We loved what the owner did to renovate this two-bedroom Airbnb Plateau apt in an old house. The apartment exterior was relatively unassuming but once we got inside, we were wowed by the elegant yet modern touch the owner put in every little detail. We wish we had some local friends we could have invited over for a dinner party at this awesome dining table. The location of the apartment makes it a great base to explore the city on foot - we walked to most of the sites during our stay.
cute cafe for breakfast
Montreal is named after Mont Royal. It's a popular hiking/jogging/biking spot among locals. The paved paths are pretty easy but if you want more challenging trails, feel free to cut through the woods and take on steeper dirt paths. Just make sure you bring proper hiking shoes. There is a nice panoramic view of downtown Montreal once you reached the top.
Le Plateau-Mont-Royal, or simply The Plateau, is a hippy neighborhood famous for its colorful houses, bohemian aura, chill cafes, and happening nightlife. It was the main destination for our Montreal trip so we decided to rent a newly renovated Airbnb apartement in the neighbourhood. We spent a good amount of our first day exploring the neighborhood on foot. The closest analogy we can think of to describe it is a mix between "Lower East Side" and "Greenwich Village" in New York City. One street could seem a bit dirty and grungy but the next is very quaint and upscale. You can find a hang out spot here no matter you are a young student, an indie musician, a uber-chic yuppie, or a Portuguese old lady (the area was home to a strong Portuguese community who were mostly factory workers). A few highlights for the neighborhood:
- For cute brownstone houses, check out Rue Drolet and Avenue Laval (btw Avenue du Mont-Royal and Square Saint-Louis). Parc Lafontaine, a square surrounded by quaint houses, is also worth a visit (reminded us a lot of Washington Square Park in NYC).
- For restaurants and cafes, Avenue Duluth (btw St Laurent and Parc Fountaine) is a cute cobblestone street filled with restaurants. We had lunch on this street for both days. Rue Prince Arthur E is another popular restaurant street but was under heavy construction during our visit.
- The Plateau also has one of the richest collections of street art. Half of our pictures on the trip were snapshots of creative graffitis. Some of our favorites are "The Waves" (Ave Duluth E/Rue Saint-Denis), "The Wall of Cats" (outside Café Replika), and "The Graffiti Granny" (Boul Saint-Laurent/Ave des Pins E).
Arepera is a Venezuelian sandwich cafe. Delicious sandwiches and an exortic selection of freshly-squeezed juices. We liked Lulo and Guayaba juices - both were yummy especially Lulo!
assorted middle-east appetizers
After a deliciou brunch at the quirky Chez Jose, we set out to Montreal Botanical Garden. We didn't find any plant sculptures as shown on Google Images (they must have been for a temporary exhibition). Nevertheless, we found the insectarium inside the garden quite interesting with special exhibitions such as the live ants tree and the colorful beatles.
We strolled along Rue St-Denis from Square St Louis to Old Montreal (~ 20-minute walk) . It's a main commercial street filled with shops and restaurants with outdoor seating. Old Montreal itself was a bit disappointing as we were expecting something similar to Paris. There was a lot of road construction going on at the time which didn't help with the experience either. We had a good dessert stop at Maison Christian Faure and also checked out the nearby harbor.
a michael jackson 'tribute'
sweet bread with lobster