As previously mentioned, I took a quick 5-day trip to Montreal earlier in the month, two days of which were purely train travel. This left us 3 days to explore – a perfect amount of time for a small city in not-so-great weather. Here are some highlights of the trip:
Located on the river, historic Old Montreal is quaint and lively. Cobblestone streets, small shops, and plenty of restaurants makes it feel like a small European town. The architecture is beautiful and well-preserved. We spent a lovely afternoon strolling around the streets and the waterfront.
I wasn’t expecting much from this basilica (I also don’t get massively excited about church architecture), but wow, this place was incredible. The architecture and details were stunning, and the alter showcased a lot of blue, which I thought was an unusual choice for a Catholic church. Certainly on par with many of the historic churches in Europe. So beautiful.
The Notre-Dame Basilica is located in Old Montreal.
Recommended to us by a very nice girl we met in one of the St. Denis shops, Joverse is probably one of the nicest bars I’ve ever been to. It had a slightly older crowd, 25 and over, and everyone looked like they stepped out of a magazine spread. Not a trashy Abercrombie magazine spread, but an upscale, tasteful, and elegant one – like everyone was going to a fancy cocktail party. And best of all, Joverse was not pretentious (really!). The bouncer was very nice, the hostess was accommodating, and the bartenders were cool. I heard that the food was excellent, although we only got wine. My friend and I agreed that if this bar were in New York, we’d go every weekend.
I didn’t take any pictures because I didn’t want to be creepy.
Montreal Botanical Garden
I love stuff like this! The Montreal Botanical Gardens was a treat. A fantastic indoor display featured a variety of ecosystems, plants, and a butterfly exhibit. Quick note: we went on a Saturday and it was packed with kids, but that’s to be expected.
Shopping Along St. Denis and St. Laurent
If you have an afternoon to stroll around the city, pop into some of the small shops along St. Denis and St. Laurent. Some are more affordable than others.
Olive et Gourmando
A great cafe in Old Montreal, it’s super busy but worth the wait. Sandwiches, salads, and a delectable mushroom mac and cheese.
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
A lovely little museum (we spent about 3 hours there) that had a variety of collections including medieval and renaissance art, a fascinating Napoleon exhibit containing many artifacts, and a freaky modern art display. Best part is that the museum is FREE for anyone under 30.
Jean Talon Market
A lively market with lots of produce, cheese, meats, and desserts. I heard it’s bigger and better in the summer/fall seasons.
Saint Joseph’s Oratory
Canada’s largest church, St. Joseph’s Oratory provides beautiful views of the surrounding areas. Bring your walking shoes – there are lots of stairs.