Montréal C’est Magnifique

By Kate Riley August 21, 2012

Last week I shared some favorite images from our two days spent in Québec City, today I’ll share some favorites from Montréal.  We had only a day and a half to spend there but oh what a marvelous city!  We were equally charmed by our explorations around town on foot.  

There are wonderful sculptures and fountains around the city, which gave it a European feel but it reminded me of a combination of Paris and San Francisco too with its winding streets above town, vibrant shopping districts, and energetic vibe.

montreal fountain

sculpture museum of fine arts

 fountain ave viger

notre dame basillica montreal


There’s a wonderful old section of town which will transport you to another place in time, it felt just like Paris with its street artists, cafes, and classic French architecture. 

rue des artistes

old montreal

 boucherie restaurant

  window box and lantern montreal


Montreal’s parks have feathered friends that even speedy children can’t catch.

kid chasin pigeons


One of my favorite things to take pictures of when I travel are doorways like these arched beauties. 

arched entry montreal

 notre dame basillica exit cg


I’m always drawn to botanicals on display, some growing up along walls, others displayed so charmingly in open windows. 

pots on stone wall cg

old montreal window botanicals cg

planters on stool window in montreal cg

montreal window with bicycle cg


On our way back to the hotel, I stopped into a fabulous interior design shop called Barami on Rue Saint Jacques and spend 45 minutes browsing.  It was like a mini ABC Home in NYC, filled with top designer fixtures and finds, I brought home something small for the mantel after I ogled all the gorgeousness on grand scale on three floors.

busroll art reclaimed wood desk montreal

modern chandelier and art montreal


This dresser is crazy cool – rustic with an alphabet on top, a perfect statement piece in a nursery right? Or a library?

rustic alphabet dresser


I’ll end this with this trestle table I spied at the very same shop.  Is it gorgeous or what?  It’s my dream dining table! 

dream trestle table

It was listed at $1,299 (great price for solid wood) but when I inquired about shipping to California I was quoted $800, which puts it out of my budget but I am just absolutely smitten with it. 

Has this ever happened to you?  Have you ever fallen madly in love with a piece on your travels but had to say goodbye to it?   Console me in my state of melancholy. 




  1. Yes, it has happened to me. I love it when I can find something great that will fit in my suitcase (And more than once, I have left pretty much everything I brought in the suitcase behind so that I could bring my souvenirs home instead).

  2. I love that table too! Shipping can be such a buzz kill, almost doubling the price is a total deal breaker for me. I’m sure you’ll be able to find something similar closer to home. Thanks for sharing your pictures, looks like a lovely city!

  3. I love ALL of your photos! Love the alphabet dresser and the city signs. since Toronto is my hometown, I would get that sign with all of the major streets.

    I had to laugh. I just bought a pair of sunglasses via eBay a few weeks ago and they arrived damaged in shipping. I had to return them to the seller last week and the street was Rue Saint Jacques-same street as the interior design shop that you mentioned. Such a small world really. ;)

  4. Beautiful photos of my hometown – thanks so much for sharing!!!
    Old Montreal is pretty special isn’t it?

  5. Hi Kate, Ballard has a very similar table – the Chianni in Belgian Oak. I’ve been eyeing it for some time and it was a bit less expensive (may be lesser quality, but worth a look).

    • Hi Tori, I was eyeballing the Chiani the other day, it’s very pretty! I want a solid surface top without an extension and with that one the little expansion bolts are visible from the side, wish they weren’t – that little detail is making me hesitate!

  6. this really is a beautiful place. i’d love to visit this area one day! i love all your pics of the plants/herbs/etc!

  7. I’m so glad you enjoyed my city but, only a day and half? You must come back – so much to see and do and, most importantly, so much more shopping that you can do! Did you manage to see who the manufacturer of that table was? I only ask as the stores in Old Montreal are often significantly over-priced (its a touristy area) and oftentimes you can find the same items there elsewhere in the city at a fraction of the price. A small example, I saw an item in Old Montreal priced at $75, but managed to find the exact same item the following week in another area for $25. Just a thought!
    One of the doorways you photographed is the entranceway to a bank that I used to work in a number of years ago. Old Montreal is gorgeous and I used to love to eat my lunch in the square facing Notre Dame Cathedral (also featured in your photos). Did you get to visit the Christmas Store across the street from the church? It is lovely. Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, it is a cool place to visit.

  8. I’m actually heading to Montreal tomorrow for 4 days. I absolutely love it there. I’ll be visiting all the same places. It really is like a little piece of Europe. I’m so glad you enjoyed it.

  9. Hey Kate, I’ve had the very same thing happen to me many times. What if you showed that picture to someone and see if they could have one made for you or better yet…………another project for you and yours??? I’ll be moving to Ottawa, Ontario soon (another wonderful place you may want to visit some time) and I can’t wait to be able to visit Quebec.

  10. Kate,
    I have wanted to visit Montreal and Quebec, thanks for this tour for the armchair tourist! I have fallen in love with furniture, or any other large item (antique clocks) that shipping made the impossible dream. I’d save the image of the table if I were you, I’ll bet you can find something almost identical here in California.

  11. Last year, I left a giant ANTIQUE solid-copper saucepan (40 Euro!) at the Clingancourt flea market in Paris because I thought my suitcase was already going to cost a fortune. When I put it on the scale at the airport, it was ten pounds underweight…the weight of the pot. I’ve told myself it was for the best, but I’ve just hung my pot rack, and I can SEE it on there. I would have learned to make cassoulet. I WOULD HAVE.

    But I believe I can offer some consolation to you. Because: And: If you’re a member (free), shipping is free over $100 (though there may be an exception for pieces so large). Also, there are several locations in California. (I sound like I’m in the pay of these people, but I’m not – I am just consistently impressed by their ability to be on-trend and priced way under the “designer” stores.)

    • Agreed The Misfit, I’ve seen the World Market one in the store – GREAT price!

  12. My husband and I had been hunting for the perfect trestle table (just like the one you pictured) for a long time. We went to so many stores and looked online. We were finally going to get one from Crate and Barrel but it wouldn’t have come until October. We happened to go into World Market looking for barstools, and lo-and-behold, they had the trestle table we were looking for! And it was only $699. So of course we snagged it up right away, and to our surprise when we went to purchase it, it was on sale for $499! So we paid about 1/3 of what we would have at other places. So if you have a World Market there, check it out!

    • Hi Mary, I saw that one at World Market! The tabletop is a teeny bit rough for me, but the whole look is amazing for the price, great score!

  13. Kate, what gorgeous pictures. I really never knew how gorgeous Canada is. And that table…drooling over here. I’m sure you can find something similar in Cali. Thanks for sharing. :)

  14. Thanks for sharing – Montreal is on my bucket list. Have you checked out the Chianni Trestle Table at Ballard Designs? You can get it in Belgian Oak color (similar to your Montreal find) and it is extendable, too. Not sure what shipping costs are, but the price is slightly cheaper and I’ve seen it on sale before. I’ve been eyeing it for a while myself.

  15. Just wanted to let you know what blogs like yours and those similar have done to me….
    I know nothing about “woodworking” and my DIY list is infinitely longer than my DIM (Did it myself) list will ever be….but I am sitting here thinking “I bet ‘I’ (or it would be better if someone else would actually) could DIY that aweseome alphabet dresser. Must stop reading so many blogs of so many creative gals and guys….must stop! :)
    [FYI–I’m thinking it would involve a plain dresser and various sizes of the letters you could buy already made–just in case you have a desire too!)…

  16. Je t’aime vieux Montreal! So glad you got to spend time there. Its one of my favourite cities. Fashion, decor, food – its definitely a bit of Europe in my backyard. Thanks for sharing your Canadian travels!

  17. I’m a Montrealer and am so happy to that you and many other share my love for the city. Old Montreal is such a wonderful place to spend and afternoon window shopping. Next time your in Montreal take a day to shop on St. Denis boulevard- it’s also very charming.

  18. Montreal looks like a wonderful city! Great photos! I’ll bet you can find a furniture maker in California, who can duplicate this table. It’s a pretty common style. Just the finish that makes it unique. Beautiful, too!

  19. I love Montreal! Havent’ been to Quebec City, but hope to one day. We actually just returned from a trip to Ontario, Canada to visit relatives. Niagara-on-the-Lake was one of the highlights. It’s wine country with beautiful landscapes and quaint homes. And there are flowers everywhere!

  20. Love the trestle table. Hope you’re able to find one closer to home. We fell in love with some lights while window shopping in Greece. But the cost of shipping plus the cost of rewiring made them just too spendy. It’s still fun to look when you’re far from home.

  21. So glad you loved Montréal and Québec! It’s terrific to see
    both cities through the eyes of a tourist, there are so many places I take for
    granted, having lived in Montréal my whole life. Hope you get to stay longer next time, there’s so much to see and experience here! Bonne journée!

  22. Yes I found an antique Louis Vuitton trunk at an antique shop in the Knotting Hill area in London that I still think of all the time. But $3000 way out of my price range

  23. Wow! It really is like Europe! Thanks for the tour Kate, your picture are lovely as always! I so, so love the alphabet dresser!!!!!! How much was it? I hope I see one here in the states SOOOON!

    I have had that moment Kate, like when I saw these 2 Barcelona chairs at a flea market in LA, my heart was pounding, but the way I kept my composure about it was, by not asking the price! Yup, once you know the price, you’ll kick yourself in the butt not getting it and that will be another headache, the shipping I mean. Don’t feel so bad, it is a FURNITURE, not some little decorative object that you can carry in your luggage, you will find your perfect table, WHEN the right time comes with out any hassles whatsoever, and the price and look would be perfect! Cheer up dear!

  24. We are visiting in Montreal RIGHT NOW, and so I completely enjoyed your photos !! It is so funny to walk by such incredible places/buildings…and then see them in your blog post. AWESOMENESS!!!!
    Lynne xx

  25. Fantastic photos of a great looking city. I agree that it looks very ‘European’. I love the architecture and some of the light fixtures are really cool. Looks like a fun and beautiful trip.

  26. AND if you sign up at they will send you coupons saving you BIG $$$! Love that store!

    I left an antique sewing machine in Springfield MO………sigh……

  27. Hi, Kate! I’m glad you enjoyed your trip. Old Montreal is very beautiful and SO darned romantic…on our very first night visiting that beautiful city, my husband and I conceived our third child….Oo la laaaa! We came home with Benjamin in my belly. He was an unintended souvenir….way better than that lovely trestle table, but also much more expensive in the long run!

  28. Having lived in Montreal for years as a grad student and professional, after living in Bruxelles for much of my school years and having been born in SF, I can say it does combine the best of all possible worlds. Of course, I went to live there after only visiting during the summer. Talk about thermal shock…brrrr. Your post made me a little sad in a nostalgic way as the pics really evoked not just the look of the place, but the feel and smell. Thank you. CTD
    P.S. I still regret not having bought a pristine vintage linen bedspread…at a Goodwill. It was cheap, but I worried my BF would be upset as it would have had to fit in his suitcase. I could just hear, “Do you really need this?”

  29. I love the statue of Iscaraus(?) Michael (?)… We’ve never been to Canada, live on the other end of the continent, but would love to go and see these places in person! My saddest had-to-leave-behind was a beautiful triple armoire from the L.A. Antique Mall in the early 80’s. Incredible art deco inlay, a multitude of drawers, nooks and shelves. I think it is actually a gentlemens cabinet but it was really cool in my teenaged eyes! I hope whoever was able to take that bohemoth home (over 6 feet from right to left) took great care of my heart’s desire!! Did I mention it was solid mahogany???

  30. Hi Kate your vision of Montreal is really Centsational, I love your pictures they are fabulous, you have captured the beautiful Montreal. Thank you for a marvelous post, sorry I missed you.

  31. My hometown! Born and raised. Looks like you have visited the very best places in Old Montreal. Great restaurants and shops. :-)

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