Canada has a lot of things I can get down with: poutine, universal healthcare, baby bears, etc. Plus, it's a great option for a romantic winter weekend trip, and growing up in the heart of New England means I am not phased by a blizzard, and totally willing to wear a minimum of 5 layers before leaving the house.
That being said, traveling to Montreal for Valentine's Day this year was not totally hot and steamy, only because it was -40 below with windchill. But from the cat cafe and views from Parc du Mont-Royal, to the beautiful airbnb apartment, Montreal made up for the frigid temps with a ton of charm. This trip was really unforgettable, and not just because I thought for sure all my extremities would freeze and fall off on multiple occasions throughout the weekend.
First thing first: poutine. We ventured out into the snow to Poutineville, where you can customize your gravy cheese fries to your heart's desire. As in, you can get hot dogs. On your gravy cheese fries. To sum it up, if Poutineville was its own Canadian province, I would book a one way trip.
For a great traditional cafe where you can watch croissants being made right before your very eyes, go to Mamie Clafoutis. There is a croissant literally called "oh mon dieu" because it has so much chocolate in it.
If you're into brunch (which you are, of course) go to Prohibition. It will be busy, but trust me, wait it out and then order a bloody caesar (or four) and bénédictine bulgare, which is like traditional eggs benedict except WAY WAY BETTER.
We also had a hella romantic valentine's day dinner at Le Robin Square - a hidden gem with the best food and even better service. Pretty sure the nicest Canadians in all of Canada work there.
After we were full of poutine, croissants, and bloody caesars, we bundled the fuck up and explored the city. Some of our favorite stops throughout the weekend:
The Biodome is one of Montreal's top tourist attractions, but it's definitely not a tourist trap. Walking through the different ecosystems is very cool (but also very hot - the tropical rainforest is pretty damn humid), and you can hang out with monkeys, otters, and penguins in a more intimate setting than a typical zoo or aquarium.
Café Chat L'Heureux
Visiting a cat cafe was a real cat lady dream of mine, and this one did not disappoint. What could be better than drinking hot chocolate in a room full of kitties? (honestly nothing comes to mind). It was pretty crowded, which really only mattered to me because I wanted all the cats to myself.
I will admit, this short but steep walk up to the top of Mount Royal was the coldest I've ever been, and I was fairly concerned I would never again regain feeling in my toes, but the view of the city was worth it. The park itself is huge, and you'll find people sledding, ice skating, hiking and snowshoeing. If it had been maybe a mere 30 degrees warmer, we definitely would've been down for more winter activities, and I'm sure it's just as charming in the spring and summer.
Airbnb came through again, and we stayed in a swanky high-rise apartment right in downtown Montreal. You can see the listing here, and the views are even better than the photos. Montreal has a TON of amazing Airbnb rentals. To check out some other great options for a weekend trip, you can scroll through my potential choices for this adventure here.