We love Montreal. A long weekend in Montreal is just enough to enjoy the best things to do in the city – eat, drink local beer, walk and check out art.
As we bit into the crunchy yet soft boule from Le Fromentier, we enjoyed a tangible memory of our recent visit to Montreal.
It’s no surprise that we love Montreal. There’s just something about the city that speaks to us. Is it the food, the walkability, the architecture, the markets or the French sensibility? Why pick one – we love it enough to have visited Montreal four of the past five years.
We decided to drive up to the Québécois metropolis for the long Thanksgiving weekend. The long, yet achievable one day drive is just over eight hours from our home city of Philadelphia. Since this fourth visit was to be relatively short, we decided to mix up the trip with some returns to tried and true favorites as well as some new spots.
- How to Spend a Long Weekend in Montreal – Eating and Walking
We like to try different hotels. We’ve stayed at a fancy chain hotel (the Omni Hotel Mont Royal), a B&B (Anne Ma Soeur Anne) and a boutique hotel (Hôtel Chez Swan). This time, we stayed at a new hotel called Zero1, right near Chinatown. It was affordable, comfortable and well positioned for walking.
How to Spend a Long Weekend in Montreal – Eating and Walking
During the days, we did lots of walking and, of course, eating. On previous visits, during warmer weather months, we enjoyed climbing Mount Royal, but on this visit we spent most of our time walking around the city. We missed the lovely hike through the park but, luckily, there was lots of interesting architecture and street art to enjoy.
We tried a new bakery, Boulangerie Guillaume, in the Mile End neighborhood. The chocolate almond croissant, cheddar fig fougasse and cappuccinos were outstanding at this bustling little bakery – a characteristic of Montreal that’s indebted to French culture.
Boulangerie Guillaume is located at 17 Avenue Fairmount Est, Montreal, QC H2T 1C7, Canada.
We always enjoy shopping in the Mile End neighborhood, and a highlight was our visit to L’Emouleur, where we got to see and try some amazing knives. It’s no surprise that many top chefs in Montreal are customers at this store.
Patati Patata hit the spot when we were jonesing for Montreal’s signature street dish – poutine. For the few who aren’t familiar, poutine consists of french fries topped with gravy and cheese curds. This hipsterish little spot didn’t disappoint, and we enjoyed our poutine with additional toppings of hot dogs and roast beef.
Patati Patata is located at 4177 St Laurent Blvd, Montreal, QC H2W 1Y7, Canada.
Bières et Compagnie
Montreal has many bars, but one of our favorites is Bières et Compagnie. We are huge fans of Unibroue, and this bar always has several on tap. What a treat to have a pint of Maudite in the middle of the afternoon for happy hour prices. Yes, we hit this spot twice on this three-day trip.
Bières et Compagnie is located at 4350 St Denis St, Montreal, QC H2J 2K8, Canada.
Les Chocolats de Chloé
Another favorite is the chocolate shop, Les Chocolats de Chloé. After drooling over the freshly made hand-dipped chocolates, we bought a six-pack of chocolates to share. We could have easily had one of each flavor.
Les Chocolats de Chloé is located at 546 Avenue Duluth East, Montreal, QC H2L 1A9, Canada.
Musee des Beux-Arts
We always like to check out art. This time, we visited the Musee des Beaux-Arts, a/k/a the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, where we enjoyed the comprehensive Impressionism exhibition featuring hundreds of paintings and sculptures from the Sterling and Francine Clark collection. The vastness of the Impressionist art as well as the story behind the collection reminded us of the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia.
Musee des Beux-Arts is located at 1380 Rue Sherbrooke O, Montréal, QC H3G 1J5, Canada.
Jean-Talon Market and La Fromagerie Hamel
Our visit to the Jean-Talon Market had a different vibe compared to our previous springtime visits. As we perused the aisles filled with apples and root vegetables, we lamented the sparsity of maple products due to an apparent bad maple season. We opted for a snack of cheeses which you could never find in the U.S.A. – four-year aged Comté and unpasteurized Brie de Meaux at our favorite Montreal cheese shop, La Fromagerie Hamel.
Jean-Talon Market is located at 7070 Avenue Henri-Julien, Montréal, QC H2S 3S3, Canada.
The Plateau neighborhood is great for shopping, Portuguese food and smoked meat sandwiches at Schwartz’s. For lunch at the legendary Jewish eatery, we shared a medium smoked meat sandwich, french fries and a big pickle. We chose the medium fat meat option, which is somewhere between lean and fatty. The perfectly seasoned meat satisfied our decadent food urge with its old school flavor and unctuous, melty texture.
Schwartz’s is located at 3895 St Laurent Boulevard, Montreal, QC H2W 1L2, Canada.
Starch for the Road – Fairmount Bagels and Le Fromentier
Lucky or smart, we bought an extra boule for the freezer. We were quite happy as we ate it this weekend.
Fairmont Bagel is located at 74 Avenue Fairmount Ouest, Montreal, QC H2T 2M1, Canada.
Le Fromentier is located at 1375 Avenue Laurier Est, Montreal, QC H2J, Canada.
Sigh, we miss Montreal already. Perhaps it’s time to start planning our next long weekend in Montreal. We already have some great tips on what to do in Montreal when we return.