Thursday, July 14, 2011

Cafes & Spas - Downtown & Old town Montreal

Fourteen days into my stay here in Montreal, I've made a regular habit of studying at local cafes, walking Kiara through downtown streets and enjoying the gorgeous weather, in between intense study sessions.

Here's a snapshot of my coffee sessions, for those of you planning to visit the area. (The pictures are all borrowed, since my intensive education courses are turning out to be a 50 hour a week endeavor, on top of part-time tutoring. I'm about to have two visitors to liven up my experience here (Lorina and then Janice), so real pictures are coming soon, I promise!)

Second Cup Saint-Laurent
Second Cup Ave de Pins - Open 24 hours!

Second cup is my coffee norm, and this city hasn't quite changed that! Kiara and I study almost every night at the Saint Laurent location, enjoying the scenery and people and trying to balance on my chair (which Kiara is tied to) every time she sees a dog walk by and tries to jump for him or her!  The Ave du Pins location is right next to the laundromat, which is great for multi-tasking!

Cafe Noir 

Situated right across from Second Cup Saint Laurent, it tempts me to switch cafes every day - I may have to try this tomorrow!

Cafe imagination

Located on Sherbrooke, just before Jeanne la Mance, this cafe was not very impressive. The espresso was decent, the prices reasonable, but the atmosphere a little small and "blah"!
Caffe & Cucina
Also on Sherbrooke, I have a a feeling this cafe is better known for its "cucina" than its caffe! Perhaps I'll try something Italian there in the future...

Cafe du Jour

This has become a regular morning place for me, though it is quite pricy (Starbucks prices, decent quality - a good "javacino" iced coffee, though!) Be sure to ask for skim, as I think they don't really believe in 2% and skip straight to whole milk!

Ice cream place on Saint Denis

I've yet to find out the name of this place - a little patio on the corner of Ave du Pins and Saint Denis, but it's chocolate mousse is a delight! Coffee is pretty decent, as well!

 So you can see the trainer's diet is failing in this city of food, food, food. Wow - I'll have to use more of that protein powder I bought in the next two weeks. Yoga is hopefully keeping some of the calories off!  

 Cremerie Meu Meu on Saint Denis  - For all those in favour of natural, soy frozen yogurt, this is your place! I tied Kiara up outside on the perfect banister (though she did try to sneak her way in!)  Wow - okay, it's not "healthy" but it's better than the mousse above, for sure!  (I'm hoping that walking everywhere is helping the calories as well, but I am definitely missing the gym!)

Juliette et Chocolat (Saint Laurent/ Saint Denis)

As part of our "Best of Montreal" lesson plan unit at House of Friendship, we had a subtheme that covered restaurants, desserts in particular. Juliette et Chocolat follows Tripadvisor's polarized reviews exactly - great desserts, great coffee - but wow, for a place like that, the service is atrocious!


This boutique was a pleasant, affordable surprise on Saint-Denis. They boast European imports at affordable prices, and a select few Canadian goods (like the Tom's shoes I bought - Toms donates a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair purchased, and wow, are they comfortable!) See

Bota Bota
One little adventure I didn't mention on my first weekend here - Bota Bota, a spa at which I made a mini-splurge on my second day here, is located on a ship, docked on the Quay at the Old Port. Dogs aren't allowed in that area of town, but wow, amazing service, and what a relaxing way to get a manicure on the water! 

Lorina  will be in town Friday night, and my first course is complete (although I have a couple assignments for it due Monday), so I'm looking forward to enjoying the weekend here! At last count, there are five festivals going on this weekend - African Nights, Canada Parks Centennial celebration (1911 to 2011), Outdoor movies in Park La Fontaine, Weekend du Mondes at Parc Jean Drapeau and the Just For Laughs Comedy festival, which begins Friday. Not to mention the summer -long International Fireworks Competition, every Saturday night, which I plan to see this weekend or the next! 

Imagine, I'm not even planning to drive anywhere, and there is so much to do, I don't know where to begin!

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