Marie-Eve Valliéres has no shortage of love for the city where she was born and raised—as evidenced by the title of her blog, A Montrealer Abroad. Even better: she started the site while living abroad in Paris, and writing another blog. Now she’s back fulltime in Montreal, and putting all of her blogging love into her hometown. Valliéres’s posts are fun, personal and full of colorful photos, reading like one-on-one conversations over vanilla lattes (an experience that would likely appear later in the blog). Because of this, Valliéres is not only part of our fabulous team of Ambassadors; she’s also apt to cause serious wanderlust, especially in the way of describing iconic Montreal experiences, like poutine.
Though I would much prefer to be in Tenerife snorkeling or scuba diving.
Occupation: Travel blogger
My next trip is to… Montreal! I’ve been away from my hometown for so long that all I want to do is revisit my favorite places and discover new ones.
My last trip took me to Scotland. Such beautiful scenery and welcoming people there—not to mention the accent!
First international trip—when and where? I bought a one-way ticket to London when I was 19, and lived there for a year. First time on a plane, first time abroad. Go big or go home!
My first passport is my most treasured travel souvenir. It’s filled from cover to cover with stamps and visas, and nothing in the world could possibly replace it. Such a small item, yet so evocative!
How has travel impacted your life?
Impact doesn’t even begin to cover it. It’s completely transformed my life. The minute I hopped on that first flight 6 years ago, I knew I was never going to be the same. Travel has made me a more curious, courageous and overall better person. Discovering a new place, tasting its flavors and meeting its people are the best gifts you can give yourself.
Is there an experience that has specifically transformed your life?
Without a doubt, living abroad. A year in London, two years in France. Completely immersing yourself in a new environment where very little is familiar is incredibly frightening, and yet it’s the most rewarding experience possible, in my opinion.
Who’s the most interesting person you’ve met on a flight or while traveling?
I’m a bit of an introvert, so I don’t open up to strangers easily. But I will always remember the warm welcome of an inn owner in southern Andalusia. We didn’t speak the same language and only communicated with hand gestures, but her sincere smiles meant more than words could ever express.
Three things you can’t travel without.
iPhone, my Tieks flats and chocolate. They all keep me sane (especially the chocolate).
Favorite restaurant: Le Fréti in Annecy, near the Alps. A very laid-back, rustic place, but I swear they serve the best cheese fondue in the world.
Public markets are the best place to connect with locals. Ask them about recipes with local ingredients; discuss the best way to cook salmon; debate which veggie tastes better—endless opportunities here.
What’s the one hometown place you miss most while traveling? That’s easy. My local poutine joint (called Poutineville). Nowhere in the world can boast poutine as great as this one.
Where do you always take out-of-town friends?
Au Pied de Cochon—hello, foie gras poutine (I have a thing for poutine if you hadn’t noticed. You can take the girl out of Montreal, but…)
Favorite foreign tradition: In France, every day celebrates a different saint. Antoine, Olivier, Justine, etc. Even today, people still buy flowers or chocolates for their loved one on their “saint day,” and say “bonne fête!” It’s almost like having two birthdays.
Travel has taught me to be kind, and everything this short word denotes. Heartfelt kindness will open all doors.
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