I love Montreal. It feels like a little slice of France right here in Canada. While only two hours away from Ottawa by car, I don’t get there nearly as much as I’d like to, but I promise to change that.
I used to travel to Montreal frequently with my girlfriends mainly for its amazing shopping. The city is replete with everything from high-end designers to independent boutiques stocked with treasures.
As I got older, my trips to Montreal started focusing on culture and food. With its great festivals such as Just For Laughs and the Montreal Jazz Festival, there is always something fun to do. Montreal’s Musée des Beaux Arts is a favourite stop for me also as its beautiful inside and out. When I’m shopped out, I’ll take in the Québecois art and my favourite, its stunning Renaissance collection.
The past month or so has been nothing short of stressful. I needed a break, so I made an executive decision. I surprised my husband with a quick trip to my favourite Canadian city. I booked a night at a great new hotel and some train tickets and we were off.
I got lucky with Hotel10! I was looking for something central, but in close proximity to the Vieux Port and its great restaurants.
Located at 10 Sherbrooke Street West, Hotel10 is recently renovated. Chic, modern and elegant, the hotel was straight up my alley. It was my lucky day when we checked in also. We were promptly upgraded to a suite that was nothing short of luxurious. In fact, Ryan and I both gasped when we walked in.
Beautifully decorated, it had it’s own living room. One corner of the bedroom featured a huge, round sofa which I immediately dove into. The room also featured my dream bathroom: clad in beautiful calacatta marble, gleaming chrome fixtures, huge mirrors, large modern bathtub and separate rooms for the shower and toilet.
The staff treated us like royalty. Seriously amazing service. I can’t wait to return. The hotel also features a complimentary car service (two beautiful Mercedes to boot) and a gorgeous outdoor terrace with bar. Perfect for enjoying cocktails on a hot summer night.
Rooftop Patio Life
After settling in, we were taken to Vieux Montreal in one of the hotel’s Mercedes. Très glam. We were both a little peckish, so we decided to hit up one of our favourite haunts: the Hotel Nelligan’s rooftop terrace. I was jonesing for their delicious salmon tartare and a Bubbly St. Germain cocktail. Ryan and I enjoyed our lunch while taking in the Nelligan’s chic yet relaxed atmosphere and gazing out at the views of the Old Port.
Walking Vieux Montréal’s cobblestone streets is one of my favourite things to do. The architecture of the old buildings is beautiful. Old Montreal also offers some of the best shopping anywhere. From cutting edge boutiques like Féline and SSENSE to art galleries and countless cafés, there is something for everyone.
We walked down to the port and took in the ziplining, gawked at the huge, new ferris wheel and walked through the Marché Bonsecours…all the while munching on caramel popcorn. #heaven
Taking In Sherbrooke Street
If you like the big designer names, Sherbrooke Street West is for you. Holt Renfrew is located on Sherbrooke and I must stop in each time I visit Montreal.
As a beauty blogger, I don’t ever need to buy cosmetics. There is something to be said though to be able to walk into a gorgeous department store such as Holts and buy the beauty favourites that you aren’t always gifted with. That is exactly what I did, hitting up my favourite brands such as Diptyque, Jo Malone, Chanel and Guerlain.
I moved on to the designer bag section and salivated over all the new Prada Cahier bags. I tried on some YSL Kate Tassel Bags and a few Pandora Bags, and then decided to have a glass of champagne to wash down the scary prices. Off to Crescent Street we went.
My husband Ryan is an undercover foodie. Despite is love of burgers and fries, this guy always finds the best restaurants in all of the cities we travel too.
He made a reservation at Foxy, a restaurant nestled in Montreal’s South West District. Located next to a fantastic butcher, Foxy is both moody and beautiful. It’s dark decor glows in the light of its wood-burning ovens at the back of the restaurant. As the host asked us if we had a preference for sitting on the patio or indoors, I shuddered and whimpered to Ryan about how cold it was outside – because, “Canada”.
“I have the perfect spot for you, Madame.” – the host offered.
He whisked us to the back of the restaurant near the wood burning ovens which gave off a glowing warmth. A smile spread across my face as Ryan patted the host on the back.
We got cozy and immediately ordered some red wine and prosecco. Grilled peach and feta salad and oysters were our appetizers, followed by citrusy oven-baked gnocchi and charred baby back ribs. For dessert, I enjoyed a dessert wine unlike anything I’ve ever had before. It was a rich port wine that was fruity and almost “fresh and zesty”. Foxy was quite the memorable experience.
The following morning, Ryan packed me into the Mercedes and we went to Arthur’s Nosh Bar. He promised an amazing brunch and the guy never fails to disappoint. We arrived at Arthur’s and I was pleased at how “instagrammable” the place was. Hey – what can I say? I’m a blogger!
A friendly server seated us while explaining that Arthur’s specializes in “Jewish classics served with a twist and a whole lot of family pride”. I was ready to get my challah toast on.
We ordered the buttery Challah Toast with homemade berry jam, Eggs and Salami, latkes, Avo Toast with a side of beet-marinated Organic Salmon Gravlax and a ton of coffee. Ryan’s eyes were as big as dish plates when the Challah Toast arrived. It was about two inches thick. He growled at me when I asked for a bite. After reasoning with the man, he finally gave up a piece of his berry-jam challah bounty. “Well, damn.” I thought. That was good. DAMN GOOD.
We took our time, enjoying this sweet, sweet food and I couldn’t help but people watch. Arthur’s was comprised of everybody. Locals, fashionistas, cool hipsters and an Iris Apfel-type who walked in with a bright purple Birkin. My day was made and it was only 11am.
After brunch, we ended up in Saint-Henri at the Atwater Market – a cool outdoor/indoor fresh food market.
By that time, it was about wine o’clock, so we popped into Foiegwa across the street from the Atwater Market. Actually, Ryan dragged me there. He loves it and I was sold when he said that it looks like it was plucked directly from Paris.
Foiegwa is a little gem and I mean it. It’s pretty and very small. The walls of this restaurant are lined with caricatures of famous Montrealers. Tables are topped with simple floral arrangements made of local blooms and the decor is beautiful right down to the dishes. We were served by possibly the most French of the charming waiters on Earth. He talked me into a chilled glass of French rosé (who are we kidding – you don’t have to convince me to have rosé ever) while Ryan enjoyed a Stella Artois.
We rested and laughed, and ordered round 2. Ryan told me of how he had a stellar meal at Foiegwa right before a UFC match a few years ago. This is sooooo Ryan. A wonderful mix of opposites. He’s the type who’d use a Louis Vuitton shopping bag as a trash bag. He’s known for ordering obscure European beers at baseball games. He’s the type who chose to buy a present at Tiffany & Co. because it was closest jewelry store to the parking garage at the mall. I love him.
A beautiful beauty boutique and spa, Etiket offers a highly curated selection of top notch skincare, luxury beauty and hard-to-find fragrances such as Penhaligon’s and Amouage.
I loaded up on some Tata Harper products (Tata Harper Revitalizing Body Oil – AHM-azing) and the SkinMedica Gel Cleanser (my absolute favourite). Co-owner Steven Poligato was kind enough to educate me on the various brands and spa services offered by Etiket, and I cannot wait to go back to try their Hydrafacial MD.
Back to Ottawa – but first, La Musée des Beaux Arts
Sigh. It was almost time to head to the train station. We thought we’d swing by the Musée des Beaux Arts for a quick peek, but realized we didn’t have enough time. We took in the beautiful installation at the side of the museum. Really eye-catching and fun, and made for some great shots!
We had a wonderful stay in Montreal, as always. I cannot wait to get back and explore a few more places off the beaten track, such as Ile Sainte-Hélène, the Montreal Botanical Garden, the Biosphere and rue Saint Hubert (awesome independent boutiques and wonderful cafés).
I really hope you enjoyed the rundown of my little Montreal getaway. If you’re planning a trip to this lovely city, I hope I provided you with some fun ideas!