Five Ways to Experience Summer in Montréal

Flowers at Jardin Botanique.

Five Ways to Experience Summer in Montréal

Montréal is one of the most unique cities in North America, as well as what I consider to be the most romantic. Between cobblestone streets and French on the tip of everyone’s tongue, it just stands out from the crowd.

Montreal.

Montreal.

While there are a million ways to experience the beauty and distinctive qualities of the city, there are a five ways to experience summer in Montréal, especially if you are short on time.

Saber a bottle of champagne

La Champagnerie in Montreal.

La Champagnerie in Montreal.

It’s not often that the opportunity to cut off the top of a champagne bottle with a sword arises, but the unexpected happens when you travel. After a friend recommended La Champagnerie, we headed there for drinks and snacks, not knowing about the chance to saber a bottle of champagne.

After letting their experts help us choose a bottle from their extensive list, they came back to our table to retrieve us for our sabering. I was nervous, but Sebastian immediately put me at ease. He then handed me the saber, lowered the curtain, and positioned my hands correctly on the bottle, angling it at 45 degrees. He then stepped away, assuring me that I wouldn’t shatter the bottle in my hands, as I was fearing. He was right. Once our bottle was sabered, I added my cork to the wall, making a wish, then headed back to my table to enjoy our pink champagne.

Take a bike ride around the city

My bike on the canal

My bike on the canal

With a beautiful day on our side, Saturday afternoon consisted of a private bike tour with Ça Roule Montréal, which was the perfect way to spend our day. Not only was Ruby, our guide, a wealth of information, but I loved the freedom we had in choosing how we wanted to spend our time. Previously, I had only taken a guided bike tour, which was a great introduction to a city, but already knowing a bit about Montréal, it was great to spend our time the way we wanted, with Ruby’s suggestions.

We rode through Griffintown and along the canal, eventually making our way to the Atwater Market, where we stopped in Première Moisson for some sandwiches, wine, and my first taste of foie gras. Then, we got back on our bikes, enjoying all the scenery while joking around with each other. It was the ideal way to see the city and venture to places I would have never thought of exploring.

Eat your way through town.

A Beaver Tail from Queues de Castor

A Beaver Tail from Queues de Castor

Food is often one of my priorities while traveling. Not only do I like to indulge in all of the local dishes, but I also like trying food that takes me out of my comfort zone; Montréal didn’t disappoint. From casual restaurants to upscale spots, I have never had a bad meal in the city. I tried multiple new dishes, from beaver tails to duck confit, and even managed to sneak poutine, a favorite of mine, in twice.

Honestly, you could easily gain weight with the delicious dining options available, but it would be completely worth it. A few of my favorite spots to dine included, La Champagnerie, Le Marché de la Villette, Le Bureau Bar Tapas, Première Moisson, and Nouveau Palais.

Have a few drinks at cinq à sept

White sangria at Terrasse Nelligan

White sangria at Terrasse Nelligan

Not only do many of Montréal’s restaurants and bars have outdoor patios for patrons to enjoy the nice weather, but there is also the tradition of Cinq à Sept. Cinq à Sept translates to five to seven, and it’s the city’s answer to happy hour. Indulge in a drink, or two, and a few snacks while watching city life go by.

For us, it was the perfect way to recap the day and make plans for the night ahead. Two places that I loved for cinq à sept were the rooftop at Terrasse Nelligan and the patio at Baldwin Barmacie.

Wander around the Botanical Gardens

Flowers at Jardin Botanique.

Flowers at Jardin Botanique.

Need to get away from city life? Look no further than the Botanical Gardens. Here, you can find a quiet place to picnic with your family, stroll throughout the gardens, or visit an exhibition. We visited during the International Mosaiculture event, which features fifty works from artists from over twenty-five countries, and will last until the 29th of September.

Not only do they have special exhibits, but when the weather is nice, they also offer cocktails, tapas, and live music. Unfortunately, I didn’t attend this event, but you can be sure I will the next time I find myself in Montréal.

Drinks at Terrasse Nelligan.

Drinks at Terrasse Nelligan.

These unique experiences made my time in Montréal memorable, but the people I shared the trip with were the icing on the cake. Not only did we laugh the entire time, but we truly bonded as friends for life. Even though one of those friends is no longer with us, she was the one who brought us all together to enjoy the best of the city, and she will never be forgotten.

I was a guest of Montreal’s Tourism Board, and my tour with Ça Roule Montréal and visit to the Botanical Gardens were complimentary. However, as always, all opinions are my own.

Spread the love
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Comments (20)

  1. Lance | Trips By Lance

    Looks like a great way to spend time in Montreal. It’s definitely on my short list and I’ll be looking to you for advice when I eventually make it there.

    1. The World Wanderer

      I hope you make it there soon! It’s such a lovely city. I think you’d really enjoy it.

  2. Pola (@jettingaround)

    It’s a great city for eating out and drinking too. 🙂 How can you go wrong with a place called La Champagnerie? 🙂 It looks like you had a great time. Wish I’d been there with you gals!

    1. The World Wanderer

      It was the best! Wish you had been there too! Next time. 🙂

  3. Harvey (H-Bomb's Worldwide Karaoke)

    Those look like great ways to experience Montreal. I didn’t do any of those things, and would like to try some of them out the next time I make it up there. (How could I have failed to go to a Cinq à Sept?) During my one and only visit so far, in 2010, I did experience Montreal in several ways that were also quite enjoyable. Among them:
    1. It was the first Canadian city in which I sang karaoke. 🙂
    2. I found a casino there (it’s a really ginormous one, too — the largest in Canada), and played some blackjack.
    3. The son et lumière show in Notre-Dame Basilica was spectacular, and very informative regarding the history of that beautiful building and of the city itself.
    4. Hiking to the top of Mount Royal is a fun and unique experience, and provides great views of the city below.
    There really is so much to do Montreal!

    1. The World Wanderer

      There really is so much to do here and I haven’t even done what was on your list. I must go back asap! I love that it was your first Canadian karaoke city. 🙂 You’ll have to go back too.

  4. @mrsoaroundworld

    I love the idea of the cinq a sept. So European and so civilised! I really want to go back to Montreal!

    1. The World Wanderer

      Yes, it is really wonderful! You’ll have to come back soon. I love it during any season to be honest.

  5. Frank

    Great post on our city Erin! Glad you got out on the bicycle paths – what few people know is that Montreal is the No. 1 rated city in North America for cycling, there’s tons of segregated bicycle paths to take you all over the city. I also like you drinking/dining tips and I’m relieved that you didn’t just eat bagels, smoked meat, and poutine (people think somehow that’s all we eat – we don’t, we’d all be fat :))
    One tip: L’auberge du Vieux Port has the best views of any bar in Old Montreal and I would recommend that if visiting Montreal. I’ve also got some restaurant recommendations as well as a whole bunch of resources on Montreal for anyone coming here: http://bbqboy.net/category/quebec/
    Great job on the post!
    Frank (bbqboy)

    1. The World Wanderer

      Thanks so much for the additional resources, Frank! Montreal is a city I will visit over and over again, so I will keep the list handy. I actually have to saw that I still haven’t had a Montreal bagel or smoked meat….I know, I know…next time. 🙂 Poutine is dangerous though.

      The biking was great too – so glad I got to do it!

  6. Francesca

    I wish I’d been with you gals, too. Montreal is a priority for me and I’d like to go soon. Will keep this list handy for when I do get there!

    1. The World Wanderer

      Hopefully you get there soon! Such an amazing city!

  7. the lazy travelers

    still so disappointed we couldn’t join you ladies for this weekend. also, we’re mildly obsessed with the picture of you with the saber.

    1. The World Wanderer

      I’m disappointed too…you would have loved it! Haha, glad you like the saber photo. I look like a madwoman!

  8. Traveling Ted

    Great tips on what to do in Montréal. I might be going there in the winter, so the biking would be out, but the options are definitely appealing.

    1. The World Wanderer

      The winter is amazing too! I was there in February and did ice fishing and the ice hotel. There’s also cross country skiing and, of course, lots of yummy food! 🙂

  9. lola

    such a great post, Erin. and i love all your photos too!! brings me right back to Montreal.

    1. The World Wanderer

      Thanks, Lola!! It was so much fun! xx

  10. Brittany

    Thanks for posting this on twitter. I think I might add the bike tour to my list of things to do while I am there.

  11. Top Thirteen Moments of 2013: Photo Essay. | The World Wanderer

    […] Sabering a Bottle of Champagne While in Montreal for the second time this year, Lauren, Mary-Anne, and I discovered a champagne bar and had to check it out on our last night in town. To our surprise, they allowed guests to saber their bottles of champagne. Naturally, we ordered three bottles, so that we could each saber one. […]

Post a comment