Greetings, Internet Stranger, and welcome to a perfect 24 hours in Montreal, Canada. Montreal is different from other North American cities in so many ways. Of course, the most obvious way is that French is widely spoken in Montreal. I had no trouble finding people who spoke English, but it is a French-speaking city, in a French-speaking province, and the Quebecois are proud of their unique heritage.
However, Montreal is unique in other ways as well. It has a fascinating history, beautiful buildings, and some of the most delicious food in North America. Let’s not waste any more time! We’re going to head out there on our 24 hours in Montreal and find the best that Montreal has to offer.
Want to cut right to the chase, Internet Stranger? The best activity in Montreal is this fabulous food tour right here with tons of five-star reviews!
Or if you want to explore all tours in Montreal, check this search engine right here to find the best deals!
24 Hours in Montreal
Where to Stay?
Montreal is one of Canada’s largest cities, and you won’t be able to get everywhere by walking. Fortunately there’s public transportation and rideshares to get you around. However, you’ll still want to pick a central location in a safe and convenient neighborhood.
That’s why I recommend the Hotel St Denis for your 24 hours in Montreal. It has a perfectly convenient location within walking distance of many Montreal attractions. My room was large and comfortable, and even though breakfast wasn’t served at the hotel, it was near many great places for breakfast and lunch. Plus it was quite affordable.
If you’re looking for a great deal for this amazing hotel, click here. And if you’d rather save money on tons of other hotels in Montreal click here. This search engine will help you find the perfect place to stay during your plans for your 24 hours in Montreal. With plenty of options to choose from, I’m sure you’ll find something for your schedule and budget.
24 Hours in Montreal
Morning: Food Tour
What’s the first thing you think of when I say Montreal food? It might be poutine or bagels, and then, if you’re anything like me, you might be stuck. And we want to eat as much amazing food as possible during our 24 hours in Montreal.
Fortunately for us, there’s this fantastic Montreal food tour. On this tour, we get to explore some of Montreal’s most delicious dishes, yes, including poutine. But there will be so much more than that. And it’s a great value because it’s enough food for both breakfast and lunch.
You can book this excellent tour by going here. Then get ready to join me for…
Approximately Top 5: Montreal Food
1) French Bakery
Our first stop, appropriately enough, was at a local French bakery for an Alsatian galette. This was a light crust topped with ham, cheese, and potato, which made it the perfect start to the tour for several reasons. First, we got to stop inside the bakery and see how fresh daily bread is important to the Quebecois just as it is to the French.
Second, the Alsatian galette made a delicious breakfast substitute because of the ham, cheese, and potatoes. It was almost like a breakfast omelette served on a crepe. And Alsace is a region in France, so again, this highlights the connection between Montreal and France.
Finally, the galette is portable, so we got to eat it as the guide, whom I shall call Duddy, explained the history of Montreal and gave an introduction to the city. However, I won’t tell you what he said. You’ll need to take the tour yourself if you want to learn that!
You can’t say it’s a Montreal food tour unless you’re eating some poutine! Poutine is a glorious Canadian mess of fried potatoes topped with gravy and cheese curds. (I’ve had other poutine variations in my day, but this is the basic poutine.) If you enjoy savory, rich decadence, this is the dish for you.
However, I’m glad that we all shared a dish of poutine because I definitely couldn’t have eaten one of these on my own and had room for any other food. I was also a bit distressed by this one American on the tour who was really angry at the concept of poutine. Like, he didn’t think this poutine was bad, but he thought poutine itself was a terrible idea, and he wouldn’t stop talking about it. No one made you take a Canadian food tour, sir!
The poutine was served in a super cute microbrewery, and you can order some of their craft beer, though it’s a few dollars extra. I suggest doing so because how often are you in a Montreal microbrewery anyway?
3) Montreal Bagels
Ah, there’s that second major Montreal food group. Now that we’ve had our poutine, of course we need to try a Montreal bagel. I’m from New York City, which you might have heard is also well known for bagels. So I was especially eager to try these beauties and make a comparison.
The biggest difference between the two bagels is that the Montreal bagels are cooked in honey water, so they are sweeter. They are also thinner and have a bigger hole. However, I’m happy to say they are both delicious. These bagels were fresh out of the oven and almost melt in your mouth. When you take this food tour, be sure to ask for the bagels that just came out of the oven, no matter what flavor they are.
Like many people, I had thought of Montreal as being a completely French city. I didn’t think about the fact that many other immigrant groups have come here, including the Italians. So it was a real treat to be able to sample some authentic Italian gnocchi.
The place where Duddy picked up this gnocchi is so popular that there was a massive line that was snaking down the street when we arrived for our lunch. Fortunately, if you’re on the food tour, you get to skip the line and dive straight into the gnocchi. Lucky you! The gnocchi is a bit on the spicy side, but in my opinion, that just makes it more delicious.
The Italian food extravaganza doesn’t stop! Next, we have a lovely dessert at a nearby Italian cafe. The owner is from Italy, and he is super friendly and cheerful. This food stop was special because we were able to make some choices about what we were eating. You could choose your flavor of cannoli, and you could also select any non-alcoholic beverage you wanted.
I got the classic ricotta cannoli because cannoli are my favorite dessert and I am a purist. For the drink, I selected the iced latte because it was a sweltering summer day in Montreal. (Yes, it gets hot in Canada.) But I’m sure whatever you choose will be equally delicious.
6) Bonus Stop!
Our bonus stop was at a legendary deli called Wilensky’s. This Jewish deli has been around since the 1930s, and I honestly don’t think their equipment or attitude has changed much since then. It was featured in the classic Montreal film The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, starring Richard Dreyfuss, which I highly recommend checking out before coming to Montreal. (It was a book before it was a movie.)
At this stop, we got our choice of old-fashioned soda, and I selected the cherry cola because that is always my jam. Try not to overload the lady who runs the deli with crazy soda flavors because she will absolutely give you the evil eye. That is not a joke.
24 Hour Tip
Those are all the secrets of the food tour that I can share with you for now. You’ll have to reserve a spot on this delicious tour by clicking here to find out the rest!
24 Hours in Montreal
Afternoon: Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
I’ve been to pretty much every major city in Canada, and each one has its own fantastic fine art museum. The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is no exception. Now that your belly is full of bagel and poutine, it’s time to fill your mind with the beauty of the fine arts from Quebec and beyond.
There’s way too many amazing pieces at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts for me to be able to introduce you to all of them in this blog post. However, I’ll be happy to get you started with…
Three Fun Facts: Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
1) Who is Your Favorite Artist in the Museum?
You really care about which artist I personally care for the best? That’s so kind of you, Internet Stranger. I really feel like we are almost Internet Friends. I like so many artists because I am basically a museum junkie. However, Edgar Degas is one of my favorites because of his adorable-creepy paintings and statues of dancing girls.
That’s why I was delighted to discover this painting called At the Theatre: Woman Seated in the Balcony. It’s so different from his more famous works because here women are sitting instead of dancing. However, she is supposedly based on one of his favorite models, and I like that she’s an older woman. Mature ladies deserve love too!
2) Are There Any Artists From Montreal?
Of course! This isn’t the kind of museum to only showcase big name Europeans and forget all about the local talents. One of the most notable artists from Montreal in the museum is James Wilson Morrice. He was from Montreal, but he was sent to France to study painting as a young man.
However, as you can see from his paintings, he didn’t stay in France. Instead, he fell in love with the special beauty of Canadian winters and came back home to paint as many of them as possible. There’s lots of wonderful Canadian art, but it does seem like Canadian artists make especially good landscape painters.
I mean, I guess you’re lucky if you’re a Canadian artist who likes painting landscapes because there certainly is enough land in Canada to go around.
3) What About More Art From Quebec Specifically?
Mais, oui, bien sur, hoh hoh hoh. (Actually I think they only say hoh hoh hoh in France. And that might only be in Pepe Le Peu cartoons or that chef that keeps trying to kill poor Sebastian in The Little Mermaid.) There are many lovely pieces of Quebecois art in the museum, but my favorites were these fascinating statues.
The artist was Jean-Baptiste Cote, and he hailed from Quebec City. He gave these two statues the simple titles of The Male Singer and The Female Singer. Well, that’s easy enough to remember. According to the museum, Cote was a caricaturist, which explains why the features on his statues are exaggerated. He was especially well known for his depictions of middle class activities.
Hmmm, how are we sure than singing is a middle class activity? I think singing is free and anyone can do it, last I checked. However, if someone made a statue of a person bathing in champagne in a gold-plated tub whilst eating ortolan, I think we could say with confidence that this wasn’t a middle-class activity.
24 Hours in Montreal
Evening: Dinner at Bonaparte
It’s about that time during our 24 hours in Montreal when we will be ready to eat dinner. Fortunately there are many wonderful options in Montreal from which you can choose. And one of my favorite French restaurants in the city is called Bonaparte. (With a name like that, I guess they’re not trying to hide the fact that they are French.)
At Bonaparte, you can indulge in a six course tasting menu, but you do have several options for most of the courses. I’ll give you a sneak peak at my selections.
For my first course, I selected a creamy and decadent lobster bisque with ginger. I appreciated that this was almost entirely a classic lobster bisque, but the addition of the ginger made it more surprising and modern.
And if you’re going to get a tasting menu with lobster, why not go whole hog and indulge in some foie gras creme brulee served with apples. Foie gras is often served with something sweet like fruit, so I enjoyed that they almost turned the foie gras into a dessert by giving it that crunchy brulee crust.
For the third course, you could choose from a seafood, a vegetarian, and a meat dish. I selected the meat because it was rabbit confit in a phyllo dough with red wine sauce. There seemed something so Quebecois about eating rabbit. I imagine many a Quebec local has bopped a rabbit on the head and turned it into a fine stew to get through those long Canadian winters.
Is eating rabbit a middle class activity? Is it at least as middle class as singing?
OK, you might be looking at my photo above and thinking that it doesn’t really look like a course, and to a certain extent you’d be right. This is the pear and tarragon sorbet, which serves as a palate cleanser to get us ready for the main course.
I always thought the palate cleanser went between the main course and the dessert, but it can also be served before the main course. I guess you could have two different palate cleansers, but that seems like it would be overkill.
And here is our main course: duck breast with maple syrup and berries. Now, this is exactly what the world’s fanciest Canadian lumberjack would eat for dinner. It even has maple syrup! Can’t get more Quebec than that!
And for dessert, we have this adorable sampler of the chef specialties. The night that I visited, I feasted on a macaron, a cheese cake, and a tiny creme brulee, this time without any foie gras. I’m sure you won’t get the exact same thing during your 24 hours in Montreal, but whatever you do get will be equally delicious!
24 Hours in Montreal
What to Pack?
- A cell charger so you can keep your cell phone charged for the entire 24 hours in Montreal
- My favorite guide book to Canada, including Montreal
- The most reliable travel umbrella that is small enough to fit in my purse, but strong enough to stand up to powerful winds during our 24 hours in Montreal.
- These great TSA approved clear toiletries bags, so I can always keep spare toothpaste and travel sized toiletries in any carry-on.
- My book Get Lost, that I wrote myself with all my best travel tips. This book will show you how travel can take you on a journey of self-discovery.
24 Hours in Montreal
How To Get There
Now, I wish I knew where you lived, Internet Stranger, because I could send you a bottle of Montreal’s best maple syrup. But sadly, I do not, and so I can’t tell you exactly how to get from your home to your 24 hours in Montreal.
But I can tell you that you can use a lovely airplane to get from many cities to the Montreal airport, and I recommend Expedia for the best way to find the cheapest flight to Montreal at the best time of day.
You can also use Expedia to book a car in advance for your destination. (I do not drive, so I did not use this feature myself, but it sounds like it might be useful.)
Just click here to start looking for the best possible deals on your flight, so you can head out to your 24 hours in Montreal ASAP.
That’s a Perfect 24 Hours in Montreal
What would you do during 24 hours in Montreal? What exactly are middle class activities, and can I see weird wooden statues of all of them? Are you ready to start booking your hotel in Montreal? Please email me at email@example.com and let me know!
Note: If you want to know how I put my travel itineraries together, just click here. Keep in mind that while each article is about how to spend 24 hours in a place, that doesn’t mean you should ONLY have 24 hours in Montreal.