First, let me start by saying “Welcome back!”. I can’t believe it’s been 7…8…months since my last post. Sorry, truth be told I got very uninspired (aka lazy) during the lockdown.
Anyways I’m back and I’m excited to share with you my experience in Montreal during this crazy pandemic.
So, with being cooped up in the house from March – June and with restrictions loosening up (and since we can’t do any international travel), my boyfriend and I decided on a weekend getaway to Montreal for our 6 year anniversary. In case you didn’t know, I’m from Toronto, Ontario, which is about a 5-6 hour drive to Montreal.
Where to Stay
This wasn’t our first time in Montreal so we knew we wanted to stay in Old Montreal. (For those who haven’t been to Old Montreal, the area remind me of Europe; cobblestone streets, old architecture and quaint alleyways filled with picturesque moments. But be warned, it is a highly popular tourist spot, so it will be busy)
After googling “hotels in Old Montreal”, I came across a boutique hotel called “Maison Saint Vincent” by Maisons & co. and fell in love with the photos – it’s very modern and ‘instagrammable’. Highlights included:
- Location – Walking distance from Place Jacques Cartier, Notre Dame Basilica, the waterfront and the ferris wheel
- Rooms – in the entire hotel there was only 5 rooms per floor (the hotel comprised of 2 floors). Even with what’s going on in today’s environment, I felt very safe as there wasn’t a lot of traffic throughout the hotel
- Self-check in – Loved this feature! You received the code for the building and for your room (that’s right, no room key!) 48 hours before check-in via email. There was also an iPad in your room that showcased, where to eat, things to do, and connected to the virtual concierge incase you needed anything
- The room had a TV, full-length mirror, a desk, free high speed wi-fi
- The windows in the room opened!!! This was amazing you could open your room window and let in fresh air or people watch from above
- 4.5 stars on Google reviews
I think it’s pretty obviously that I highly recommend this hotel! The price point was also fair considering it’s location.
Don’t forget to wear your mask when you enter the building and keep it on in all common areas!
What to Do
My boyfriend and I got into biking during the Summer and decided to do some sightseeing via bike riding. Luckily, Montreal on Wheels was a 4 minute walk from our hotel.
We rented two bikes for 4 hours (1/2day); I rented the standard hybrid comfort bike for $32 and my boyfriend rented the road bike for $70.
Now, what you should be aware of is that they put a hold on your credit card for the bikes up to $850, incase of any damages. We didn’t know this when we initially booked the bikes but it was just a hold and our credit card company released the funds right away.
The staff was very friendly and helpful – I would rent from here again!
Tip: If you book online, you save 10%.
If you haven’t had the opportunity to bike in Montreal, it’s a must! The bike paths are amazing (in comparison to Toronto bike paths) and it’s along the river, so it’s really nice.
In the previous times we’ve been to Montreal, it was really just to party. But this time we wanted to embrace the culture and delicious cuisine Montreal has to offer.
I wouldn’t recommend eating in Old Montreal, as its a high tourist area that food is overpriced. However, there are so many other great neighbourhoods to eat in Montreal such as, Little Burgundy, Griffintown and Saint-Henri.
Tip: Make a reservations at least 2-3 weeks in advance.
Naturally, I developed an itinerary for our meals:
- Dinner: Foiegwa
This place was delicious! The restaurant itself was small, had about 10-12 tables so definitely make sure to have a reservation.
A must-try is the Spaghetti with butter & black truffle, 64º egg yolk and parmesan
- Dinner: Grinder
This had a king-west vibe – everyone was dressed really chic and techno music was your background noise BUT the food was very good.
A must-try is any one of their steaks – it melted in your mouth.
- Brunch: Tommy Cafe
We went to the rue St. Paul location, which is more of a brunch spot than the Notre-Dame location. Both equally beautiful and instagrammable bur the rue St. Paul location has more food options.
A must-try is the smoked salmon bagel (how can you not have smoked salmon in Montreal?!)
- Dinner: Bar Loic
This is more of a tapas place, so if you’re looking for a big meal this isn’t the place to go. We ordered a few small plates to share and a bottle of wine but safe to say we were still hungry afterwards. This is a place to go if you’re looking for a cool place to have a few drinks.
- Lunch: Schwartz
A MUST when you visit Montreal – it’s honestly the best smoked meat sandwich you’ll ever have grace your mouth (was that weird? lol) Just know that the line up is worth it!
Here are some great outdoor attractions to check out:
- Notre Dame Basilica – a historic cathedral (did you know Celine Dion got married here?)
- Place Jacques Cartier – a lively public square
- The Montreal Observation Wheel
- Place d’Armes – a historic public square