A Weekend Guide to Montreal

A Weekend Guide to Montreal

A couple weeks ago Kyle and I headed up to Montreal. Montreal is a fantastic mix of really old school (read: cobblestone streets and quaint cafes) and modern (read: modern art galleries and skyscrapers). It really has something for everyone. This itinerary has the perfect amount of things to do to fill a weekend, though I’m pretty sure I could have spend several more days meandering the streets of Montreal. And really, I’d better go back soon because right now the Canadian dollar is MEGA weak compared to the US dollar. So drop what you’re doing, and get to Canada now! And as you plan, here’s my guide to my favorite things in Montreal.

Old Montreal

Walk along the cobblestone streets of Old Montreal and take in the culture. Similar in many ways to the old parts of Quebec City, you’ll feel like you’re wandering around a little town in Paris (without the international flight!). The streets are lined with excellent restaurants and scores of art galleries with paintings of every style. It felt like going through an art museum full of today’s artwork. My favorite shop, by far, was Malteste; his landscape photography is absolutely stunning and unique.

Pro Tip: Most of the art galleries are open 10 – 6, so plan your itinerary at Old Montreal accordingly.

The cobblestone streets of Old Montreal

View of a big, old building in Old Montreal

Notre Dame Basilica

While there is a CAD $5 entrance fee, don’t pass up this majestic church. The interior is mostly wood which gives it a very different feel than most of the old stone churches you usually see.

Pro Tip: Walk around the area just outside of the church to find some interesting statues.

Outside the Notre Dame Basilica in Montreal, Canada

 

Inside the Notre Dame Basilica in Montreal, Quebec, Canada

An interesting statue of a man with a dog nose holding a pug in Montreal

Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

This museum is made up of several buildings that are all connected by an underground tunnel. We were there for several hours and only made it through the main building. It could take days to make it through the entire gallery! Currently there is a special exhibit on the life and art from Pompeii that ends with information about the volcanic eruption that buried the city. The most haunting part of the exhibit was at the end where they displayed casts of bodies found in the remains. Archaeologists found skeletons that were entombed in large holes in the ash. When they filled the holes with cement, they discovered these casts in the perfect form of people as they perished.

Casts at the Museum of Fine Arts in Montreal

Pro Tip: You are allowed to come and go from the museum throughout your day, so leave a packed lunch in your car or stop by one of the great restaurants near the museum.

Pro Tip: You lucky duck, you get 2 pro tips for the museum. Are you ready? People 30 and under get a discounted ticket price, so be sure to ask for it. And even if you’re older than 30 (like me…) admission is still only CAD $20/$12 (depending on if you include the special exhibit).

Downtown Montreal

Walking around downtown Montreal was the one thing I really wanted to do that just didn’t get done. The art museum is right by the downtown area, and it looked so fun to walk around! We’re already talking about going back, so I’ll update this section once we do. Until then, learn from my mistake! Save some time to explore the stores and cafes of downtown Montreal.

Downtown Montreal

Pro Tip: Actually walk around downtown Montreal. Unlike me…

Creperie Chez Suzette

If you’re looking for a lunch or dinner in Old Montreal, then Creperie Chex Suzette is your ticket. This restaurant has fondue and crepes, which is amazing but makes ordering VERY difficult. We choose to do a savory crepe as our meal, with cheese fondue as an appetizer and chocolate fondue for dessert. If that sounds like a lot of food to you, you are absolutely right, but I enjoyed every minute of it. Even if Kyle practically had to roll me home. While the fondue was excellent, the crepe was only so-so. Next time, I would skip the crepe all together and focus on the fondue (or get the french onion soup as my meal…it looked decadent).

Pro Tip: You order the fondue in serving sizes based off of the number of people, but our party of 3 ordered a 1-person serving size of chocolate fondue.  The 1-person serving size was more than enough for the 3 of us–and that’s saying a lot because Kyle and I both looooove dessert.

SoupeSoup

Just around the corner from the art museum is this adorable little cafe that serves up daily soups, sandwiches, and salads. With the only menu being on a big chalk board, SoupeSoup serves an ever changing variety of healthy entrees and sweet desserts. It’s delicious, fast, and healthy (what more could you ask for?!).

Pro Tip: They have a combo that includes 1/2 a sandwich, cup of soup, and a dessert/coffee. If you prefer a salad, the salads only come in one size which is pretty big. Kyle ordered a small soup with his, but just the salad was enough for me.

Divine Chocolatier

We held off on dessert at SoupeSoup, but caved when we spotted this delicious chocolate shop right around the corner from the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. We each got a couple truffles, including a Maple Syrup Truffle that Kyle got (which sounds absolutely disgusting to me, but he really liked it). The truffles were soft, not too sweet, and pretty much perfect.

Pro Tip: These truffles melt easy, so keep them cool (ie don’t hold them in your hands for very long). Really, you’re best off just eating them right away like we did. Plus, who has the self control to not immediately eat chocolate that is right in front of them? Certainly not us!

Hotel: SpringHill Suites Old Montreal

This SpringHill Suites is in a prime location, right in the heart of the Old Montreal. The interior is fresh and modern, and the rate includes a breakfast buffet, pool, hot tub, and (small) workout facilities.

Pro Tip: If you’re going to use your car several times a day, pay for the hotel’s valet (CAD $24 per day) because it will let you take the car as much as you’d like. If the car is going to sit there all day, there are several lots for cheaper.

 

 

2 thoughts on “A Weekend Guide to Montreal

    1. It was a wonderful weekend! I’ve enjoyed being near the Canadian border. Something after a weekend (or longer) trip to another country feels so much more exciting than a normal trip.

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