I recently went away with my husband for the first time since my kids have been born. It’s been 6 years since we’ve been away for more than one night together. 6 YEARS. It was time. We went away with my siblings and parents who all agreed to make sure our plane ride was under the 2-hour mark in case we had to rush home. Montreal was the perfect spot for us. It was international, with the flight taking just over an hour, but it felt very European. Multiple times, we commented that it felt like we were in Paris. Since it is such an easy trip, I thought I would throw together a quick guide in case you too want to get away for a weekend!
To start the trip, I would recommend flying out on a Thursday or Friday night. We took an 8 pm flight after work and we were snoozing in our hotel rooms by 11 pm. It gave us a chance to rest and relax before starting our day early the next morning.
The next morning, we had breakfast at Maison Boulud in the Ritz Carlton. The restaurant atmosphere is beautiful and the location was right next to our first stop of the day – Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. We went through Love is Love – a one-room gallery featuring the Jean Paul Gaultier wedding couture. Talk about GORGEOUS! Then we took a quick walk through the Beatles’ Revolution Exhibit. It featured the music, fashion, communication, and consumerism revolutions of the 60s and 70s and was wonderfully done.
Next up, we went on a 2.5 hour Beyond the Basilica tour led by Spade & Palacio. It started at the Plateau of Mont-Royal where we immediately went into the Basilica and then on an exploration of Old Town Montreal. Along the way, we stopped for Bao Buns and Coffee as part of the tour before it ended.
Luckily for us, we were close to Schwartz’ Deli where we went for AMAZING smoked meat sandwiches. This restaurant is a must-do for sure and the lines are out the door. If it is a nice day, I recommend grabbing lunch from the take-out side and then eating at one of the picnic areas located up and down the street.
Our last stop before dinner was a Bateau Mouche ride down the St. Lawrence River. The ride offers stunning views of the city and after being on our feet for over 3 hours, it offered us a chance to relax as well. We took the last cruise before the dinner cruises began – so know that a meal on board is available as well!
We went back to our dinner to shower and rest before our dinner at La Salle à Manger, a hip restaurant located on the Avenue du Mont-Royal. Stores, bars, and restaurants line the street and we were lucky enough to be there when a street art festival was happening so we walked around a bit, stopped at Crèmerie Meu Meu for ice cream (get the cookies and creme!) and then headed back to our hotel.
After a long day, we slept in before heading out on a Food Tour with Fitz and Follwell. We did a tour of the North. Our first stop was Wilensky where we had a “special” – grilled bologna, salami, cheese, and mustard. The tour also included cannolis, lattes, natas and a cheese and wine pairing before ending at the Jean- Talone Market.
We walked around the market sampling treats and purchasing some souvenirs at a store nearby before heading to Mont Royal for a hike up to the lookout. The walk is very gradual — we saw toddlers skipping past– but it is picturesque. There is a lookout close to the peak of the “mountain” that offered gorgeous views of the city. There were also tons more hiking trails to explore, but we were tired so we took a quick path down to our hotel.
We had picked up St. Viateur bagels earlier in the day, so we grazed on them while walking down. Let me just say that Montreal style bagels are completely different than their New York counterparts. They are hand-rolled, boiled in honey water and cooked in a woodburning fireplace. I was NOT a fan, but the hubby liked them. Either way, you need to try one while you are in the city!
Our final dinner was at LeMeac, a lively French restaurant with fantastic food! Escargot, roasted duck, salmon tartare and veal are just some of the amazing dishes on the menu. And don’t get me started on the desserts! Multiple people recommended this restaurant to us and it didn’t disappoint.
So that’s it! We headed out early the next day but felt like our vacation had been longer. There was amazing food, lots of places to explore and plenty of outdoor and indoor fun. I will definitely be headed back there in the future.