Love is in the air in Montréal
Montréal is made for lovers – it’s got European flair, fine dining galore, endless entertainment options and so many hidden gems you’re guaranteed your own private discoveries. It’s the perfect spot for a romantic weekend getaway, a Valentine’s Day trip, a marriage proposal—or even a wedding, if you’re ready for that! Here are some ideas—because whether you’re after something quiet and intimate or loud and exciting, we’ve got just the #MTLmoments for you.
Montréal hotels are upping their restaurant game of late, making them some of the most romantic tables in town. Woo your love with fine dining at the new Rosélys in the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth or at Maison Boulud, which puts on the ritz for Valentine’s Day and every other day at the Ritz-Carlton Montréal. Toqué and Mercuri are both five-star options in Old Montréal. Other memory-making options include Les 400 Coups, Quindici 15 or Branzino, or, on beautiful Laurier East in Outremont, Leméac or Chez Lévêsque. Vegetarians like a quiet tête-à-tête too, right? Reserve a table at the new LOV on De la Montagne (veggie cuisine at its most refined) or Sushi Momo (all vegan, hyper creative sushi). And if you take in the nightlife, what could be more romantic than a 4 am poutine for two? Try La Banquise or Chez Claudette.
Get your heart pumping for all kinds of reasons with a night-time snowshoe excursion up Mount Royal, organized especially for Valentine’s Day by Amis de la Montagne. Cross-country ski lovers, head out to Parc Jean-Drapeau for a beautiful half-day on the trails. A walk through the city could also be amazing fun: Cité Mémoire will educate as it amazes with its artful projections on buildings. Nestle up to each other in the back of a horse-drawn carriage as it tours Old Montréal – you can grab your ride across the street from the stunning Notre-Dame Basilica, where Celine Dion herself got hitched.
To soothe sore muscles and indulge the senses, Strom Spa and Scandinave Spa await with their splendid water treatments and selection of massages. Spend the evening relishing the Valentine’s Day spa package at Bota-Bota, where a three-course meal with live cello music follows the relaxation of the water circuit. To primp up and prep for a big night out or to indulge in a few other otherworldly couple options, look no further than your hotel spa—Montréal has some fantastic ones, among these expert spas.
Shower each other in gifts from unique local designer shops like Old Montréal’s Denis Gagnon, Rad Hourani, U&I and Espace Pepin, or in Mile End, Unicorn, Frank + Oak, Lowell and Les Étoffes. You’ll find world renowned labels at the tawny Holt Renfrew or Ogilvy downtown, and along Laurier Street in Outremont. If the time has come for proposals, you’ll find unique Montréal-made fine jewellery at Birks or Ecksand, who specialize in engagement rings. More in a chocolate-and-roses mood? Maison Christian Faure makes gorgeous chocs.
Soak up some artful culture downtown at the Musée d’art contemporain, at the Belgo (home to dozens of independent art galleries) or at Phi Centre, where you can take in indie music, exhibitions, films and shopping at the super cool Rhinocéros boutique. The Montréal Museum of Fine Arts is also worth a visit. Cuddle up in a movie theatre at Cinéma Banque Scotia on Ste-Catherine Street before dinner at the completely unique Foodlab, at the stunning Société des arts technologiques (SAT), followed by a performance in the immersive Satosphere. Classical music lovers might prefer a night at Maison Symphonique, at Place des Arts. For local indie music, saddle up to the bar at one of these fantastic live music hot spots.
Express your feelings with a little groove. Clink glasses of bubbly over delectable snacks at La Champagnerie, dedicated to all things cava, prosecco, Champagne... If you’re into a classy jazz flavour, you won’t want to miss the V Day celebrations at Le Balcon. If you’re more into a 2/4 beat, there’s Buonanotte, Moomba or the iconic Time Supper Club (located in a1930s bank building). Then it’s real dance time: The massive New City Gas in Griffintown always hosts great international guests to get the party going. Downtown there’s Stereo, Circus and Club La Boom; in the Gay Village, good lovin’ times happen nightly at Club Unity and the Sky Complex. Here’s to romance!
Isa Tousignant, blogger
Isa Tousignant is an art and lifestyle writer based out of Montréal’s ecclectic Park Ex neighbourhood. She is Contributing Editor for Canadian Art magazine and freelances full-time for a wide variety of magazines and brands. She’s also a jewellery designer and passionate about animal costumes and their role in contemporary art.