A Summer Weekend in Montreal

Over the Fourth of July we spent a weekend in Montreal. We chose Montreal because it was relatively close (just a one hour flight from New York) and it had been on my bucket list for quite some time. It was a fantastic vacation and every bit as beautiful and historic and delicious as I had hoped it would be. We stayed in a gorgeous apartment next to Chinatown, walked around Old Montreal enjoying the stunning historic part of town, and discovered that Notre Dame Basilica was well worth the $5 donation. We saw the Biosphere at Ile Sainte Helene and explored the Jardin Botanique. Yes, there are a lot of language politics around French and English, and most people speak French on a daily basis, but it’s also very bilingual. We had no problems getting around using only English.

Magasin General of Montreal
Citizens of Montreal Statue
Montreal at Night
Notre Dame Basilica of Montreal

We headed to the market, Jean-Talon, and browsed all the beautiful produce.

Inside Marche Jean Talon of Montreal
Radishes in Montreal
Berry Baskets in Montreal

On our agenda? Hitting all of Montreal’s most famous eateries! We made sure to head to St. Viateur’s for a famous Montreal bagel, hand rolled in honey water. These little beauties are more crisp than your typical bagel and not as doughy as a New York bagel. I quite liked them, especially with the homemade strawberry cream cheese.

Big Green Chair in Montreal
Breakfast in Montreal

We hit up the famous Schwartz’s Deli, which is like the Katz’s of Montreal– tasty smoked meat sandwich with a side of cherry cola! Jesse and I shared one sandwich, because we were still planning to head to dinner later on! Our favorite dinner spot? Le Club Chasse et Pesche (in English, “the hunting and fishing club”) was a cozy cave-like spot tucked away on a side street and was easily our best meal in Montreal.

Meat Market in Montreal

We brunched at Beautys Luncheonette, which is a Montreal institution. Just as well known as the diner is the proprietor, Hymie, or “Beauty.” He is now 92 years old but is still there, greeting guests at the door.

Beautys Newspaper Article in Montreal
Waiting at Beautys Montreal

Montreal’s Botanical Gardens are unlike any other I’ve seen. The entire space is packed with these beautiful living sculptures crafted into elaborate scenes.

Sculpture at the  Jardin Botanique of Montreal
Frog at the Jardin Botanique of Montreal
Sculptures at the Jardin Botanique of Montreal
Jardin Botanique in Montreal

More of my favorite activity—walking around Old Montreal at dusk.

Marguerite Bourgeoys Museum of Montreal
Horse and Carriage in Montreal

The Details

Try the Montreal bagels at St. Viateur’s.

A meal at Beauty’s Luncheonette is a must. Just as well-known as the diner is the proprietor, Hymie, or “Beauty.” He is now 92 years old but is still there, greeting guests at the door!

Chinatown is very small (a single street) but so cute and packed with good eats. Pick up egg tarts or a few baked goods from Patisserie Harmonie or any of the bakeries on Rue de la Gauchetiere Ouest.

Visit La Banquise for every variety of poutine imaginable.

Dinner at Le Club Chasse et Pesche is worth it!

Helpful Hints

Purchase the 3-day unlimited pass for public transportation from the airport kiosk – it’s good for the entire transit system, including bus and metro lines.

We traveled in July and highly recommend it. Summer in Montreal is beautiful!

Anna Wu is a wedding and portrait photographer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She can often be found photographing and eating her way through various locations around the world. Follow her work on her blog and Facebook.

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  1. Sara Gray Avatar

    Montreal has been on my list — and this made me want to go even more! Thanks for the Monday morning eye candy!

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