The Montreal Chronicles: Eat, Pray, Love Run from hobos

The following photo montage is a testament to the awesome weekend I had in Montreal. Trust me, this time it might be better if you see pictures instead of reading about me ramble on about how I loooooooove Montreal. This is not to say I won’t have SOMEthing to say about it. Anyway, let’s begin with the begining.

I got to Montreal by the Greyhound. The Greyhound may not be the most humane way to travel, but it is definitely the cheapest. After an all night 8 hour bus ride, I finally got there at around 9am and checked into a little Bed and Breakfast. I had the cutest room at the BnB, HANDS DOWN. Not that I saw anyone else’s room but seriously…how cutesy is this!

You cannot tell from the picture but this room is actually on a pretty crazy slant. Tres charming!

There was no better feeling in the world than passing out on that bed after a long night of the inhumane Greyhound night bus. And what’s more, my awesome host Natalie treated me to a three-course breakfast. I didn’t know three-course breakfasts even existed.

Anyway, on with the adventure:


Lots of unhealthy eating was definitely done.

At Nickel's which is a restaurant chain owned by Celine Dion. Not even the song "My heart will go on" in the background was going to deter me from devoring the deliciousness on this plate.


Montreal's finest poutine. Just a quick explaination of what that styrofoam container contains for non-Canadian readers: that delicious heart-attack over there is french fries and oodles of gravy topped with cheese curds.


I haven't been to all the places in the world but Montreal quite possibly has the best almond croissants in the world.


Solo getaways are also great for getting in touch with your spiritual side. There’s nothing like not having your friends to stay out with till 4am and dissolve your troubles in tequilla shots.

The majestically towering Notre Dame Basillica

Notre Dame Basilica. One of the most gorgeous, peaceful and soul-stirring churches I've ever been in.

St. Joseph's Oratory. The Oratory is sitting on a hill behind the statue of St. Joseph in the Montreal fog.


If you ever go to Montreal, you may or may not notice the population divided into three categories.

1) Normal people: These are people dressed like you and me. Regular Joe’s and Josephina’s going about their daily business of being French. If you are not a normal person and live in Montreal, then chances are you belong in one of the following two categories.

2) Hipsters

3) Hobos

One of the first things that happened to me when I got there was a fellow that looked like he had been living on locusts and brambles his whole life  came chasing after me screaming “Mademoiselle! Mademoiselle!..” followed by a string a French words. He could have been asking for sex or he could have been asking me for a chapstick. Who the hell knows. He even started talking to me in English to get me to talk to him. It was clearly amusing to everyone, including my iPod which actually quite appropriately started playing the song “Howling for you” by The Black Keys.

Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that since the culture of Montreal seemed to be predominantly hipsters and hobos, it might be appropriate to let you in on some tricks on how to be able to tell the difference.

The main reason why you would even confuse Montreal hipsters and hobos with each other is because: 

1) They both usually have beards.

2) They both wear mismatched clothes and don’t care.

3) They’re both bilingual.

However, here are the subtle differences:

1) Hobos will talk to ANYONE including you, animals, buildings, inanimate objects and themselves. Hipsters only talk to the latest version of the iPhone.

2) It is very easy to get a hobo’s attention. Just the mere fact that you exist in Montreal means a hobo or two will find you and chase you. You wouldn’t get a hipster’s attention even if you were dressed like Lady Gaga riding a giraffe holding a giant rubber chicken.

3) Hobos smell like urine and cigarettes. Hipsters smell like Starbucks and indifference.

And if you are still unsure, I drew you a picture that you can print out and take with you if you ever go to Montreal:

Now you know the difference. You're welcome.

All jokes aside, Montreal is absolutely gorgeous. Even after being chased by hobos. Here are some of my favorite photos:

Old Montreal.

Rue St. Catherine. The shopping street where I spent the rest of my time when I wasn't eating, in a church or being chased down the street.

More of cutsey Old Montreal

Surprisingly there were no couples trying to take cheesy photos near the LOVE structure. Guess I was the only cheesy one there.

Horse-drawn carriage ride along the cobblestoned streets of Old Montreal. Pretty freaking romantic if you're unfazed by the constant overpowering smell of horse poop


And that’s my little Montreal photo album for you. The weekend was way too short for everything I wanted to see and do but the whole experience still has me on a high. I’m already planning my next getaway and what I’m going to cover. I have a feeling there will be plenty of more Montreal Chronicles in the future. Until next time, have a happy Monday (about as happy as Monday could be).

81 thoughts on “The Montreal Chronicles: Eat, Pray, Love Run from hobos

  1. Great post! I feel like I’ve been to Montreal all over again 🙂
    I was wondering what do you use to draw? (if it is not too much to ask, please)

  2. Those pictures are awesome! Montreal seems like a beautiful place to visit. And of course, Canadian food always looks better than the food we eat here in the states.

    Unfortunately, the hipster/hobo comparison exists just about everywhere anymore. Makes it difficult to tell if the Starbucks line is out the door or the local homeless population have gathered under the awning.

    • Thank you!! 🙂 lol and I don’t know if Canadian food is BETTER to eat but I’m sure its definitely tastier haha.

      Sometimes the homeless population gathering IS the Starbucks lineup. It has happened to me before. I always wondered how the hell hobos can afford Starbucks. I cant even afford Starbucks sometimes! :/

  3. I love, love, love Montreal! I can definitely attest to your hobo/hipster identification guide… And I’m pretty sure I’ve stayed at that very same B&B, awesome location 🙂

  4. Hi Karen, your trip looks awesome. I am heading to Australia in a few weeks and I can’t wait to see what comes out of that trip. You post gets me pumped to travel. Thanks for sharing.

    • yay!!! Where in Australia are you going? Lucky you. I hope you have some awesome adventures there which I’m pretty sure you will. I hope you also one day decide to trek it to the Great White North here. We are friendly 🙂 And we have poutine. Hopefully that should sufficiently make our case 😉

    • Cakes, you really need to take a week or two off and come back. Don’t worry, all the creeps, Luke Wilsons and pumpkin pie eaters will still be there in Italy waiting for you when you get back lol.

      Unfortunately, this would mean a brief seperation from Naples pizza and mamma’s sauce but it sounds like to me what you really need is a generous unhealthy portion of poutine, smoked meat and Alexander Keiths.

  5. Nice post, I’m traveling to Canada in August myself and will visit Montreal, Quebec, Ottawa and Toronto. Ah, I just can’t wait for it to be finally August!!! Have a great Tuesday 🙂

      • lol WWAHD, love it. I live really close to London and I kind of feel like hipsters have always bred there so I didn’t realise it was a thing until quite recently. You often see things like women in summer dresses cycling by on penny farthings in East London for example. Glad to see the insanity is worldwide 🙂

      • Hipsterism is an international phenomenon now. And now that summer is coming, I`m waiting to see the latest hipster trends. If Montreal was 2 degrees warmer I would have probably seen summer dresses on bicycles too lol. I so want to come to London now and compare different cultures of hispters 😛

  6. Looks like you had a whale of a time!!! 🙂

    Here in the UK we also have hobo’s – I call them neighbours! 🙂

    Doug doesn’t chase me down the street, he posts little notes through my door instead while my other neighbour – who is called both Tony and Toby – tries to borrow money off me!

    I know damned well I won’t get it back – he’s a junkie – so I always say no! 🙂

    Love and hugs!


  7. OMG, I’m am smiling ear to ear and lol. Okay chased by hobos(haven’t even heard that word in awhile) and #3 well that’s about the cutest line I’ve read in a year. Sweet. I want to go to Montreal, Toronto and there’s a third one. Thanks!

  8. Great article, and thank you for making my city shine the way you did…
    As the self-proclaimed quintessential Montreal hipster (I’m the poster child of humility), I’d strongly suggest you go for Schwartz’s smoked meat, of course (but you must know that), which will soon be owned by the Celine Dion clan…

    As for poutine, either La Banquise on Rachel Street, or a very greasy 3AM after bar hours Rapido poutine (St-Denis and Mont-Royal).

    Enjoy Montreal!


    • That is so awesome that you’re from Montreal. You live in such a beautiful city. My post really doesnt do it justice.
      And you’re also the first Montreal hipster to talk to me lol. I actually tried to approach a couple to take pictures for this post but they were hearing nothing of it.
      Anyway, hasn’t schwartz already been taken over the by Celine’s clan? How do Montrealers feel about that?

      And thank you for all the tips on the poutine places, they definitely will be on my list when I go there again. I didn’t get as much time as I would have liked to explore St. Denis but I’m planning on making the trek again in the summer 🙂

  9. I was in Montreal briefly over the summer, and I saw a photo shoot with a model pouting and striding down those cobblestones in Old Montreal. I never had respect for fashion models before, but navigating those streets in 5-inch heels without breaking an ankle? Mad props.

  10. As always…reading your blog was a nice escape to my normal mudane day! Great to see all sides of a city that I have never been to. There is something so special about traveling alone sometimes, kind of a nice little break from everything. Laughing so hard about your ‘hobos vs hipster’ I am from Portland, OR and your little picture could be quite useful to anyone who comes to visit here!

    • I feel flattered when people tell me that my blog is a nice escape from the mundane. I must be doing something right 🙂
      I love taking these little getaways alone. It affords me the luxury of planning it the way I want, budgeting it the way I want and organising it the way I want. That’s probably why I feel rested and at peace by the end of it.

      The fact that Portland has hipsters means that I already love it. Is the hipster:hobo ratio equal like in Montreal too?

      • You said it perfectly..not that I am saying I am total sad little loner but once and while a trip by yourself means nothing and no one to worry about but yourself…sign me up for that!

        From the sounds of it the hipster:hobo ratio in Portland is very equal to Montreal..I work downtown and at times I feel like I have to run frantically to work from the train..they’re like killer zombies. But yes the hobos will talk to anything including the side of my building (full on conversations) and well our hipsters talk to no one but their fellow cult following, I probably couldn’t get a hipster to talk to me unless I offered him a free Pabst!

      • I feel a little embarassed because I didnt know what a Pabst was so I googled it. Now there’s hipster beer too? Portland hipsters sound no different than Toronto and Montreal hipsters, except I think Toronto hipsters drink wine and green tea. Most of them are vegan too. Its all so fascinating lol.

        I laughed when I pictured your Portland hobos having a full on conversation with the side of your work building lol. It reminds me out our subway hobos who talk to the seats.

  11. What the hell…they stole the LOVE sign from Philly? My girlfriend made me take a picture in front of that with her. I need to burn that photo because I know someday it will be used as blackmail whenever I want to be a cool dude.

    I’d almost be tempted to help a French hobo. It’d remind me way too much of the opening of Beauty and the Beast that I couldn’t resist. Still a bit confused about the difference on hipsters and hobos. I may need further lessons.

    • There is a LOVE sign in Philly too? Maybe Philly had first stolen it from Montreal and then Montreal stole it back. That’s a very likely possibility, you know. What is the definition of a cool dude really? Everythings so relative these days.

      I faced the same temptation of helping out a french hobo until I learnt that most french hobos just need help with cigarette money and someone to listen to their long winded conspiracy theories. How can you still be confused?? I even drew a picture…which is no easy feat on Paint.

  12. I’ve never been to Montreal, but I am pretty damned sure that I will be going soon! It sounds like everything I could ever want. I’m from the Pacific Northwest and have lived in Oregon and British Columbia and now that I’m away from there I miss the hipster/hobo troubles so much more than one would think possible. Combine that with a lovely-looking city and the poutine that I miss almost as much as the hipsters and…sigh.

    • I think wherever you are right now, you need to become the first hipster of that place. If you cant go to the hipster, you bring the hipster to yourself. Who knows, maybe you can even alternate dressing up like a hobo once in a while.

      It sounds you really need a good dose of a hipster infested city. Here’s hoping 2012 will be the year you get some hobos and hipsters and poutine for your soul 😉

      • Ooh, I’m too giddy and excited about things like food and music and fun to be a hipster myself. But I do wear my skinny jeans with my graphic tees and sometimes don’t wash my hair. So I’m getting there, I suppose!

  13. Mmmmm that food looks so damn good … sigh.
    Great pictures! I am unfortunately one Torontonian who hasn’t been to Montreal yet. Well, I was technically there. I had planned to spend a day there after a ski trip at Mont Tremblant, but then I got into my accident while snowboarding and stayed overnight in the hospital instead. But we still passed by Montreal because I was going to get my Schwartz’s sandwich!! =P
    Anyways, glad you had a good trip 🙂

  14. “Hipsters smell like Starbucks and indifference.”

    LOL! Hilarious!

    Montreal is a beautiful city, though. Wish I could have been there! I haven’t been since 2006 and it was on business and I didn’t get to go do touristy fun things. 😦

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