Montreal, Canada, is a place that not a lot of people have on their honeymoon dream list – but absolutely should. The Dancing With Her team had the opportunity to explore the city and quickly discovered that this city celebrates pride like no other – all year round.
Here’s our ultimate guide to a honeymoon in Montreal.
Couples who want to explore a city that has a European feel without the extra long flight to Europe.
Not so great for
Couples who are dreaming of that sunny island getaway and don’t love cold weather and snow.
Weather and When to Travel
This all depends on the type of honeymoon experience you’re looking for. Summer [July – August] is best when it comes to weather and activities [Montreal Pride festivities also happen in August] but expect for there to be quite a few tourists about. Generally, days are in the sunny mid-high ’70s [low 20’s if you work in degrees] and the town is buzzing with people and festivals.
In fall, or spring, you’d expect days to be around 50 [low 10’s] and days can be wet – arguably the best time of the year to travel because there aren’t as many tourists and it’s easier to get about than winter.
Winter in Montreal means snow. Days don’t generally get above 30 [or 0 Celsius] and nights even cooler.
You could walk around Montreal with a pride flag any time of the year and you’d be supported. It’s a very queer-friendly city, there’s even an area called Gay Village [but locals just call it ‘The Village’] that lives up to every expectation that you might have formed just from the name – the scene in Montreal is happening.
Laws are widely inclusive of diversity and Canada has celebrated marriage equality since 2004. Fun fact: in a 2017 CROP poll, 80% of Quebec [the province in which Montreal is] residents that responded said they agreed that it was “great that in Canada, two people of the same sex can get married” – which we think is wonderful.
The local language in Montreal is French, however, English is widely spoken. Most people will start with French but a simple ‘I’m sorry, we only speak English’ will have locals switching to English effortlessly.
If you’re staying central, a lot of great attractions are close-by and paths are mostly wheelchair accessible [although we imagine that large amounts of snow or ice could make this challenging in cooler weather]. Some of the hiking trails also have accessible stretches.
Trains run through the city [and on to neighboring regional cities] and these are also accessible, but it might be a great idea to find an accessible taxi or van to help you for the day and some places have hills and rough terrain between train and attraction.
Montreal is home to its very own international airport so you’ll be able to fly in from various places. Getting from the airport into town and accommodation is easiest via a taxi or Uber and will cost around CAD$40. If you’re coming from the east coast of America, you can also arrive via car [road trip!] or via train.
Where to stay
Hotel Monville is centrally located, an easy walk to the popular old town, close to the newer areas of Montreal and a longer, but absolutely possible, stroll to Gay Village.
What we loved most about Hotel Monville was its uber-modern design. The interiors are designed and handcrafted locally and it’s one of the newest ‘tech’ hotels in Montreal- what’s not to love?! This equals comfy beds with Netflix connected and ready to go and their room service robot; not just because it’s such a novelty having things delivered to your room via the cute little thing, but too because when it joins you in the elevator you kind of feel like you’ve made a new best friend. The views of the city [they’re not from all rooms, but you can request one] never get old and the curtains both automatic and blackout – something that’s always important to us [and if you’re dealing with jetlag].
What to Do
Explore gay Montreal! There are few cities in the world that celebrate LGBTQ+ people all year round quite like Montreal. For 4 months of the year, the 12 block Gay Village is closed off to traffic and transformed into a street that celebrates all colors of the rainbow. It’s easy to find, just search for the 200,000 pink balls strung overhead.
A love for ice hockey is in the veins of every local Montrealer and it would be rude to not get in on the action! A local game is both overwhelming if you’ve never been to a game before and incredibly exciting, even if you’re not rooting for a specific team.
Explore a festival. Montreal is known to have a new festival [almost] every weekend. Although summer is the best time to really experience them, you will find something for everyone. The Montreal Beer Festival [held in June] will give you the opportunity to taste beers from across the world, even a non-beer lover might find a brew to change their mind. In July the Montreal Circus Festival is a must see, you’ll be blown away by the talent. And, you’re in luck if you’re traveling in August because the local pride festival is on and there are hundreds of different events and parties, something for everyone.
Where to Eat
If you are staying at Hotel Monville, or even if you aren’t, skip downstairs to their restaurant and devour their breakfasts. Our pick; Croque Madame – a twist on a ham and cheese sandwich with herbed brioche and maple smoked ham.
If you eat meat, not trip to Montreal is complete without stopping by the oldest deli in Canada – Schwartzs Deli. Don’t be surprised if you have to line up and wait, we promise these smoked meat sandwiches are worth every single second in line.
If you aren’t a meat eater, and you’re keen to try some Peruvian food in the French-Canadian city, Tiradito is a good night out. Fresh food [made in front of you if you’re seated at the bar] that packs a punch in flavor! With creative cocktails in a beautiful venue – this place is one you will always remember fondly.
Looking to explore seasonal produce in a fine dining setting? Candide is a must stop. Each month is a new menu and each seating explores four dishes that celebrate local produce, fresh and in season. Don’t be afraid to explore things you haven’t heard of, or flavors you haven’t tried – sometimes that is where the magic is.
And, lastly, would a trip to Montreal really be a trip to Montreal if you didn’t eat the local specialty, poutine? A mix of hot chips [or thick cut fries] topped with brown gravy and cheese curds. The jury is out on where you can get the best poutine and we feel like it sometimes comes down to a personal choice and our personal choice lies with Chez Tousignant. Don’t forget to grab one of their house-made soda’s while you’re there – delicious!
Where to drink
Again, if you are at Hotel Monville, and the weather is warmer head up to their rooftop bar. Incredible views of the city and amazing cocktails are sure to go down a treat.
Tequila your flavor? Clandestino is a speakeasy, within a speakeasy, and an experience to explore. In fact, Clandestino is hidden in the basement of a bar that’s already hidden and inside you’ll find a cozy space with more than 100 types of tequila – a nod to the old bars in America that existed during prohibition.
Le 4e Mur is another speakeasy-style bar which location remains a secret until you sign up to their mailing list. That’s all we’ll tell you, and let you explore the magic yourselves.
If Montreal wasn’t on you honeymoon list [or just on a travel bucket list, you certainly don’t need to be honeymooning to enjoy the city] we hope it is now.