Welcome to the first part of my honeymoon adventure! Our first stop on this amazing trip was supposed to be a short layover in Montreal, Canada before flying to Nice, France.
Everything started well. We got to the airport without any problems and left Chicago on time. However, the trip quickly hit its first snag. To make a long (and quite frustrating) story short, a severe storm delayed our departure from Montreal by about 24 hours. This caused us to miss our connecting flight to Nice and required an unexpected stay in Montreal.
While disappointed we would miss out on a day in Nice, we looked forward to getting a good night’s rest to make the most of the following day. Getting a good night’s rest, however, ended up being its own adventure. The airline’s customer service told us that a room would be waiting for us at the airport hotel. They even printed us a voucher What a relief!
The relief was short-lived when we arrived at the airport hotel and they told us the airline’s customer service overbooked hotel. There were no rooms left. We were left without lodging at around midnight…in an unfamiliar city…with a phone that could only be used when connected to wifi. Like I said, it was an adventure.
Nabil, thankfully, managed to find a room at the Hotel Le St. James, in Montreal’s downtown, after making multiple phone calls from the airport hotel’s lobby. They told us we reserved the last room in Montreal. Multiple flight delays had stranded thousands of people who were all looking for a place to stay. The hotel was by far the fanciest hotel we’ve ever stayed at and I would highly recommend staying there if you’re planning a trip to Montreal.
Boulangerie St. Viateur Bagel Shop
Since neither my husband nor I had been to Montreal before, we made some quick plans to do some sightseeing, eat delicious food, and have a good time. We began the next day by renting bikes to get around the city and we immediately started making our way to our first stop (i.e., breakfast).
In the past, we’d heard so much about Montreal bagels and how they taste differently from the New York style bagel (i.e., the type of bagel we were most familiar with). We stopped at Boulangerie St. Viateur Bagel Shop.
It was a cool little shop with people making bagels right in front of the customers. We saw the bakers form the bagels, drop them into boiling honey water, and scoop them back out. The bakers effortlessly slid bagels in and out of the oven on long wooden paddles and then threw the bagels into waiting wire baskets with a flick of their wrist. It was a very well-oiled machine.
What we learned, is that the largest difference between a New York bagel and a Montreal bagel pertains to the added flavoring. There is often malt added to New York bagels, either in the dough and/or the water that they are boiled in before baking. The Montreal version uses honey instead. You might think that it would only make a small difference, but my husband and I thought the difference was quite noticeable.
The bagels are slightly smaller than a New York bagel and the dough is sweeter. The outside was also a little crunchier since the bagels were cooked in a wood burning oven. I ordered their sesame bagel (this is their most popular) and my husband ordered a poppy seed bagel. The bagels were still a little warm when cut them open and spread plain Philadelphia cream cheese over each half. It was a perfect way to start out the day!
Biking Around Montreal
Next, we biked to Mount Royal Park, which had stunning views of Montreal. We definitely burned a ton of calories as we biked up the enormous hill (they call it a mountain) to get to the lookout. I had to take a few breaks on the way up (note to self…exercise more). The lactic acid was burning my leg muscles by the time we got to the lookout, but it was all worth it when we saw the view. The trip down was much more enjoyable ;-).
Maison Christian Faure Place Royale
At the end of our day in Montreal, before leaving to go to the airport, we stopped at a small patisserie by the hotel, Maison Christian Faure Place Royale. This pastry shop served traditional French pastries and their own innovative desserts. We wanted to try everything in the store, but we settled on two treats: a slice of Fraisier cake and a Tahiti tart.
The Fraisier cake consisted of layers of light genoise cake, sweet strawberry syrup, rich crème patisserie, sliced strawberries, and fluffy meringue. This cake was delicious, moist, and tasted of fresh strawberries. Really wonderful!
The Tahiti tart was a nice balance of rich, crème brulee in a tart shell topped with mango puree and coated with caramel crumbles.
When we cut the tart in half, it also had a liquid caramel filling. The tart shell was flaky and buttery and the mango was smooth and tart. This dessert was so tasty!
After eating the delicious desserts at the café, we finished our short time in Montreal and boarded our flight to France. We were thankfully on our way!
Keep an eye out for the next part of this honeymoon series when we finally reach Nice, France!
Have you been to Montreal before? Were there other places we should have visited in our short stay there?