Valentine’s in Montreal has a romantic air to it. And Cathy loves trains. So we took the Valentine’s Day 5:00 pm VIA train to Montreal. Its a 5 hour trip from Toronto, so we had lots of time to sit back, and enjoy the upscale experience of Business Class dinner and drinks, We arrived in Montreal just after they had 18 inches of snow, so the train was a doubly good call. We had to laugh about how the locals parked their cars – definitely more laissez faire than Toronto.
Mile End Food Tour with Local Montreal Food Tours
Our first outing was a food tour in Mile End, and it set the stage for our ‘foodie’ visit. Ask for Darren, he is a great guide, knows his food and the neighbourhood, and expertly navigated us for three hours to seven food destinations.
Montreal after Dark
Later we feasted on mussels and fries at the Dominion Square Tavern, washed down with local craft beer. Also outstanding was Les 3 Brasseurs Brew Pub. The namesake burger is really good, however the chicken/waffle sandwich was excellent. I liked their red ale. Montreal has a very good jazz scene. We took in the late set at Upstairs Jazz Club. Beatles-themed jazz and scotch kept us going well beyond ‘senior time’.
Cathy and I walked over to Old Montreal. This is where the original settlement started in the 1600’s. Notre Dame Basilica is a must visit. Built around 1830, it is testament to the influence of the Catholic church of the time. Ask a guide about the hidden wall of windows behind the main alter, that was re-discovered after a fire in the 1970’s and is now all covered over again. The other must-see is the Pointe-a-Calliere Museum – Birthplace of Montreal. This recently opened museum is built around the old underground stone-works and sewer tunnels of Old Montreal. The museum restaurant has great views over the Port of Montreal.
Place Ville-Marie Observatory
We finished off at The Observatory with 360 degree views around the city and the St Lawrence River. We spent some time spotting the neighbourhoods that we visited. And then Cathy and I joined the brunch crowd on the 44th floor at Les Enfants Terribles . After a quick walk underground to the Central Station, we boarded the mid afternoon train back to Toronto. We will definitely do this again.
Our Auberge (B&B)
We stayed three nights at the Auberge Les Bons Matins, which is an easy walk from the Central Train Station. The location is right beside a Metro subway station. Other than our Mile End food tour which was a short ride on the Orange Line, we walked everywhere else. The Auberge is in several very old homes and the rooms have vibrant art, open brick work and such. Cathy and I agree with other reviewers that the breakfasts are excellent. We stayed in Room 702 and I would NOT suggest reserving this room, as we were disturbed by creaky floors whenever anyone walked around the house. So a five star rating except for old creaky floors.