Sunday, 7 July 2019

4 Days In Montreal


Montreal is like no other city that I've visited before. It fuses the modernism of North America with traditional Europe, resulting in distinct neighbourhoods that make you feel as if you're being transported through time. With French being the native language in Montreal (don't worry, most people speak perfect English), this adds to the city's European charm, whilst still remaining Canadian at heart. I had an incredible four days in Montreal - here I'm going to run you through what I got up to.


DAY 1:
Me and my boyfriend arrived in Montreal late afternoon. We decided to get the bus from the airport to a metro station and then get the metro near to where our Airbnb was located. The first thing that amazed me about Montreal was how incredible their metro system is - all of the stations we used were very clean, we didn't experience any delays and it gets you from Point A to B quickly. Once we had unloaded our stuff at the Airbnb, we decided to head to the Old Port. This stretches along the St Lawrence River and is a hive of activity. There's the Montreal Observation Wheel, which is the tallest Ferris wheel in Canada, and there's a zip line, as well as a science centre, cinema and amphitheater. We then walked up to Montreal City Hall and along to Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal.

For dinner, we went to LOV - it's supposed to be one of the best vegan restaurants in Montreal and it didn't disappoint! I would highly recommend the BBQ Jackfruit Burger if you get the chance to eat here (I'm on a mission to try to recreate it myself at home). Also, the interiors of this restaurant are so instagrammable - they had hanging chairs which you could take pictures on. I'm usually quite skeptical when a restaurant looks perfect for Instagram because I worry that the food won't be good, but at LOV both food and aesthetic is on point! Afterwards, we headed for a cocktail at The Coldroom. This bar was very difficult to find. You need to look for a door on the side of a building with a doorbell next to it. You then ring the doorbell and one of the bartenders comes to let you in. There's no signs advertising The Coldroom so you have to know what to look out for. Despite the slight difficulty with finding this place, the cocktails are delicious and their menu is unique.


DAY 2:
We started our day with brunch at Le Passé Composé. I originally thought it was a bit pricey ($23 for a vegetarian breakfast), however most of the dishes come with a fruit salad and mini smoothie on the side so it's actually great value for money. Once we had finished eating, we wandered around the Plateau Mont-Royal neighbourhood. This is often referred to as Montreal's 'coolest' neighbourhood - it's popular among younger people and the streets are covered in graffiti. Plateau is also the most European part of Montreal with its charming townhouses and their spiral staircases lining the streets. We walked through La Fontaine Park and joined up with Rue Saint Denis, where you will find loads of cafes, bars and contemporary galleries. It was a short walk from here to Mount Royal Park so we decided to hike to the top of the park. FYI: the landscape architect who is responsible for New York City's Central Park, also designed Mount Royal Park. The park has three peaks, which provide breathtaking views over Montreal. We went to the top of Belvédère Camillien-Houde so we could see the Olympic Stadium. The other two peaks offer views of Downtown Montreal. The other side of the park there is Beaver Lake, where you can rent a rowing boat in the summer or go ice skating in the winter.


We headed to a pizza restaurant for dinner: Moleskine. The pizzas here were delicious and I loved that you could see them being made too. Afterwards, we walked around Downtown Montreal and stopped off at a couple of bars for some cocktails. Although all of the shops were closed by the time we got to Downtown, I can tell you that if you're looking to do some shopping in Montreal, then Rue Sainte-Catherine is the place to go.


DAY 3:
We had a relaxing start to our day at Bota Bota Spa - it's a spa on a ferry and looks out on to St Lawrence River. The water circuit is the cheapest package that they offer (it includes access to the saunas, steam rooms, cold baths and pools) and you can get it at a discounted rate if you arrive before 10am. The whole experience was so relaxing after a busy few days and I would definitely recommend doing this if you have time. Once we had finished at the spa, we walked to Frite Alors! to try the famous Poutine - a mixture of french fries, cheese curds and gravy that originated in Quebec. Not going to lie, I wasn't a massive fan of this but I'm glad that I tried a quintessentially Canadian dish. Afterwards, we headed to Mlle Catherine for an ice cream - this is an adorable cafe and gelateria with an amazing selection of ice creams. Near to Mll Catherine there was a free exhibition on Yoko Ono, so we decided to see what it was like. Although I didn't know much about Yoko Ono before visiting the exhibition, it was really interesting to see the work she had done for world peace. The exhibition has elements of history, politics and art so I feel like it's something that appeals to everyone. I'm not sure how long it's going to be there for but if you happen to be in Montreal when it's still on, then it's definitely worth checking out.


Since it was our last dinner in Montreal, we decided to go somewhere a bit fancier and L'Express was highly recommended. It was a really popular restaurant and the earliest we could book a table was 9.30pm! The restaurant is open until 3am most nights and the whole time we were there it was full, which speaks volumes for how amazing the food is. We wandered around the Plateau neighbourhood afterwards, which was buzzing with activity. This appears to be the best area to go for a night out / drinks.


DAY 4:
We headed out to the Jean-Talon Market in the morning and grabbed breakfast from one of the stands there. There's a huge variety of fresh products at the market; including fruits, vegetables, cheeses, meats and flowers. I bought my family a bottle of Canadian maple syrup and a bag of maple popcorn from one of the stands here. There are loads of cafes and places to eat at the Jean-Talon Market as well, so you could tie in a visit to the market with a spot of lunch. Afterwards, we hopped back onto the metro a couple of stops to grab lunch at Drogheria Fine - a highly recommended gnocchi place and omg it was delicious! We ate lunch in a nearby park because there isn't anywhere to sit inside Drogheria Fine and once we had finished we headed to Galerie Blanc. This is a brand new gallery concept featuring an outdoor exhibition that can be viewed by anyone at any time of day. This was the final thing we did in Montreal before getting on the bus back to the airport and boarding our next flight to Toronto.

Montreal is such an exciting and diverse city so hopefully I have opened your eyes to what the city has to offer and persuaded you to book a trip there. Also, I feel like 4 days is the perfect amount of time to spend in Montreal because it gave us time to relax after our busy trip to New York City. Have you visited Montreal before or is it on your travel bucket list?
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10 comments

  1. Montreal looks so beautiful, would love to go one day! Excited to hear about your time in Toronto too :) x

    Ariadna || ARIADNA CHENG

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    1. It really is! I hope you get the chance to visit. Thank you x

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  2. Montreal looks like a great city to visit !
    http://thefrenchiestblog.home.blog

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    1. Yeah it is! There's so much to do there x

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  3. Montreal is for sure on my bucket list. So beautiful!

    www.fashionradi.com

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  4. Montreal looks beautiful! I've always wanted to go but this is making me want to go even more. The spa on the ferry sounds so cool! Thank you for the recommendations!

    x Kara | http://karascloset.net

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    1. It's amazing! The spa on the ferry was so relaxing! You're welcome - I hope you get to visit soon x

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  5. Wow, looks so pretty! I have never thought to visit montreal myself!
    Charlotte-Nichole
    x

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    1. To be honest I hadn't thought of visiting Montreal until we were looking at going to New York - it's so easy to get to from there and well worth a visit! x

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