A couple of weeks ago, on a leisurely Friday afternoon before Christmas break, my cousin Jasmine messaged me whilst I was finishing up for the day at work:
“Want to go to Montreal this weekend?”
My immediate reaction was “What?! Tomorrow morning?! No way, we haven’t planned anything!”…but the more I thought about it, the more I realized there wasn’t any real reason NOT to go.
Fortunately for us, with my cousin’s discount the travel expenses were under $100, and we had confirmed lodging with a friend who was also in Montreal for the weekend. The flights were frequent and short, and the weather was good (although FRIGID) so the chances of getting stuck were low. Also, we’d both been to Montreal before, so minimal planning and sightseeing was needed.
“Why not?” I said. “See you at the airport tomorrow morning!”
We arrived in Montreal early on Saturday morning, and went straight from the airport to Boulevard Saint Laurent to eat our most favourite crêpes at Breizh café. If you’re a long-time reader then you’ve definitely heard me wax on about the delicious galettes (savoury crêpes) that just don’t exist in Toronto. Galettes are made with buckwheat flour and lots of butter so they are delectably crispy out the outside, and the perfect vessel for melted cheese and yummy sauces on the inside. I think I would fly back to Montreal just to satisfy my savoury crêpe cravings! We also had a dessert crêpe, because we had gone all that way after all 🙂 We shared a crêpe with salted caramel, jam, and chocolate sauce. It’s not one I would have normally picked, but Jasmine recommended it and I am so glad we ordered it. It was DIVINE.
After crêpes, we trudged down the icy sidewalks and over to Rue St Denis to buy pastries from Mamie Clafoutis. This bakery is soooo good, but soooo pretentious! The service was unfortunately, not very friendly.
Jasmine and I entered the bakery and stood at the counter in what appeared to be the line. However, once we were next, the attendant walked away and started restocking the pastry display. The man behind us butted ahead, and held out a little piece of paper before stating his order, and the attendant quickly helped him.
That’s when I noticed the counter to our left – we were supposed to have taken a number in order to be served. I looked around for the ticket dispenser, and walked around the shop looking before noticing it near the front door. Not one employee offered to help, or appeared to care in the slightest (and no, they were not that busy). All in all we had stood around for at least 10 minutes before realizing the number system, and then waited again for our number to be called. I don’t mind waiting if it’s busy, but the employees simply wanted to ignore us.
As we waited to be served, another girl walked in and was about to fall into the same dilemma as we did, but Jasmine helpfully explained to her that she had to take a number and wait for it to be called.
When we were finally helped, the customer service we received was borderline polite…I was just happy to get out of there with my box of almond croissants!
After Mamie Clafoutis, we walked through beautiful Carre St Louis, which looked like something out of a storybook with the snow blanketing all the benches, trees, and statues. It was beautiful and reminded me of one of my favourite Emily Dickinson poems – I posted it on Instagram. After taking lots of fun photos – and freezing our butts off – we walked back to Boul Saint Laurent to meet up with Jasmine’s friend and eat some smoked meat.
Before arriving at Schwartz, I HAD to pick up some hand foot warmers to stick in my boots and gloves. It felt like -17 and my toes were starting to go numb! I have lots of respect for native Montrealers, I don’t know how they brave their crazy winters!
Schwartz was packed (as usual), and we split a sandwich and poutine (mais, oui!) since we were still bursting from our brunch earlier. Afterwards, we shopped along Saint Laurent for as long as we could before seeking respite indoors. I picked up some cute pins to put on the lapels of my jean jacket 🙂 one of them is a donut and it says “Donut Come 4 Me”. I LOVE IT!
After a brief rest, we headed to the Christmas market and took lots of fun pictures. There were carolers, mulled wine, delicious snacks, and pretty trinkets for sale. We warmed our hands by bonfire pits and I kept my hand warmers on the whole time!
We also hurried over to Simon’s to buy some last minute Christmas gifts, and the to the SAQ to pick up some wine which we promptly drank once we returned to the hotel. Jasmine and I thawed out a little again before bravely marching through the cold towards old Montreal to watch fireworks at the old port.
The fireworks were absolutely MAGICAL. The display was set to various Disney songs in French, and they went all out. It was so gorgeous to watch, and Jasmine and I danced around a little to keep warm.
“I’m SO glad we came!!” I told Jasmine, and she agreed. We vowed to do more spontaneous trips in the new year (woohoo, 2018!).
After a delicious dinner at a pizzeria in old Montreal, we ubered back to the hotel (we held out in the cold as long as we could!!) and got into bed right away. Our flight was early the next morning, and after landing back in Toronto, I still had my whole Sunday ahead of me! 24 hour trips are the best 🙂
Montreal is such a cool city, and I’ve only ever visited in cooler/freezing months! I can’t wait to visit in summer, and enjoy the festivals and parks, and of course, food.
Thanks for reading xox!