If we drove directly north about 3 hours and 15 minutes from our house we land right in Montreal, Quebec. This was our first trip to this city as a family. And is was my girl’s first trip out of the country. The stretch between Saratoga County in New York and Canada is a beautiful trip through the Adirondacks. However, cell service can be spotty and at times non-existent. We made sure to bring plenty of things to keep our girls busy in the car. Some of their favorites are sticker books, magna-doodles, and Melissa and Doug Water Wow books.
We decided to stay in the Old Montreal area of Montreal for a few different reasons. One being that we’d never stayed in that area before on past trips (pre-kids) and have heard it literally feels like you are in Europe. We chose to stay at the Hotel Place d’Armes right smack in the middle of Old Montreal. The hotel is beautiful inside and the front desk staff is super friendly and helpful. We got a junior suite which was a very large room compared to most hotel rooms. It gave my two little kids plenty of room to run around. The room had a king-sized bed, a pull-out sofa, and the hotel provided a pack-n-play for my toddler. When we first got into my room I immediately felt disappointed that we were only staying for two nights and not longer. The room also included a fireplace, large table with chairs, desk area, a mini bar and the WiFi was free! Of all the great things about this hotel room, our favorite was the bathroom, by far.
Like I said earlier we were only on this trip for about 2 days and we had a 1 and 5-year-old with us. So, we decided to focus on things that they would enjoy and also stuck to city limits of Montreal. We took advantage of the (very easy to use) subway system in Montreal and also did a lot of walking.
We didn’t arrive in the city until mid-afternoon since we took our time leaving and had a 3-hour drive. After we checked into the hotel we spent some time before dinner checking out the cute cobblestone streets. We found some fun Canadian souvenir shops, as well as some neat maple syrup themed stores. We had dinner at a restaurant in Old Montreal called L’Original which we chose for the authentic Canadian fare and the great reviews. The restaurant was cute but not as kid friendly as we were hoping. They didn’t have a kid’s menu, which is typically fine as we can find something on the regular menu for the girls to share. They also didn’t have a high chair for my 15-month-old. Luckily the restaurant wasn’t busy yet and we were able to pull the stroller up to the table or she sat on our laps. By the end of the trip we learned that many places didn’t have high chairs – so after our trip we bought one of these to have on hand in the future. The food was pretty good at L’Original, but I’d probably try a new place on my next trip.
First thing we did when we woke up was googled the best croissants in Old Montreal. We chose to grab breakfast at Olive & Gourmando which was an amazing discovery because we still talk about those croissants to this day. We shared a variety of breakfast pastries and some awesome ricotta toast. Again, no highchairs here, and no room for stroller at the table, so our youngest just sat on a lap.
After breakfast, we took the subway from near our hotel all the way to the Montreal Biodome which was approximately 15 minutes. The subway system is really easy to navigate in Montreal, and most signs are in English and French which helps a lot too. Only downfall about the subway system is that we couldn’t find any elevators which is tricky when traveling with a stroller. We took our favorite lightweight umbrella stroller (Uppa Baby G-Luxe). And in order to do the stairs my husband and I grabbed the front and back and carried it with our 25-pound toddler strapped in. Some staircases were incredibly long and steep but we survived!
The Montreal Biodome was all indoors and is split into five different sections. Each section contained a different ecosystem with different plants and animals. Unfortunately, I didn’t get many good pictures while inside mostly because my toddler was on the loose since we parked the stroller near ticketing. Our favorite ecosystem was the Tropical Rainforest. It honestly felt like you weren’t inside a building or even in Montreal – it was very realistic. Overall, I think we spent 2-3 hours here at the Biodome and saw it all.
We did some research in advance on where the best poutine in Montreal. We decided to try a place that was touristy and was highly reviewed by over a thousand people. The restaurant was called La Banquise, and we took another subway ride (and then a long walk) from the Biodome to get there. The place was super busy but we were seated within ten minutes or so. This place did have a highchair though! The poutine menu was extensive but honestly you could just pick whatever you wanted to have as a topping on the fries and gravy. We got two different types to share between the four of us and it was more than enough for lunch. It was good but very heavy for the stomach. I am sure when I walked out I said I was never eating poutine again because I was so full.
Woke up craving those croissants again so we went to Olive & Gormundo again to pick up some goodies to go this time. On our last day, we decided to check out the big church that was adjacent from our hotel. The Notre-Dame Basilica is literally breathtaking to look at from the outside.
But, when you hear the sound of the bells while sitting in the mini park in front of it… you don’t feel like you are only 3 hours from home. That was enough of looking at this from the outside, our family needed to see the interior. We took the stroller in to make sure the crazy child stayed contained, I mean it is a church so at least I could prevent her from running wild. None of us had any idea what to expect but when we saw the beautiful inside of this church it was jaw dropping. The amount of stained glass windows and details were out of this world. I also most definitely never saw an organ so big in my life. Glad we chose to go inside and I would definitely love to visit again because my pictures didn’t do this church justice.
After the church, we grabbed our car and drove over to the Jean-Talon Market to find a bite for lunch. This was a big open-air market with fresh produce, meat, flowers, and more. It was a perfect place to grab a bite before we got on the road to head home.
We had a great time on our mini trip to Montreal. My husband and I did say if we were to go back one day we would go when the kids are older. We love to bring our kids everywhere to experience new things, even if it isn’t the most kid friendly place. But it would make it easier to navigate without a stroller and a toddler. There were also a few things we wanted to see but saved for a later trip!