Montreal Travel Guide
Last month, I went on a whirlwind weekend adventure to Montreal, a vibrant Canadian City with European Appeal. I have a strong love for French culture, romance and elegance which was brought to life in this beautiful city.
It was such a magical 4 days, filled with the most delicious foods, people watching, sightseeing, and just oogling at the beautiful surroundings.
I’d been to France before, and travelled much of Europe, I was always enchanted by this beautiful place that seemed to have so much love invested in everything from the food to the architecture. I adored walking down the cobblestone streets, sitting for hours in cafes, shopping at vintage boutiques and markets and site seeing. The people seemed to have a slower pace of life, with more appreciation and inherent confidence.
Little did I know this charm was available to me within a few hour drive.
Arriving In Montreal you are instantly transported to a vibrant atmosphere, you no longer feel like you are in Canada, amongst the hustle and bustle of the never sleeping Toronto city. You are emersed in charm.
We spent 4 days in Montreal exploring the streets and eating all the foods, jotting off to yoga and taking all the romantic, European charm those bustling cobblestone streets had to offer.
Arriving into Montreal I checked into my AIRBNB ( link will give you a $40 credit for registering).
After checking in I parked my car, and there it stayed for the weekend. I really learned to appreciate how nice it is to walk, the cool fresh air feels so good. You see much more, and live more in the moment without having a specific destination . It’s also incredibly easy to get around from place to place walking. I highly recommend it.
AND I mean I walked… a lot
My Absolute favourite part was Old Montreal, as I loved the charm…and writing this itinerary has me feeling all the feels and missing it terribly! I can’t WAIT to go back. Until then, I hope you enjoy this guide filled with my favourite restaurants, yoga and wellness hideaways, things to do, places to explore, shops, hotels, cafes, and sight-seeing spots in each country! I discovered some of these through friends, followers, Yelp, Trip Advisor, and my own inner guidance. 😉
I spent 4 days in Montreal, which is super beautiful: clean, charming, right on the water, lots of nature, and tons of delicious restaurants and cafes around. With an upbeat scene and thriving culture. I also love how French take a time every day for themselves. We often place work as a priority, working long hours and placing our social life at the bottom of our list. The French have much stronger of a balance finding time for social life in their daily routines, knowing that to obtain balance you need both work and pleasure. This soon became a part of my daily routine finding a balance of work and play.
Montreal also had a wide selection of healthy foods – I was delightfully surprised by all the late spots ( all of which served unsweetened dairy-free milk options), vegetarian options, Indian restaurants and locally sourced food, health food stores and local Markets.
Mumbai Masala– in the centre of old Montreal, on St Laurent Blvd, this amazing little Indian restaurant has the best lentil and Chana Masala honestly I’ve ever had !! Literally.. I’m still dreaming about this spot. When I go back to Montreal I’ll be stopping here again without a doubt. It was chilly outside and this little restaurant was the perfect escape with food that warmed the body and soul. It was by far the most traditional meal I have ever had, and the staff was amazing and spoke fluent English. I got the Lentil soup, Dal makhani, and Chana Masala. All made with real ingredients, no dairy, NO SUGAR and made with just real traditional spices. It was devoured very very very quickly. The seasoning on the meat is absolutely to die for and I felt amazing leaving this spot. Also available on uber eats
Tommy’s Cafe – good spot for Lattes…lots of plants inside and good working vibes as well. I ordered an unsweetened coconut milk Latte. Tommy’s is right in the middle of the beautiful Old Montreal. Great place to work, but very busy!
Café Reine Garçon– an absolutely cool vibe cafe, with collections from all of the owner’s travels. This odd mismatched placed had with the most epic cortado you could ever imagine! The walls were filled with sassy, an even a little vulgar quotes, old political paraphernalia, The decor had everything from Tony the tiger to 50s style bikes. I sat for hours at the long wooden table with mismatched chairs working away and people watching. This charm was conveniently located on the popular Duluth st, right across from my airbnb… which meant I could sit in my room and spy on them until they opened, then run down the stairs across the street to get my beloved cortado, it was so cool.
Khyber Pass Restaurant – this spot lives up to the hype for suuuureeee. Such good falafel! I had the falafel plate with creamy hummus, and lentil soup. Lentil Soup… notice a trend here..
Cooper Branch– really cool vegan restaurant right in the downtown core with the most to DIE for bowls !! I got the MEDITERRANIO with simple fresh ingredients, and an olive oil dressing this will forever hold a place in my heart. Still wishing I had the chance to try the homemade falafel wrap… if you do let me know how it is !!
La Panthere Verte – Another MUST see vegan diner, everything locally sourced and fresh with a huge variety of healthy eats ! I chose the Bol Falafel with home made hummus and tahini dressing. This was so filling I had it for two meals , and would love it for two more !
Dinner from copper bowl
C’est La Vie – one of the best markets for local healthy eats and groceries (and I had a LOT lol) C’est La Vie is known for their high-quality local produce. Definitely a must! Also conveniently located by the Park, so enjoy a nice stroll after you stock up ! YOU MUST try the red velvet oats !! I wish I had a lifestme supply of these
B&Y MARCHÉ URBAIN- A one stop shop for everything from health food to face wash, with a salad bar, kambooca, cafe and ready made HEALTHY meals. This is right in the middle of the action on St Laurent bvld. So after your walking or stocking up on groceries this is my go to spot. After a long day I popped in here grabbed a salad and a small container of homemade hummus, whipped the two together and had a tasty dinner!
MARCHÉ Jean-Talon- One of the best markets for local healthy eats and groceries (and I had a LOT lol) C’est La Vie is known for their high-quality local produce. Definitely a must! Also conveniently located by the Park, so enjoy a nice stroll after you stock up !
Atwater- One of the best markets for local healthy eats and groceries (and I had a LOT lol) C’est La Vie is known for their high-quality local produce. Definitely a must! Also conveniently located by the Park, so enjoy a nice stroll after you stock up !
I am NOT a huge shopper so I will not claim to be your go-to here, but I did stumble across some cute boutiques I would recommend you check out !
Le Marrakech Store- My favourite little Gem! this took me back to my days backpacking in Morocco. Everything in this little store was important right from the Medinia in Marrakech, with authentic goods from clothing, to pashminas, and even the best hand weaved poofs. Such a cool place !
Boutique 1861- This store radiates elegance and charm in the way only the French can. In the heart of Old Montreal, this little boutique is part of a Family of four stores, each with a specific style offering. 1861 store my heart with it’s vintage, romantic pieces that were truly timeless. I may have picked up a little lacy bralette or two… when in rome right? or Montreal?
La Petite Garcon- Also part of the 1861 family, the petitegarcon has the same stylish interior that draws you in. Trust me I tried to walk by and just couldn’t without sneaking a peek inside. It is soft and girly, but has a modern, urban clothing style. All laid out with one of a kind items, all classy and unique
Le Marrakech Store
Le Marrakech Store
All Store in 1861 Family
La Petite Garcon
Montreal was one of those places where you think “I’ll definitely be coming back here again”.
The Best part is everything is super easy to get to ! I parked my car and walked pretty much everywhere! Where I couldn’t walk I used an Uber, which was super cheap because everything was so close !
I didn’t use any public transportation, nor really had the need to !
AirBnB– an absolute MUST. This was a huge help! Not only was I able to score affordable accommodations, I was able to meet locals who could give me the inside scoop on where to do, what to do and how to get around! Airbnb’s are always my go to when I travel
Neighbourhoods to stay in:
Duluth St ( I stayed here)- Young crowd, lots to do, tons of bars and restaurants, right in old Montreal, 10 min walk from anything including Mount Royal
St Laurent St- Anything close to here puts you right into the heart of Old Montreal which is away from the busy downtown core, and the heart of all the action
Rue- Ste. Urbain- Close to the university and Mount Royal, about a block from Ste. Laurent bvld. Tons of cute shops and a few popular cat cafes !
Nordik Spa– A bit of aways outside of town, this world class spa is worth the trek ! The most relaxing spa environment you will ever see, with amazing treatments, the BEST dining, steam rooms, saunas, hot spring pools, and waterfalls. The rustic look to this place adds to the zen vibes and creates TOTAL bliss !
What to do
WALK AND EXPLORE- everywhere!! each corner that you turn has something new and exciting to see. Everything in Montreal is so elegant and unique.
Mount Royal– I think this one goes without saying ! Hike Mount Royal. I mean the city is named after it …. it is the most beautiful hike, with hundreds of winding trails, surronded by the most well kept trees and gardens. The paths are busy with bikers runners and travellers even on the coldest of days ( it was -18 when I hiked it) HELLO feet warmers….. no matter what the temperature this is a place you could spend hours exploring. Once you get to the top there is an adorable cafe that overlooks the city, sneak inside for a warm up cafe and continue on to the crosses that sit at the very peak !
Parc La Fontain – Montreal Has a ton of cute little parc to explore ! This one was my favourite because it resembled a mini central parc. I spend a few hours walking around looking at all the trails. In the winter the lake freezes and you can skate from one side to the other, in the summer there is a beautiful fountain that lights up at night. and ALL year they have the friendliest squirrels…. one sat in my hand
Old Montreal– Montreal has gained a rep for it’s young drinking age and active night scene. I for one am not a downtown girl and didn’t take part in the scene. What I did love was the charm of Old Montreal. So many unique shops, churches, and cafes! Spend as much time here as you can taking in the beautiful buildings and houses. Take a horse and carriage ride along the water, or hop on the Ferris wheel and see the city from above !
Downtown Montreal– Although I didn’t even step foot into one of the popular night clubs. I did explore downtown. I was lucky enough to be there at the end of November which means all the Christmas decor was up and lit ! The tree sparkled and was absolutely breathtaking. The most memorable building was the Hudson’s Bay Building which had an old elegance, but was decked out in the most beautiful wreaths, ribbons and bows! This is an image I will never forget
McGill University– You don’t have to be a student to appreciate the stunning campus that is McGill University. This building is a landmark on it’s own. It is no wonder it is one of Canada’s top universities, the campus radiates with prestige. There is tons to explore on this campus as you dodge the students. From the book shop to the cafe, and the grounds themselves. It is a must see !
Isle– BEWARE of traffic… I learned the hard way! But once you beat the rush this isle is super cool ! It is home to the famous botanical gardens, biodome and oratory. I didn’t explore each of these since I was only there for a few days, but I DID see the GIANT clear dome they call the Biosphere!
Government Building Old Montreal
Houses in Old Montreal
St Joseph’s Oratory
Feeding the Squirrels in Parc Fontaine
View From Top of Mont Royal
View From Top of Mont Royal
Parc and Houses in Old Montreal
One of the Beautiful Parcs in Montreal
I’m speechless when it comes to Montreal. It was such a wonderful freaking city. It had a metropolitan vibe similar to NYC but with French flair. People were enjoying themselves everywhere we went: in cafes, bars, restaurants. The way French enjoy life and slow down is contagious. I would walk around all day, plopping ourselves around different shops and people watching until dark.
And once it gets dark, the life doesn’t stop. Montreal becomes even more enchanting and vibrant.
I am not one to walk into a club, but I love checking out the local nightlife social scenes, especially knowing the French appreciation for finer things.
Bar Darling – it came highly recommended from friends and followers alike, and i definitely had the most delicious interesting place on my trip here. It had decor like I have never seen before oh my gosh. From gas pumps to old dolls, yet somehow all this mismatched decor looked elegant and charming! The place was so busy we had to wait 20 minutes for a table, but it was well worth the wait! Everyone was so happy and joyful, chatting to friends and strangers ! We were laughing all night!
Bar Big In Japan – one of the most famous well-known bars in Montreal. I still don’t get the name … I went to see what it was all about, and this intimate place was dimly lit with low romantic lights. It was an upscale lounge with bars that weaved symmetrically throughout the floor. Classy vintage bottles and expensive wine glasses hung from the rafted low hanging ceiling. The bartenders were dressed in shirt and tie. This wasn’t just a place of elegance,it was such a cool experience and I’m really glad we went.
Saving the best for last ! My personal favourite and the reason I love to travel is to experience new yoga! I use the Mind&Body app where you can geo tag your location to find gyms, spas, yoga, and anything wellness close by !
Boga – the most unreal experience Like… I almost cried laughing. It was that good. It called for a moment of reflection. You may call this a life-changing experience. Freaking Yoga on a trampoline !!!! That is all folks… just do it
Sivananda Yoga Montreal – its admittedly very hard to Find good yoga in Montreal. But when you do it’s Definitely worth the trip if you are looking to hit up a good yoga class, this is the place to do it ! I did the advanced class, I found it both challenging and authentic ! The whole centre is a wellness hot spot speaking my language, they have tons of workshops and wellness activities && practise AUYERVEDA …. yessss
So there you have it, my friends! My guide to Montreal! I hope you enjoyed, and if you have another recommendation from one of your places in the above, let me know!