In this romantic food-and-arts-loving city, there’s really nothing better to do than eat and explore, explore and eat. (Sleep will just have to wait.) By foot, you’ll stumble across countless cultural amusements, and meals at the city’s meat-centric restaurants will reenergize you for the next round of exploration.
The Travel Time
1.5 hours by plane.
Hotel Le St-James, in the heart of Old Montreal, opened in 2002, but sits in a circa-1870 former bank building. The beautifully restored lobby is evidence of the building’s history, but the small, antique-filled rooms have all the amenities of modern times (Frette linens, wi-fi access, and iPads available upon request). $$
Musts include Schwartz’s Deli’s smoked-meat sandwiches and advance dinner reservations at Au Pied de Cochon. The adventurous eater should try Cochon’s namesake dish, pig’s feet, and no one should miss the wonderfully over-the-top foie gras poutine, a Québécois staple.
The Sights and Diversions
Take in the city’s truly magnificent architecture by wandering through the narrow cobblestone streets of Old Montreal, stopping for a walk-through of Notre-Dame Basilica, or the contemporary art exhibit du jour at DHC/ART gallery. Ride the metro to Jean Talon and taste your way through the produce stands at the indoor/outdoor Jean-Talon Market. Hike or bike through expansive Mount Royal Park until hunger calls again.
The Insider’s Tip
Montreal is super bike-friendly; the public bike service BIXI operates 405 stations all around the city from April through November (from $5).