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  • Grace B

Travel & Stationery - MONTRÉAL Part Deux


Bonjour! Bienvenue to my Montreal weekend newsletter~ I would've said earlier, hey, I'm off to Montreal this weekend, but I was so nervous because of the COVID testing and how rightfully strict everything is at the moment. Honestly, I thought regardless of me having a negative covid result, and I would get turned away at the airport. Fortunately, that did not happen! Here is the process I went through:


My bestie was in Montreal, so I said I needed to go to Montreal. The first thing before buying the flight was making sure I would be allowed in Canada. After seeing that I could go as a tourist to Canada, I purchased my tickets. During the purchasing process, I made sure although I had a standard ticket, I could change the flight dates if anything came up. After ticket purchasing, I downloaded the ArriveCAN app. You can only start filling out the app details 72 hours before your flight. I also booked a free covid PCR test 72 hours before my flight, as specified by the Canadian government. I took my free test at CVS. You can go to their website and check out a location near you. The test also had to be done within 72 hours of my flight. I made a copy of my Vaccination card, bought more masks in the case, and after a month of worrying, I made it to Canada. At the airport, I showed my ArriveCAN receipt, vaccination card, and negative PCR test results. Everything checked out, and I was good to go.

To return to the U.S. I needed another covid test. There were no free testing sites in Montreal, so I paid CAD 149.00 to take an Antigen test.

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Luckily, I was randomly selected to take a PCR test, which canceled out my Antigen test. I was kindly refunded for the Antigen test by the Montreal covid testing lab, Biron. I couldn't believe my LUCK! Thankfully, I was covid negative, and I'm back home now to tell you all about this trip!


Check out the https://travel.gc.ca/ website for all the info you need.



My weekend in Montreal was quite chill, and I had a lot of catching up to do with my buddy. Montreal is experiencing real autumn with all these lovely leaves on the ground. I have a lot of evening shots because of the late walks we took back to the apartment. As a New Yorker, I was apprehensive about walking at night, especially since there were fewer street lamps in Montreal, but there were 2 of us, and honestly, it was safer than I realized. What goes without saying is you should always watch your surroundings and do what is best for your safety. Uber works in Montreal, so you can use the app but not Lyft. I will say the walk with good for me, and I got an average of 25k steps!


After the Biron airport workers helped me with my refund and the testing, I was off to my friend's place. I was so tired because I didn't sleep, so sleep knocked me out instantly. I woke up with a cat sleeping next to me because Ryookyung was taking care of 3 cats. Three cats with distinct personalities.

After my nice nap, we decided to walk to the nice St. Denis St area. It's a lovely street with so much to see, eat, drink and shop. Ryookyung took me to a Vegan donut shop called La Beignerie. I was going to learn that Montreal has a fantastic Vegan/Vegetarian scene. After a delicious Vegan "BaconAn excellent" donut, a maple syrup donut with coconut shavings. Afterward, we went off to a beer distillery! I had an excellent beer called WITOLD, LE FERMIER DU COSMOS, while Ryookyung and I split a Matcha vegan donut from La Beignerie. We said we would save it, but it called our names, haha. After a refreshing beer, we were off again to get Arepas at Arepera. I ordered a delicious Tilapia Arepa and Ryookyung had a yummy-looking veggie Arepa with Avocado. But we weren't done! Last we enjoyed a delightful meal at Sushi Momo. A fantastic Vegan Sushi restaurant. Our order included two miso soups. Probably the best miso soup I've ever had. One Taj Mahal roll, one crispy tofu dish, one cocktail, and a mocktail.

The pressures of the flight were coming off, and all this yummy food was giving me new life!!


La Beignerie

DISPENSAIRE

Arepera

Sushi Momo (they also do take-out)




We started the day at Café São, a cozy cafe with a delicious Cortado and Lemon Lavender cake. Soon the rain started coming down, so Ryookyung suggested this indoor flea market called Market St.Michel Flea (7707 Shelley Av Montreal, QC).

For Ryookyung to suggest this flea market was the best idea because 1) shopping is incredible 2) we wouldn't look like wet cats at the end of the day. Thankfully the market was a short uber ride away. 3) A Flea market with vintage goodies...yes!!!

Please, everyone, send me good vibes, prayers, and then some because of the strength it took me to buy VERY VERY VERY few things at this flea market... I don't know how I pulled through. Everything was amazing.

Upon entering the market, my eyes saw CUPS. Now, if you've don't already know, I have a severe obsession with cups, plates, and more. Teacups, above all other cups, are hard for me to resist. There is a trend that I've been noticing, tinted glass cups, candle holders, plates, and of course, these items were everywhere. Ryookyung bought a couple of things for their wedding party while I was crying inside because I was not going to fit anything into my Hershel bag, lol. This flea market not only had homeware, but there were also vintage cameras, clothing, old VHS tapes, video games, and well everything. It was a vast space where I wish I had crossed the street to eat for the extra energy. I was foolish and thought I could keep going without nourishment. If you visit the flea market, I recommend the following:

1- Cash. Some sellers took credit/debit or tap, but I suggest carrying cash, avoiding ATM fees. There is an ATM on the first floor.

2- Time. There is so much to see. One can not simply look and leave, lol. Unless you know what you're looking for, but one never knows.

3- Tote Bags (or a Cart). I'm not a driver, so I recommend bringing your bags. The shop owners did have bags for us, but if you want to cut down on plastic, why not.

4- Pay Attention. I took a turn, and I was lost for a good minute.

We left as St.Michel was closing and, of course, took an Uber because the rain was coming down. After setting everything down, we were off to eat. We had made a reservation at a Shabu Shabu restaurant, but we took a walk to Duluth Street with some extra time. Thankfully by the time we started walking again, the rain had calmed down. We stopped by a bookstore that was previously a Clothing & Stationery shop(you can see from my first Montreal blog), but I hope the current owners do well. The bookstore had an excellent section where they wrapped books up, put a vague description on the front, and customers could take the books for free. Ryookyung and I each took one, and we ended up with interesting choices.

After perusing the bookshop, we searched for a snack before dinner, so we stopped by a restaurant called Lola Rosa. We ordered Chickpea fries and drinks. We had no idea the restaurant was vegan, and although we only had one dish, the fries were DELICIOUS. Hopefully, Lola Rosa will be around when I get back to Montreal because I need to try more of their dishes. Repeat after me, DON'T SLEEP ON VEGAN FOOD. Of course, our drinks were also good. I had a yummy Whisky Sour and Ryookyung had a Yuzu soda.

Now it was time for Shabu Shabu, and the restaurant was so cute. Located in Chinatown, I love the set-up Kagayaki. It reminded me of the sushi conveyor belt restaurants in Japan. We both ordered a delicious Sukiyaki broth base, which consisted of Soy sauce & Mirin. I ordered beef with my soup, and Ryookyung ordered Veggies & Tofu. I paired my soup with a Plum wine. The plum

Our meals also came with dessert! I had an Affogato, and Ryookyung ordered a Strawberry Mochi.

After a delicious meal, we walked back to the apartment. What a day!


Café São

St.Michel Flea

Lola Rosa

Kagayaki



Did I mention, Ryookyung was taking care of 3 cats in Montreal? Yea 3... my allergies were not on fire, thank the allergy lords, haha. I woke up to a fourth cat visiting the other three cats, lol.

We started the day at Croissant Croissant. I bought a baguette, to have a french moment, and a carrot cake Croissant, because why not.

No regrets with the carrot cake croissant; thankfully, it was not too sweet. I'm very used to American desserts taking the sugar levels too far. Still, this cafe/bakery did a great job at balancing the taste of this pastry. I also ordered a delicious Cappuccino. Croissant Croissant does offer vegan options as well.

First stop: Buk & Nola. Charming shop with a lot of feminine florals and cozy pink vibes. I wouldn't suggest this shop for your stationery needs, but it's a cute shop nonetheless. I left with a Sticky Lemon pencil case and a multi-colored notebook.

Next we stopped by Coeur d'Artichaut. The exterior was so inviting; we just had to go in. Ryookyung spotted this lovely Brass envelope that was perfect for me as a stationery fiend. The shop seemed to have many precious home decor items for both adults and children.

On the way to our following location, we walked through the park and took a mini-break in Parc Sir-Wilfrid-Laurier. They had lounging seats by this beautiful flower wall.

After some rest, we were back on the streets! Ryookyung went off to their haircut appointment, and I stepped into Pony. An artist shop with colorful art on tees, undergarments, and more. I now regret not buying anything, but I gave them a follow on Insta. I can always buy online.

A few steps from Pony, I saw Belle et Rebelle. The shop window looked cute, so I stepped inside. The store had cute essential clothing, accessories, and some stationery. If you happen to pass by, take a look inside.

Le Palais Bulles was my stop. This shop houses some trendy home goods, plus if you want to do your painting, the shop sells wall paint. I also noticed these stylish Candles coming in all shapes. For how long can I resist a candle?

Next, I took a long walk to Annex Vintage! I had visited this lovely place in 2019. They have a small but cute stationery section towards the back next to some prints. They also sell zines, and of course, vintage clothing, accessories, and Home goods. I left with a baby Doris candle and a small zine. It was tough not to pick up more! wahhhh!

About two shops down, I stopped by Citizen Vintage. This shop has such a vibe; it's pretty irresistible. Their clothing line is impressive. There were about five things I wanted to pick up, but I couldn't decide, so I left with two sticker sheets instead.. lol it was easier. In terms of stationery, you won't find much here unless you're looking for stickers or postcards of Celine Dion.

Next on the block: Empire Exchange. EE is the sister shop to Annex Vintage. They sell clothing, home goods, and stationery; the stationery selection is not as much compared to 2019. I suspect COVID had a hand in reducing a lot of what stores could carry. Either way, there was an excellent selection of notebooks, pens, and some washi tape. I left with a cute Italian food washi tape and two pairs of socks.

Coffee Break time! We stepped in Cafe Eclair/Cafe Livres for a delicious Cortado and Hot Chocolate. This cafe was so chic. They also sold books and coffee-making accessories.

Before our late lunch, we stepped into Paperole. In 2019 they were in a smaller space, but they have opened their studio up as a Gallery and Boutique this year. Paperole sells a mix of kids' items, prints, and a better stationery selection I saw amongst the shops. I need to see fountain pens, Travelers notebooks, inks, papers, notebooks, memo pads, and other items in the same vein. I love the Paperole studio work so much! I left with a cute t-shirt, a Montreal map, and stickers.

Time for Lunch! We stepped into Mama Khan. The food was pretty good, it was a smaller Pakistani menu, but sometimes less is more. I ordered a Chicken tandoori while Ryookyung got a veggie meal. My favorite dish from Mama Khan was the veggie Samosas. Super crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside. They were perfect.

After 2 hours, because we were pooped! We left Mama Khan. The last thing I had to see was Old Montreal. The historic area of Montreal is so pretty, it calls to me. Of course, there are a lot of touristy shops that take away from the magic of the old city, but I didn't let that deter me. Previously, I had already visited the church of the old town, but I spotted a tiny corner bar this time. El Pequeno Bar. We did have to wait a while before we could sit inside because 1) it was a small bar, and 2) Covid restricted the number of people by half. Although I was cold, we walked around a bit more. Fun Fact, El Pequeno Bar is next to a speakeasy called The Coldroom.

The last store I shopped in was Mimi & August. The shop is around the corner from El Pequeno Bar, and it was such a lovely warm store with cute accessories and clothes. I wanted to leave with a cat sweater, but they didn't have my size cry. I did purchase a beautiful Dark red (almost burgundy) colored Beanie and hair barrettes because I'm getting ready for that cold snap holiday season. I also don't have items that are this red color. I definitely will be turning on the email notifications for this sweater.

With no space inside the bar, I decided to sit outside with Ryookyung and sip my Pina Colada in the cold. Nothing would stop me from having a good time, not even the cold, haha. Luckily a couple did leave, and we were once again able to enjoy the warmth and loveliness of the inside of Canada's smallest bar. I ordered another drink, a strawberry daiquiri. We spent our time chatting about life and took a long walk back to the apartment. Sigh... I didn't want to leave cry!

El Pequeno Bar's drinks were well made; the bartender was so personal and gave terrific service. I recommend this bar 100%.

I love the old town in Montreal. While I walk on cobblestone roads and look up at old row houses, I feel at peace. Old Architecture is like a feast for my eyes! Reply if you agree, lol.


Croissant Croissant

Buk & Nola

Coeur d'Artichaut

Le Palais Bulles

Annex Vintage

Citizen Vintage

Empire Exchange

Cafe Eclair/Cafe Livres

Paperole

Mama Khan

Old Montreal

Mimi & August

El Pequeno Bar




With my last few hours, we went off to Tommy Cafe in Old Montreal. I had been to this cafe before, and like the first time, I really liked the vibe and the coffee. My cappuccino, croissant, and matcha cookie were delicious!

Sadly, I wasted 20 mins at staples printing out my PCR test results. So I couldn't do one last walk through the old city, but I hugged my bestie bye until next time and off I went to the airport.


Tommy Cafe


At the Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport, aka YUL, I went through security and all that jazz.

I was so tired I sat by the gate and looked through TikTok.

I did organize my little cutouts for my Montreal Journal.

The flight was normal to Toronto, where I had a connecting flight to New York. That's right, I flew from Montreal to Toronto to New York. It was cheaper, and it honestly went by so quickly, so thank the travel lords for that.

My final thoughts on the trip were:

1- There's a lot of construction going on... bare this in this mind for walking, Ubering around, and for persons with disabilities. These Montreal streets...

2- 11/10 trip, I would go back again.



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