There are certain neighbourhoods that you never want to, or need to, leave. Rosemount’s la Petite-Patrie is the perfect example of a self-sustaining community. Some places on the island have all the trendy bars, but lack affordable apartments, or have good rentals, but aren’t close to a metro. Then there are places that have it all: quaint little cafes, cool bars, great restaurants, corner-store grocery shops, quick access to public transit, and the all-important, all-day breakfast joints! La Petite-Patrie is a community centred on Beaubien street, between Saint-Laurent and Iberville. To prove how amazing this place is, an itinerary was set-up to pack an entire day’s fun without ever leaving the area.
1. 7am The Sun Rises And The Hunt For Breakfast Begins.
Montreal is much loved for its distinguishing feature - good breakfast joints. As is the case for everything else in Petite-Patrie, chain stores are out. Instead, the trend here is homegrown and independent businesses. There is Le Vieux Velo (map) near Saint-Laurent, that offers you traditional breakfast with a comfortable, bohemian flair. Right outside metro Beaubien, Café El Coyote (map) offers you no-nonsense day-starters if you’re in a hurry. Further down the street, La Grand-Mère Poule (map) serves a unique take on breakfast standards in a large, rustic building, until 3pm.
Photo Cred - Website
2. 12pm And It's Time For A Tour Of The Area.
Across the street from La Grand-Mère Poule is Molson Park (map), an idyllic neighbourhood green space. Here, examples of Ruelle Verte have been sprouting up. The green initiative encourages residents to turn back alleys into green spaces and public gardens. Public spaces here feel very much like a European postcard, with saxophone players in the park, kids running down tree-lined streets, and corner-store grocery shops stacking fruit and vegetables on the sidewalk. Forget dépanneurs when there are places like Épicerie le Petit Coin, (map) le Petit Maché, (map) L’Epi D’or (map) and Marché Jean-Talon (map) that offer fresh and healthy options.
Photo cred - Elza Photographie
3. 2pm And It’s Time For A Coffee Break.
Again, like most things in the area, all the coffee shops are non-chain related stores – and fantastic! Starting with the most unique and probably least known, Café Grain d’Or (map) - a shop that is home to fair-trade, who’s owners source the coffee beans from their family farm in Guatemala. They roast the beans in-house and also serve fantastic churros and sandwiches. For a hip vibe that invites people to bring their laptop and spend hours in, there's also Cafe Moustache, (map) and the very colourful and cozy Village Café (map). Of course, there are the classic Italian favourites for a more traditional cappuccino at Dispatch Coffee (map) and Café San Simeon, (map) both rated among the city’s best.
4. 4pm Rolls Around And It’s Time For Beer!
One of the premier bars in the city for craft beer is Vices & Versa (map). Their 35 taps constantly rotate new and rare local beers and ciders. The poutines are great, and they have a terrasse in the back, away from the hustle and bustle of the street. However, if rustic charm isn’t your style, there is Isle de Garde (map). This more modern atmosphere caters to the experience of beer tasting, providing a menu of beers divided by style, and each served at its appropriate temperature.
Photo cred - Fabrice Lallemand Tremblay
6. 6pm Sneaks Up Out Of Nowhere And It’s Off To The Movies!
Every neighbourhood should have a Cinema Beaubien (map). This art house theater is very much a dying breed, but its charm cannot be denied. Everyone is always talking about living in Montreal and not speaking any French. What better way to practice than by watching a movie?
7. 8pm And It’s Time For Dinner.
There is a wonderful overabundance of restaurants to choose from in the area: there’s Salvadoran La Carreta (map), or Fortune (map) that delivers everything on a tortilla. There's also French cuisine at Gus (map), with its open kitchen concept and Tex-Mex twist; Les Cocottes (map) a rustic farm-house charmer; or Lannes et Pacifique (map) a French bistro BYOB. And of course, “zah” lovers can choose between arguably the best pizzeria in town: Pizzeria Napoletana (map), or go with the traditional feel at Ristorante Elio (map), around since 1964.
8. 10pm Is A Good Time To Start Your Night Out.
The discussion about great neighbourhoods like Petite-Patrie cannot end without discussing the bar scene. Like everything in and around Beaubien street, the bars here are various, trendy, and each fun enough to want to spend the night in. Bar Brutus (map) is a bacon-fixated, stylish lounge with a modern, speakeasy flair. There’s also the snazzy Gainzbar (map), a two-story lounge with vintage couches and live jazz. Though, if rocking-out is more your thing, there’s L’Hemisphere Gauche (map) with live metal and thrash bands, or Brasserie Beaubien (map) with a very grung-y vibe. If all else fails, try the neighbourhood favorite, Notre-Dame-des-Quilles (map), a no-nonsense watering hole, complete with mini bowling alley.
2:05am Drunk and happy from an awesome day, it’s time to check the wanted ads for apartments in this place you never knew existed.