We flew to Montréal on November 7th as a break from work and to visit my friends studying at McGill University. We also got lucky by escaping Alberta’s winter weather for Montréal’s unseasonably warm fall. We took an early flight arriving in Montréal at noon. We took the 747 bus in from the airport to Lionel-Groulx station, where we took the metro to our friend’s apartment. We bought the 3-day pass, All Modes A pass which costs $21.25 per person. As transit was our main form of transportation, we found this to be a worthwhile investment.
While we waited to check in to our Airbnb, we left our suitcase at my friend’s apartment and climbed Mount Royal to the Belvédère Kondiaronk, a large look-out, with the Mount Royal chalet sitting just behind the terrace.
We walked back down the stairs and made our way to our Airbnb to check-in. After working out some accommodations issues, we went for a late dinner at Pizza Il Focolaio. The pizza was hot and fresh, and just in time to cure any hanger.
On Tuesday, we began our day with breakfast poutine at L’Oeufrier, which was delicious, and then made our way to Le Plateau neighbourhood. We walked along St. Denis Street and Mont-Royal Ave, mostly window shopping. I got a tea at Magique Café, and then we made our way to Old Montréal, or Vieux-Montréal.
The Vieux-Port de Montréal was quiet, which made sense for November as we were visiting in the low season. We walked along the port for a short time, but spent most of our time in the streets of old Montreal. We bought some artwork and visited some tourist shops, as well as the Bonsecours Market. We stopped to rest our feet at Café Olympico before returning to our Airbnb.
We went out to Sumo Ramen for dinner, which had lots of vegetarian options for me. After our dinner, we returned to our Airbnb (only a short walk away) to rest our feet after the busy day.
On Wednesday, we spent the day shopping. We started at Eaton’s Centre, then made our way up and down St. Catherine’s Street. Although we did far more walking than actual shopping, we got to see a wide range of local and transnational shops.
We had lunch at the 3 Brasseurs, which we chose because they were on St. Catherine’s and they offered vegetarian poutine. We both had the classic poutine (we thought it was mandatory to have at least once in Montréal). They gave generous portions for a reasonable price, and they brew some of their own beers if that is something you are interested in.
Though the poutine was very filling, my boyfriend saw a bagel shop near Peel station. La Fabrique de Bagel Montreal is technically in the Carrefour Industrielle Alliance, where the large Simons shop is. Before getting on the metro, we got him a blueberry bagel which was soft and delicious.
We spent the evening at my friend’s apartment, having a home-cooked dinner to counteract all the eating out we had done during the week so far. Then we took the metro back to our place.
On Thursday, arts and culture was on the list. We went to the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts, which costs $16 per young adult (under 30). We spent a few hours in the museum, which spreads across several buildings all connected underground. Though we spent a few hours here, you could easily spend days before you get close to seeing everything, so if you are interested in art, leave lots of time!
After the Museum, we went for a late lunch. We stopped at Café Aunja, which may have been my favourite eatery of the trip. This Persian café was almost full, we claimed the last table. I tried the London Fog and caesar salad, and my boyfriend got the chicken sandwich which was served on Iranian bread. Everything was delicious. I got the Persian Fog to go when we left because the tea was so good.
With my Persian Fog in hand, we took the metro from Guy-Concordia to Barri-UQAM station. From there, we connected with the yellow line which took us to Jean Drapeau station on Île Sainte-Hélène. We arrived on the island at sunset, so we watched the fiery clouds across the water. Then we crossed the bridge to Île Notre-Dame, watched the cyclists on the track, and turned back. We had one more stop to make before dinner.
Our final stop of the evening was St. Viateur Bagels and Café in Mont-Royal. We watched the handmade bagels baking in the wood oven in front of us as we made our selection of Montréal souvenirs.
Our evening ended at Ketiw, a Cambodian restaurant in Verdun. If you have time to explore Verdun, it is a cute trendy area with many restaurants and shops, but it is far enough from the main downtown area to maintain a quiet atmosphere.