When proper traveling, read not for work, I have a planned/not planned theory on sight seeing. Plan the top 5-7 things you want to see or do (more if you’re staying somewhere longer) and then eat great food, get a drink and people watch. Wander around or now, but live in the city where you are. Even if it’s only for a few hours.
Montreal is a great opportunity to do all those things and brush up on your French. My experience in Montreal is it has a little bit of an identity crisis. It’s French, it’s Canadian, it’s old, it’s new. Maybe that’s more cities than I realized, but Montreal - it’s a little bit for everyone.
I appreciate when a city has excellent public transit. You can get easily maneuver through the city (and the airport) by bus or metro. But also, thank goodness for Google maps with their public transit interaction, because I can’t read bus or train timetables whatsoever. The buses where punctual despite my visit being during Montreal’s construction holiday.
Olive + Gourmando, get the salty ricotta or Mom’s runner up Miami sandwich https://oliveetgourmando.com/
Caribou Gourmand, duck legs appetizer is THE BEST. https://www.caribougourmand.com/
Guillaume bakery https://guillau.me
Drogheria Fine - Della Nonna gnocchi https://lasalsadellanonna.com/
Fairmount Bagel, be sure to peek inside and see the wood fire oven https://fairmountbagel.com
Juliette & Chocolat, the La Chiquita was a sneaker-upper hit https://julietteetchocolat.com
Dieu du Ciel! Brewery https://dieuduciel.com
Liverpool House, eat everything http://www.joebeef.ca/
Things to do and see:
Mount Royal, highly recommend taking the trail up and the stairs down. Unless you want to do some severe cardio https://www.lemontroyal.qc.ca/
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, I was able to catch the gorgeous Thierry Mugler Couturissime exhibit https://www.mbam.qc.ca/
Marche Bonsecours, historic market now filled with Quebec boutiques https://www.marchebonsecours.qc.ca/en/
Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel, this chapel became a pilgrimage site for the sailors to pray for a smooth sailing, read- oh look at the boat votives! https://margueritebourgeoys.org/
Notre Dame, while maybe an obvious must see try adding the Aura light show in the evening https://www.aurabasiliquemontreal.com/en/
I love nabbing a few local treats to take home and share or remember the trip by. The cookbook Montreal Cooks seemed to follow me around the city; I first saw it as Olive + Gourmando (I later learned because the chef is featured in it) and then again in the art museum gift shop. I ended up purchasing it online to save me from lugging a heavy suitcase and it was a fantastic post-trip package.
My second souvenir was from duty-free in the Montreal airport- breakfast gin. There was a display of local gins at duty free and I was so tempted to get them all. I asked the store attendant about it and he was no help. After a quick Google and not wanting to lug more than one bottle anywhere, I selected Madison Park Breakfast Gin. This gin is distilled with bergamot to give it the aroma of orange blossom and infused with Earl Grey tea.