I brought the Commuter Bag with me for my Montreal and Quebec trip. I found it to be a very good size to bring all of my personal belongings, while being lightweight and portable. The crossbody shoulder strap was handy when I wanted to be hands free to take pictures and do a lot of walking.
I usually use the Medium Zipper Tote when I’m at home in Vancouver because I bring my 13″ Macbook Air with me. It’s one part work bag and one part diaper bag. However, without the little one with me, I didn’t have to bring so much around and the Commuter Bag was a nice change.
Paillard is my favourite cafe/bakery in Old Quebec (upper part). I like how modern and inviting the whole space is. There are small and large communal tables to sit at. The area is divided into several sections where you can get your bakery items, gelato, coffee and some light lunches. It’s a great place to take a break, get something to eat and talk.
The first time I was here, I came back to Vancouver missing Paillard a lot. Same goes for this time. There’s something about a French style cafe that is just so nice to be at. I will look forward to going to Paillard every time I go to Quebec.
In my last post, I talked about the upper part of Old Quebec. The lower part is called Quartier Petit Champlain and it’s a really nice little area with independent shops and restaurants.
To get to the lower part, you can walk the steep path down or you can take the Funiculaire, a small elevator that runs on a slope (photo 1). The elevation is about 54 metres high.
The restaurants in Quartier Petit Champlain have really attractive exteriors. You’ll find many French restaurants there. The one on the top right photo is dedicated to serving rabbits. I’ve never tried it. I’m not sure I ever will.
After a few days in Montreal, my husband and I took a 3 hour train ride east to Quebec City. This is my 2nd time in Quebec City. It is pretty small and we explored a lot of it the last time we were here. So this time, we decided to take it easy and enjoy all of Old Quebec. This is a neighbourhood that was historically a military fort back in the 17th century, so we are quite high up from the rest of the city (photo 1).
In the upper part of Old Quebec, you will find grand hotels, like the Chateau Frontenac (top right) or charming little hotels like the photo at the bottom right. Everywhere you go though, you see historic buildings that have been converted into restaurants, retail shops, hotels and museums.
Saint-Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal. This is the largest church in Canada. It is quite the trek up the stairs to get to the entrance, but it was worth it. This building is quite amazing.
My husband, Christian, sitting in front of a charming grocery store in Old Montreal. He’s carrying the custom Field Bag I made him in charcoal grey and brown waxed canvas.
La Commune in Old Montreal. I love the name of this building and how beautiful it looks.
Street in downtown Montreal with many retail stores and restaurants.
When you get off the Mont Royal metro station, the vibe that you get is totally different from downtown and Old Montreal (which is not that far away). Le Plateau has a small neighbourhood feel. Here you will find musicians (like the quartet band above), brick boutique buildings, artisanal coffee shops and famous bagels (St. Viateur Bagel). The word that comes to mind when I walk around this predominantly French speaking neighbourhood is eclectic.
My husband and I had a really nice time in Montreal and Quebec City. It felt a little strange not to have the kids with us, since we’re used to taking them everywhere. However, this was a vacation just for us. We actually talked (uninterrupted), went out past 8pm and without a schedule. Before we left, I told Pax (first born) that we’ll take him next time and he said, “That’s ok Mama…even I need a vacation from you.” I didn’t feel so bad after that…
When we first arrived in Montreal, we went to Old Montreal and Vieux Port (Old Port), which is in the same area. This remains one of my favourite places to go because of the historic buildings and it’s European feel. I love stone and brick buildings. We don’t have a lot of that in Vancouver because it’s a relatively new city, compared to some of the cities in Eastern Canada.
This is a Large Zipper Tote that I’ll be taking on my trip to Montreal. I’m using this as a carry-on bag, so that I won’t have to check in any luggage. Just a trolley suitcase and this tote. I added 2 front pockets and a luggage slot for easy travelling.
This large tote has 5 inside pockets. 2 water bottle pockets, 1 large pocket and 2 medium size pockets. I size bag is only available through custom order.
So I’ve been making the Commuter Bags by custom order only until now. It’s a mid-size bag and a more portable version of the Utility Tote. I really like this bag, as I’ve said before and that’s why I want to offer it as a stock item in the shop.
I call this the Commuter Bag because when I look at it, I see someone carrying it on her daily travels in a bustling city, like New York. Security of her items are a concern because she’s going to be everywhere, including the subway. That’s why this bag has a full brass zipper top closure. She can carry it whichever way she wants with the detachable and adjustable strap; on the shoulder, across the body or hold it as a tote.
I made one for myself to take with me to Montreal. This one is in charcoal grey and brown. I’ll be on their Metro system a lot while I’m there, so I think it’s the perfect bag for me to take to explore more of the city.
I’ll show you more photos of it when I’m there!
My husband and I will be heading out east to Montreal at the end of the week…without the kids! Should I feel a little guilty about leaving them with my parents? Maybe a little and a little nervous. It’s the first time for both of them to be without us. However, they’re in good hands and they’ll have fun with their grandparents. Even parents need a holiday…
The last 5 years have been extremely busy. The 1st born arrived on scene 5 years ago and when he turned 2, I started Modern Coup. After that, the 2nd (and last) born arrived 1.5 years later. Now that they’re playing together and the little one is sleeping better, I feel that we can leave them for a little bit.
My husband and I are actually celebrating our 8 year wedding anniversary in Montreal. It’s a very special place for us. We went there for 3 weeks for our honeymoon and we’ve missed the city since. This vacation couldn’t have come at a better time. After having 2 kids and both our work being very busy, we are desperate for a break and some time together.
We thought about taking the kids initially, but I think the little one is still pretty young to travel that far (5 hrs flight). It’s different travelling with kids. Of course, there’s a lot more to take care of. They get tired, they need to nap and they only want to do their stuff. I think we’ll wait at least a year longer to take Nol somewhere. We took Pax to New York when he was 3 years old and he had fun. Although what he remembers from that trip is that we had breakfast buffet each morning and that I bought him a hot dog from the street cart…hmmm…maybe we could have saved ourselves a lot of money and did that in Vancouver.
Anyhow, this trip is just for us and this is 1 of the 3 bags I’ll be taking…
I’ve been using the Medium Zipper Tote in grey for about 3 years now. I haven’t had time to make myself a custom bag, so I reserved some time to do that. This is the Brown Utility Tote with 2 custom add-ons. I will be using this bag as a carry-on with my trolley suitcase. The luggage slot is going to be so useful. It’s awkward and frustrating when your personal bag keeps falling off the suitcase at the airport.
I also added 2 front pockets so that I can put my scarf in one and the other for things I need to get conveniently.
Grand Central Terminal is truly an amazing building. It was built in 1913 and has 44 train platforms inside. I don’t know how many floors it contains, but there are 3 that the public can access.The concourse floor is for dining. You will find coffee kiosks, restaurants and other food vendors there. A floor above, there are many retail shops and artisan kiosks for gifts and jewelry.
My favourite place inside the train terminal is the food market. There was such a beautiful selection of fruits, vegetables, seafood, spices and meats. It reminded me of Granville Island’s Public Market in Vancouver, but at a smaller scale. The market was a busy place. Many people were buying lunch to go.
Entrance to the Grand Central Market on the main floor.
Beautiful fresh fruits sold by individual vendors.
Oh seafood…it looked so good. I was getting so hungry. I just imagined having a boiling pot of water there and cooking all that seafood to have a feast.
This is Pax’s first big trip. He’s 3 now and fully potty trained, so my husband and I thought he’s ready to travel. When we first told him we’re going to New York, of course he had no idea where that was. However, when we told him there are huge candy stores there, he was excited! He’s been watching Lucky Penny Shop on YouTube for a while now. It introduces people to mostly American candies. Pax loves looking at all the different candies and chocolates. I think more than actually wanting to eat it, he likes looking at all the colourful packaging.
We stayed in Mid-Manhattan, where Times Square is. I know, it’s very touristy, but when you have a child or kids convenience is important. You can walk to many places in and outside of Times Square. There are 3 stores in Times Square that your kids are going to like.
1. Toys R Us: 4 floors full of toys. The bottom floor has a ferris wheel, which you can ride for $5 a person. The 3rd floor also has a candy store.
2. M & M’s World: 4 floors full of M & M chocolates, toys and memorabilia.
3. Hershey Chocolate World: Right across from M & M’s World. This store is quite small, but it has lots of Hershey chocolates, t-shirts and memorabilia. You can also find Reese and Twizzlers products there.
Just outside of Times Square, in Rockefeller Center, there is a 2 story Lego Store to keep your little ones busy. If you walk a little further up 5th Avenue and 58th Street, there is a FAO Schwarz. It has 2 floors full of toys and a candy store that takes up half of the first floor.
Chocolate bars sold at FAO Schwarz’s candy store