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.
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As we bit into the crunchy yet soft boule from Le Fromentier, we enjoyed a tangible memory of our 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 Canada for the extended 2012 Thanksgiving weekend. The long, yet achievable one day drive was just over eight hours from our home city of Philadelphia.
Since this fourth visit was relatively short, we decided to mix up the trip with some returns to tried and true favorites as well as some new spots.
We like to try different hotels. We’ve stayed at a fancy chain hotel (Omni Hotel Mont Royal), a B&B (Anne Ma Soeur Anne) and a boutique hotel (Hôtel Chez Swann). 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
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 no longer new and has moved to a larger location at at5134 St Laurent Blvd, Montreal, QC H2T 1R8, 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.
L’Emouleur is located at 1081 Laurier Avenue O, Outremont, QC H2V 2L2, Canada.
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. 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 half-dozen chocolates to share during the weekend.
We could have easily had one of each flavor. We settled for just the six.
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 when we travel. This time, we visited the Musee des Beaux-Arts, a/k/a the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.
We enjoyed the museum’s comprehensive Impressionism exhibition featuring hundreds of paintings and sculptures from the Sterling and Francine Clark collection.
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.
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.
Fairmount Bagels and Le Fromentier
The weekend flew by, and we ended our visit by picking up snacks for the road at Fairmount Bagels and Le Fromentier.
Lucky or smart, we bought an extra boule for the freezer. We choose to think we were both.
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.
Plan Your Montreal Stay
About the Authors
Daryl & Mindi Hirsch
Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.