Travel

Old Montreal

Establishment neighborhood
Mélisse
719 Rue William, Old Montreal
Step into Mélisse and you’ll feel like you’re in LA: light wood; a bright, high-ceilinged space; and lots of plants. (Also LA-like: eating on the patio, weather permitting.) Breakfast and lunch are light and focus on seasonal produce (tartines, salads, satisfying egg dishes), while dinner is full of shareable plates, like grilled veggies and charcuterie, plus more substantial items, like grilled pork shoulder peppered with cherry tomatoes and pistachios. The 100 percent organic wine list is short but brilliant.
Industrial Two-Bedroom Loft
Address upon booking, Old Montreal
A collaboration between stylist Annie Horth and Nathalie Bouchard, Creative Flats is network of lofts (available for both short- and long-term stays) in Old Montreal. This one is two blocks north of Notre-Dome, meaning you're within striking distance of some of the neighborhood’s best shops and cafés. The penthouse apartment is wrapped in floor-to-ceiling windows and features an open layout, so there’s plenty of space to spread out, making it a great option for a small family or couples traveling together. We’re especially partial to the design details here, like polished cement floors, high ceilings, vintage decorative objects mixed with mid-century modern furniture, and an open kitchen. Creative Flats has other lofts available for rent throughout the city, plus a particularly dreamy country house in the Eastern Townships.
Denis Gagnon
70 St. Paul St. O, Old Montreal
Denis Gagnon has an uncanny ability to work with leather in a way that feels sculptural and romantic at the same time. He works in a largely black palette, and no, his designs aren’t for the faint of heart—with details like exposed gold zippers, sequins, and cutouts on blazers, asymmetrical dresses, and blouses. Gagnon, also known for his thick black eyeglasses and heavy French-Canadian accent, was born in Montreal, so after spending years abroad working in Morocco in costume design, his return was a homecoming. The brand is adored for its eclectic ready-to-wear and custom one-off creations; the flagship store, located on a cobblestoned street in Old Montreal, has been around for almost a decade.
Tommy Café + Apéro
200 Rue Notre-Dame O, Old Montreal
Open all day, Tommy does a particularly good aperitivo hour. The small but very pretty space—with mirrored walls and beautiful nineteenth-century-looking stucco moldings combined with modern leather bench seating and wooden floors—is so inviting. While we recommend Tommy's for a drink, we have to mention the breakfast menu, which includes acai bowls, grilled cheese, avo toast, and especially good coffee. Stop in for a predinner glass of champagne and find yourself staying for a few glasses more. A really charming spot at any time of the day whether you’re flying solo, with a crowd, or with a significant other.
Canadian Centre for Architecture
1920 Rue Baile, Old Montreal
Opened to bring public awareness to the crucial role architecture plays in shaping the identity of a city and, by default, improving the lives of residents, the Canadian Centre for Architecture, with its incredible gardens, is a calming oasis. The imposing nineteenth-century building houses a significant archive, exhibit halls, and fascinating restoration labs, where you can see the painstaking steps involved in restoring portions of older buildings and their decorative effects. A must-visit (especially with littles) is the sculpture garden, a totally novel space filled with architectural reproductions of sections of the Architecture Centre itself, with plants and vegetation winding their way around the deconstructed fixtures.
Basilique Notre-Dame
110 Rue Notre-Dame O, Old Montreal
Located in the heart of Old Montreal and dating from the early 1800s, Basilique Notre-Dame is a Gothic Revival masterpiece. The church is worth a visit—irrespective of faith or lack thereof—purely to marvel at the incredible craftsmanship that fills every corner. Pinewood sculptures depict the Stations of the Cross, there are exquisite black walnut wood carvings framing the aisles, the altarpiece artwork (thirty-two bronze panels) depicts humankind marching toward Christ, and the organ has an incredible 1,648 pipes. The most striking features, though, are the stained-glass windows and the vaulted, star-painted ceiling with three octagonal skylights. The ceiling—a mix of lapis lazuli blue and shimmering gold—combined with the multicolored flecks of light cast through the cavernous space from the stained glass, creates an incredible interplay of light and color.
Le Serpent
257 Rue Prince, Old Montreal
Housed in a former foundry and arguably one of the chicest reservations in the city, Le Serpent’s industrial-looking dining room is outfitted with modern art installations, making for a particularly unexpected experience (exactly what you’d expect from the team behind Le Club Chasse et Pêche). In keeping with the minimalist aesthetic, the Italian-inflected menu of pasta, fresh catch, and meat-centric dishes is streamlined and unfussy—a testament to chef Michele Mercuri’s knack for restraint.
Le Club Chasse et Pêche
423 Rue St. Claude, Old Montreal
Le Club, as it's known among regulars, is one of those places that consistently churns out high marks, making it just as popular with visitors who come to Montreal for the outstanding food scene as it is with locals who are looking for a special night out. Start with seared scallops with a lemon confit, then try catch of the day served with smoked Yukon potatoes, and finish off with a maple syrup parfait—obviously—that includes a decadent red berry sauce and dark chocolate. The sommelier will gladly help you sift through the considerable wine list. (There's also a gluten-free menu upon request.)
Hôtel Nelligan
106 Rue St. Paul O, Old Montreal
Just minutes from the Basilique Notre-Dame, on a quiet stretch of Rue Saint Paul, Hôtel Nelligan makes a great home base for those looking to hit the pavement and explore everything Old Montreal has to offer. Each of the 105 no-frills rooms strikes a balance between modern and character-filled (we like the century-old brickwork and cherrywood furnishings) and is equipped with all the necessary conveniences: free Wi-Fi, air-conditioning, and a mini bar. And we've heard good things about the on-point concierge should you require some extra guidance while you're in town.
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