realized that we should have gone there every day, and perhaps should have ordered more than one each. If you plan on going to Montréal, go here and have a croissant for me!