By this point you probably guessed it – from our post featuring our favorite pictures and the hiatus last week – this post is about Montreal! Our trip was a long time coming. You see, moving is a big deal. Especially when you’re moving from an 800 square-foot apartment to a 1,200 square-foot apartment. There are always things to be done, items to fix, and supplies you need – money is not on your side. It is hard to satisfy a desire to travel without money. We tried to be creative, but for us, traveling is a calling. So once we finally had a few extra dollars, and an open weekend – we knew we had to get out of New England.
We decided on Montreal because it had a few certain qualities: 1) it’s in a different country, 2) it’s known as one of most European cities not actually in Europe, 3) most of the natives speak French (though not the Parisian French), and the most important factor 4) we could drive there and see the most amazing leaves there are to see in New England during fall.
We both worked half days and had our bags packed, ready to go for our long weekend away. It was going to be a hike, and we were in it for the long haul – we were driving in New England on the brink of Columbus Day weekend, the unofficial Leaf Peeping Weekend in this area. A drive that was supposed to take us a mere five and a half hours took more like seven hours. But that was alright, the sights, the smells and the solo time with each other made up for it.
Once in Montreal, we were filled with lively energy, even though it was already close to 10:00pm. The next day and a half was filled with adventure, laughter, and carefree exploring.
Keep reading for our tips, tricks and recommendations when visiting Montreal!
48 Hours in Montreal
- If roadtripping, plan a few fun car games, create a rocking playlist or download an inspiring book on tape. Your inner child will not be disappointed.
- Pack some snacks, and we’re not referring to chips. One of my favorite healthy snacks is fruit and nut butter. The best part about this snack? It doesn’t have to be refrigerated.
- Be sure to pack some gym clothes and comfortable shoes. If you are planning on walking around the city or even around Mont-Royal Park, it’s completely acceptable to do so in workout leggings and a nicer tee. You can always head back to clean up before a late lunch/early dinner.
Where to stay:
We booked our hotel last minute through Hotel Tonight (if you haven’t tried this app, we highly recommend you try it). Le Saint-Supice Hôtel Montréal was one of their highest-rated hotels and it did not disappoint. Located next to the Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal, we woke up both mornings to the sound of church bells. The staff was warm and welcoming and the rooms were amazing, decorated with local artists’ work. It came complete with a kitchenette, which we didn’t use, but was a nice option for those that would want to cook!
Where to eat, drink, and be merry:
- Sinclair at Le Saint-Sulpice Hôtel Montréal: We may be a little partial, but this hotel bar is amazing. We stayed at the Le Saint-Sulpice and hit up Sinclair our first night. After spending over five hours in a car, a glass of their Bordeaux hit the spot.
- Tommy’s: This cafe is absolutely heavenly. We wish we could’ve brought it home with us! Located in an old exchange bank, this cafe is three floors of bright, light space complemented by greenery cascading from the ceiling planters. Not to mention all of their pastries and coffee were made on location. Head to this spot when it first opens to avoid the rushes that come later in the day.
- Maison Christian Faure: For some of the best, biggest and most authentic French croissants in town, you have to head to Maison Christian Faure. This little cafe serves up every pastry you could think of, as long as they are classically French. Don’t ask for a cheese croissant, they don’t have them (that’s not what the French would do). Instead ask for a latte and a ham and cheese croissant – it’s delectable. And don’t forget to grab a couple to go – it makes the drive back just a bit more bearable.
- Brit and Chips: Not wanting to miss out on one of the most European dishes to be had, we hit up Brit and Chips for one of the most flavorful lunches we’ve had in awhile. The cod drudged in Burgundy (beer) batter, the haddock in maple syrup batter and a couple of Burgundy Lion ales and our afternoon was made.
- Vallier: If you’re looking for some classic Canadian food, be sure to hit up Vallier on McGill Street. Offering up poutine (with duck meat and fresh peas), ricotta gnocchi donned with succulent mushrooms, and bacon cheeseburgers, this place has it all and a classic European feel to boot. Be sure to taste any of the house wines – they will complement your meal perfectly.
What to do:
- Climb to the Chalet du Mont-Royal: The dozens of stairs may be more than you would want on a relaxing weekend getaway, but the views are more than worth it. On a clear day, not only can you see downtown Montreal, but you can see some of the Appalachian Mountains in Vermont. It’s a must!
- Walk around the Quais Old Montreal: A great family-friend part of Montreal has to be the quais in Old Montreal. This area is where the cruise ships dock, so it can get a little crowded during the spring through fall months. But if you time it right, the parks and different quais offer some extensive fun, including zip lining, a sky wheel and markets lining the docks.
- Shopping near the Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal: If you have the chance to enter this church, you must! The views and shear height of the ceiling are magnificent. Sadly, we missed our shot – instead we walked around next to this enormous structure and found the quaintest shops in Old Montreal. This is a great spot to head to if you’re looking for some trinkets to take home with you.
- Gay Village: If you are looking for some lively nightlife, head to Gay Village. There are dozens and dozens of clubs to choose from and they don’t close until 3am so you can party to your little hearts desire until the sun starts to rise.