Just a few hours away from Toronto lies the small French speaking city of Montreal. With it’s previous European influence and historical sites, Montreal has a certain charm with its gardens, museums, art galleries and European architecture.
I’ve been to Montreal in 2010 but I didn’t experience it the same way. Can we all agree that it’s different to travel with family versus with friends or your partner? Instead of visiting the major touristy and shopping locations, I got to enjoy a more cultural perspective of Montreal this time. It was only a short three day trip but given our Airbnb location, we got to explore many parts of Old Montreal and some of the other neighbourhood areas. For those of you who are wondering where we were living in Montreal, check out this Airbnb link for more info. I highly recommend this beautiful loft that was in the middle of everything – affordable, comfortable and convenient.
- According to Eater, Montreal has 26.81 restaurants per 10,000 people – that’s a lot of restaurants. No doubt, I’ve had some of my best meals in Montreal and the food did not disappoint.
- Montreal seems to be a commuter-friendly city if you’re living in the downtown area. I liked that we didn’t have to drive everywhere and got a chance to walk into the neighbourhood areas to really get a feel of the city.
- I can’t get over how beautiful Old Montreal is. The cobblestone streets and European architecture whisks me away to France and every stop is a photo opportunity. The streets were lively and wandering around Old Montreal was such a dream.
|McGill University||Notre-Dame Basilica of Montréal|
|Mount Royal Park||Montreal Biodome|
|Old Montreal||Habitat 67|
|Bota Bota Spa||Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montreal|
|Jean Talon Market||Les Aires Libres|
Celine Dion got married at Notre-Dame Basilica of Montréal!
I am mind blown that Montreal has so many restaurants and cuisine diversity. Nonetheless, you simply cannot miss out on French food in Montreal. You’ll see that all the good places in Montreal are “3 dollar signs” on Yelp but I guarantee that you will have some of the best food in this city. People in Montreal love to eat so make reservations (if possible) days before eating at a popular spot.
|Bouillon Bilk||St-Viateur Bagel
|Le Garde-Manger||Ma Poule Mouillée|
|Crew Collective & Cafe||Olive et Gourmando|
|Terrasse Nelligan||Au Pied de Cochon|
|Le Mal Nécessaire||Tommy Cafe|
Schwartz’s Smoked Meat is a must in Montreal. I wasn’t a huge fan but at least try it because you’re in Montreal. Don’t bother eating at the place, just get it to go or else you’ll be waiting an hour more for a table.
Le Garde-Manger has some of the best seafood I’ve ever had in the East Coast. In fact, it’s so good that my partner bumped into John Krasinski here! We tried to do a walk in on a Friday night but they were booked up till a 9pm Sunday dinner…and yes, we booked that spot. A late dinner was so worth it – best oysters and freshest seafood platter I’ve ever had.
I’m going to say it upfront, I don’t like poutine. It’s more of the fact that I have never had good poutine in my life. My trip to Montreal was a chance for poutine to redeem itself, so my partner took me to his favourite, Ma Poule Mouillée. Boy, this place did not disappoint at all. Get their “wet chicken” – fries, gravy, chorizo, cheese, shredded chicken and hot sauce.
I’ve never really been a shopping traveller so I definitely don’t buy clothes or other stuff when I travel. On the other hand, I do splurge on food. Almost all of my money went to food and drinks in Montreal with the occasional gas station stops , Airbnb (moderately cheap) and purchasing tickets to go into a site. It’s definitely easy to spend CAD100 per meal for good food in Montreal but other than that, those who love to shop will really enjoy the European shopping options in the city.
Montreal is a beautiful getaway from Toronto. For those who are visiting Ontario, you can cover pretty much all of Montreal’s must visits in around 2-4 days. Since I live in Toronto, Montreal is like a small piece of Europe at my door step – full of charm, delicious French food and history. I would return for another getaway because as close as it is to home, it feels like I’m already in Paris.