As I got out of the taxi in the dark, tree-lined street, a passing stranger nodded, said, “Bon soir”, smiled and walked on. It was 11pm and I’d just arrived at the Montreal home I’d be staying in during a visit to the French-speaking Quebec Region of Canada. I was greeted at the door by Ryan, one of the guys I was sharing the house with; he presented me with white paper bag. “Welcome to Montreal. I knew you’d be hungry so we got you a snack from Schwartz Deli – their famous smoked meat sandwich.” It was ENORMOUS – and so delicious … Thank you Ryan!
After a brief run-down of the simple instructions on door keys and security, Ryan gave me a quick tour of this contemporary family home with its sleek, shiny kitchen, four bedrooms, two bathrooms and lots of space. First impressions of the house were – light, airy, modern, clean lines, big art, shiny bathroom and luxurious walk-in shower, quality finish and – oh, thank goodness – a big double bed for me to crash out on after a long flight and a VERY long day.
The next morning I had time to for a proper look round the house before heading off into the city for a very special Montreal Food Tour. It can sleep 5/6 comfortably and with a room ideal for children next to the master bedroom it’s perfect for families as well as groups of friends. The large open plan kitchen- dining area means that everyone can be together for meals or just chilling and with well-stocked cupboards there’s no shortage of crockery, cutlery, food basics and the all-important wine glasses.
I love seeing other people’s homes and it was intriguing trying to imagine the owners who live here when the house is not rented out. Stylish, tres chic, food and art connoisseurs with a desire for simplicity and order, is the impression I got. In a little nook down by the kitchen was a seating area overlooking the garden with big leather sofas to curl up on, watch the TV or just relax with a drink. There was a quirky reindeer in the corner which added a quirky touch of whimsy.
My bedroom (second largest) had a little balcony overlooking the main road (see below) and on the first morning I took a chair outside and ate my breakfast listening to the birds singing and people going off to work. There was a decent amount of cupboard space and with a huge bathroom nearby it had the comfort of a luxury hotel room with the flexibility of a staying in a self-catering home.
A big plus was the garden which gets the sun quite a lot of the day, with a decent size lawn and a large gas BBQ which we used one day for lunch. The house is fairly close to Montreal city centre, less than 5 minutes from the Metro and in a quiet residential area. As you can see from this photo, the house has been architect-designed yet fits in really well with the more traditional buildings nearby.
I thoroughly enjoyed this stay. It was really great to come back and unwind outside after some hectic sightseeing and being able to have a BBQ, cook our own food when we wanted or simply read a book on the sofa, added a real feel of ‘being at home’ whilst being on holiday. Plus it was the perfect base from which to explore this vibrant and funky city.
House Trip has properties all over the world, with a huge range of choices from tiny one-bedroom apartments to huge houses, all of which come with the promise of an authentic stay in a great property. There’s even a loyalty scheme – when you get 10 points from each night you stay, you get a FREE night.
Many thanks to House Trip and Montreal Tourism for a great time and to Keep Exploring Canada for arranging the visit.
From Montreal I went on to Quebec City – read street food in Montreal about eating out in this beautiful town.
I had never stayed in someone’s house on a trip (a few villas and self-catering apartments yes) and have been converted. The secret is that the accommodation needs to feel homely without being someone else’s home that you’d worry about messing up. I also saw a couple of other House Trip places in Montreal, small apartment ideal for a couple and a house great for either family friends. And of course, then there is marvellous Montreal, which is a fascinating, historic and fun city.
What an interesting idea. A good option, especially if you’re travelling alone when hotels can seem so impersonal and you can’t do self-catering for one. Can’t see anyone wanting to rent my cluttered little cottage though!
Yes, Jill, one of our group (Keith Jenkins) was staying on his own in a one-bed flat right in the heart of the city and loved it. Cluttered little cottage sounds good to me 😉
Hi Zoe, reading this article brought back memories of pretty much the same trip my wife and I did in November 2012. We spent 3 days in Montreal staying at the Auberge de Vieux Port right by the St Lawrence and walked and ate our way around this brilliant and incredibly friendly city before taking the train to Quebec.
We stayed in an apartment owned by one of the Team Canada physios I met when volunteering at the Olympics and thought that Quebec was great with lovely restaurants, shops and lots of interesting history. We then drove out to the Gaspesie peninsula towards the Atlantic which is wild and beautiful.
House Trip sounds great and I would seriously consider this when we go back to Quebec which I found to be an amazingly friendly part of Canada.
What a delightful story you’ve shared. It sounds like you got a real affinity for the city. By staying in a place owned by a local you get a much better feel a place. I must admit I had not idea what to expect when I went but loved the apartment we were in and by staying in a suburb there were fewer tourists yet very near the sights and shops. Do hope you get to visit again – and make sure you go to Quebec City too!