A weekend in Montréal

Montréal is my favourite city in Canada. The warm people, the opportunity to practice my French, and the sense of openness, adventure and potential that the city’s streets convey have made every trip I’ve taken to this, the capital of the belle province, wonderful. While the city is buckling down for another one of its legendary harsh winters, I think back to my beautiful September weekend in Montréal. Check out some of my highlights and recommendations here:

Stay at…

hotel10

Photo from Hotel10montreal.com

Hotel 10, (10 Sherbrooke Road) a boutique hotel right on Sherbrooke between St. Laurent and St. Urbain. This hotel was just steps away from the eclectic shops and restaurants on St. Laurent, and an easy jaunt to the Old Port, downtown and anywhere else I needed to be on my trip. I loved the modern look and feel of the lobby, beautiful done in grey marble, dark wood with pops of rich fuchsia. The modern décor carried into the rooms, which were sleek and cool, while being comfortable for those brief moments of relaxation between Montréal adventures.

Take a tour with….

Fitz and Folwell

fitzandfolThere’s no better way to see Montréal than on the back of a bicycle, and there are no better guides than the great folks at Fitz and Folwell (115 Mont Royal Ave West).  I had the pleasure of taking their ‘Hood s and Hidden Gems’ tour. Riding on beautiful Schwinn cruiser bikes, our guide led us through some of the most interesting and under-appreciated neighborhoods in Montréal, including Miles End, Outrement, Plateau, Parc Laurier  (Montréal’s answer to Trinity Bellwoods) and more. With a story to tell about nearly every street, shop and building, we got a peek into a side of Montréal that only locals usually see. The tour was topped off with an authentic Montréal style bagel served fresh and piping hot, a must try. And the tours are rain or shine: if drizzle attempts to ruin your time exploring Montreal, the folks at Fitz and Folwell are prepared, outfitting their clientele in some seriously snazzy rain gear to make sure nothing gets in the way of their tourist adventures. Check out Fitz and Folwell’s website for all their tours and pick one that’s right for you for your next visit. If you feel like walking, take a promenade through…

The Old Port

oldmontreal

from www.vieux.montreal.qc.ca

Also known as Old Montréal, this quaint neighborhood’s cobblestone streets, beautiful boutiques, amazing architecture and picturesque waterfront views make the perfect backdrop for a stroll. I always wander through this area every time I’m in cahier_interior
Montréal, making sure I pop into a few shops. A new discovery was Espace Pepin. An artfully arranged shop on St. Paul Street, Espace Pepin boasts a carefully curated collection of from an array of designers, many of them from Quebec, creating interesting and beautiful things.  From recycled vintage fur, handcrafted jewelry and gorgeous garments, I could spend hours taking it all in.  If your tastes are for more of the finer things, indulge your eyes and work out your wallet in Cahier d’Exercices (369 St. Paul Street West). Credited with elevating Old Montréal into one of the high end fashion hubs of the city, this shop carries every designer name you can dream of.  With Chloe, Celine, Marc Jacobs, Alexander Mcqueen, the store’s collection was curated as thoughtfully and beautifully as any art gallery in the city. My inner fashionista found herself in paradise, and you will too.  But if you’d rather salivate over gourmet food than fancy fabrics, take yourself down the street to…

Olive et Gourmando

Founded by a pair of pastry chefs who craved more culinary freedom than their professions could provide, Olive and Gourmando (351 St. Paul Street) caters to a crowd that loves fresh, delicious and interesting food.  Savoury soups and sandwiches, colorful, crispy salads, refreshing drinks and decadent desserts all leap off O & G’s menu. My staple is the Chevre Chaud – a delicious spin on the traditional grilled cheese, with goat’s cheese, carmelized onions and O &G’s divine homemade ketchup for dipping. My Old Port missions usually have a singular objective: eat at Olive and Gourmando. Try it for yourself, and you’ll see why. When it’s time to burn off those calories, make shopping your cardio at…

Ogilvy

Operating since 1866, Ogilvy (1307 Sainte-Catherine Road West) is Quebec’s answer to Holt Renfrew (though the two retail giants have recently merged in the province). Ogilvy boasts a masterful balance of your standard designer fare and a showcase of homegrownphoto from ogilvycanada.com

designers that Montréal is most proud of. Be sure to head up to the 5th floor to check out the Cabinet Ephemere, a beautifully laid out pop up shop featuring some of the most interesting and innovative Quebecois designers presenting their best work in a creative andCABINET-webpage-635x725 innovative way.  When you’ve shopped your heart out, head to dinner at…

 

 

Big in Japan

Stepping into Big in Japan (3723 Saint Laurent Blvd) feels a bit like walking into a samurai cowboy movie (anyone who’s seen Bunraku can perhaps relate to that). With dishes and cocktails inspired by traditional Japanese cuisine, Big in Japan is a great way to give you energy to take your day into night. So after dinner, take a stroll up St. Laurent, hang a right on Roy Road and have cocktails at…

Else’s

A cute little bar in Mile End, Else’s (156 Roy Road east) was one of the only bars I found in Montréal that had a passable selection of bourbon to be imbibed. In addition to its broader liquor selection, Else’s also had a great menu of yummy pub fair, and a relaxed, yet eccentric atmosphere that made it perfect for people watching or just catching up with friends over drinks.  When you’ve had your fill at Else’s and have some energy to expend, you can get your dance and drink on at…

Nesta

nestaThis lounge/bar hybrid was a wonderful discovery earlier this summer. On Wednesday and Thursday nights, Nesta (3519 St-Laurent Montreal) keeps things simple with their smaller, upstairs bar, featuring comfy couches and a modest dance floor.  On Fridays and Saturdays, the doors open into the larger main space, with loft style exposed brick walls, a large and sleek round bar at the center of the room, and a speakeasy kind of feel that inspires nostalgia and the irresistible urge to dance on the much larger dance floor. What stays consistent every night of the week is the bar’s welcoming feel and killer music. Funk, soul, oldschool pop, hip hop and good ol’ rock and roll keeps the vibe upbeat and fun, and the dance floor(s) filled with boogying bodies no matter what night you find yourself at Nesta. While the crowd trends on the younger side, anyone who loves music, loves to dance, and loves a good time will find exactly that at this St. Laurent staple.

While I may not be brave enough to head back to beautiful Montréal now, you can bet that I’m counting down the days until I can go back.  Head to http://www.tourisme-montreal.org and check out the great adventures you can have in Montréal at any time of year, and maybe I’ll see you there next spring.

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Nadia Elkharadly

Nadia Elkharadly

Nadia Elkharadly is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of Addicted Magazine. Her myriad of addictions include music, fashion, travel, technology, boxing and trying to make the world a better place. Nadia is also a feminist, an animal lover, and a neverending dreamer. Keep up with her on social media through @thenadiae.
Nadia Elkharadly