After a 3 hour bus back from Québec, we arrived in Montréal where we planned to stay for 3 days.
I’ve heard great things about this city, and how it was a great place for students and young professionals.
My friend Jean-Césaire and I have known each other since high school, and he settled in Montréal over 3 years ago. He now lives with his girlfriend Charlotte and their cat ‘Miette’ (Breadcrumbs in english).
They generously offered to welcome us during our stay in the city and have been super helpful.
Their apartment is located in Little Italy, a really cool suburb with Italian vibes (as its name indicates) with small shops, cafes and restaurants.
On our first day, on the recommendation of Jean-Césaire we went for breakfast at café San Gennaro, an Italian Cafe where we were reunited with our beloved Nutella croissants and cappuccino; I missed my Italian breakfasts!
After, we strolled to the Jean-Talon market that is located nearby, before making our way down St Laurent boulevard (which pretty much goes all the way down to the old Port, about 1 hour walk from little Italy).
We stopped on the way for lunch in Le Plateau, a hipster and heavily French neighborhood.
Here we met JC at India Rosa, a cool Indian fusion restaurant where we enjoyed a tasty lunch, before making our way to the top of the hill, the Mont-Royal.
Before going up the hill, we stopped for a while to watch the ‘Tam-tams’, a square at the bottom of the Mont-Royal where people meet to play drums and dance.
As it’s now legal to smoke cannabis in Canada, the smell of weed also joined the party making it a fun place to people watch.
We walked up to the top of the Mont-Royal, where the view rewarded us for a longish walk in the heat. You can see the whole city from up there, and it’s apparently this hill that gave the city its name.
On the second day we decided to walk down St Laurent again, this time with the goal of hitting St Viateur for lunch to try their famous bagels.
Something we didn’t know though is that the bagels shops here basically just sell plain bagels. You need to buy fillings separately (i.e. big pot of cream cheese, whole pack of salmon etc) which was a bit too annoying for us at the time so we decided to continue walking down and have lunch at Schwartz instead (although Nick did grab a classic bagel for the road, fresh out of the oven and very tasty).
Schwartz is a Jewish deli famous for their heavily loaded smoked meat sandwiches. It’s kind of a big institution here as it also used to be a famous kosher charcuterie, and it also happens to be a shop that was ‘rescued’ by Céline Dion and her husband when the business wasn’t doing well financially and was on the brink of closing. It’s now a regular for famous people when they’re in town, as the photo wall showed.
When we arrived at 12.15pm, we got in straight away and sat at our table where we ate the super tender smoked meat sandwiches. By the time we left, the queue was going all the way up the street and would have been around 50 deep. Perfect timing!
We then continued walking to the Gay village, which is basically just one street where a summer contemporary art exhibition from an artist called ‘Toilet paper’ was taking place (the name is as weird as the ‘art’), and then headed for the old Port.
We continued walking up towards St Paul Street, one of the older streets of Montréal, before heading to ‘Les enfants Terribles’. This is a rooftop bar on the 44th floor of one of Montréal’s skyscrapers, and there we met with some of my friends from school for drinks.
The day finished with a lovely dinner at Barroco, a posh French restaurant where we enjoyed a beautiful meal with friends and nice red wine from the Québec region.
On our third and final day, we decided to take the metro to head to the Atwater market on the Canal de Chine and have a light lunch.
Before heading to the market, we walked around rue Notre-dame in Saint Henri, where we saw a cool graffiti mural on a street corner. Montréal seems to be pretty good at street art, we’ve seen many awesome pieces on the buildings around the city.
We walked along the canal de Chine and made our way back to the city centre. When we reached downtown again, we took rue St Catherine (the shopping area), before getting back to the apartment to get organised for moving on.
Tonight we’re getting a night bus (help!) to Toronto where we will be spending the next 4 days.
- Head to Schwartz’s Deli for a tasty smoked meat sandwich. Get there early though to beat the queue.
- Little Italy was a great location to stay in. We stayed there because of my friend, but it is a great area to base yourself for your stay.
- ‘Les enfants Terribles‘ was a cool bar for a drink with a view. The terrace on the right is meant for just drinks, whilst the restaurant on the left is a bit more upscale