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  • Writer's pictureCamille Lalonde

An Aesthetic Thrifters Guide To Montreal

I grew up in Montreal but moved away 10 years ago. My main goal in life was always to move far away from where I grew up. Like they say; the grass is always greener. After 10 years of living all over the globe, life happened (the pandemic) and it limited my travels to Canada. Luckily it allowed me to rediscover and reconnect with the city I was once bored of. Here are places I suggest to visit, not only as a born Montrealer but in the perspective of a ''visitor''.

First, it wouldn't be my guide if I didn't suggested any second hand stores. Loosing my career this year also put me on a tight budget. I was a thrifter before but I mostly visited curated thrift shops. This year my budget didn't allow me to do so. In Montreal there is still Goodwill's they are called "Renaissance" though. They are my absolute favourite second hand stores. They are all over the city. There is also many curated vintage shops on St-Laurent street, but my favourite is "Le Marche Noir" -1331 Ontario St-E. For books, I suggest "Word (The)" - 469 Milton St, which is a famous local photo spot. This bookstore sales vintage books, it is aesthetically pleasing and has an old familiar book smell I can't describe but that I love. For home decor, furniture and trinkets I love "deuxiemement" - 1880 Notre-Dame ST W. This place can be overwhelming, walking in this shop is an experience of it's own. You need to call the number on the door to enter the shop, the owner will let you in. If you are looking for something in particular make sure you arrive prepared; with a list. The owner is knowledgeable of all his merchandise and knows where everything is located in his boutique. Again, this store may seem messy at first sight but you can find rarities.

Second, Coffee shops. Montreal has more coffee shops then you can imagine. There are many popular aesthetic places that you will see over and over again on Instagram such as Tommy- Old port, Le Petit Dep (both locations), Chez mere grand, café st-henri... They are worth the stop because they are beautiful but let's put other ones on the map. One of my favourites that I discovered not too long ago is Café Sfouf. I wish I designed this place it's sooooo beautiful; it's very bright, there's plants everywhere, bar space all along the windows... and they have good coffee. I also wanted to share two coffee shops I often talk about on Instagram. If you make your way on the south shore of Montreal Pistache and Café Webster are worth the stop, whether it's for food or coffee. They are located in the village of St-lambert.

Third, FOOOOD!!!!!!!!!! For foodies, Montreal is certainly out there. Travelling the world made me realise how lucky I was to have grown up in a place with so many options, may I add reasonably priced options haha! We will start with a place that you could go for Brunch which is called Spanel. This is definitely a hole in the wall. It looks like nothing from outside but they have the cutest back patio and the best Crêpe Bretonne. The other brunch restaurant I love is ''Maman''. This restaurant first became famous with it's NYC location. A few years ago they opened up in Toronto and Montreal. The Montreal location is just as cute (or maybe even more.) Their attention to details is outstanding; from vintage looking dishware to the brick backsplash you are transported in time. For lunch or afternoon snack I love Melisse and Butterblume. Both these restaurants create delicious and aesthetic plates. The food is always tasty and keeps you wanting more. For dinner I would suggest Chuchai a vegan Thai restaurant. I love the innovation of their menu; they even have vegan shrimp (WHAT?) For a night cap beer; I am obsessed with ''Dieu Du Ciel'' brewery. This place is a Montreal staple and definitely has the feels of an old Belgium brewery not the industrial look we tend to see.

Lastly, for outdoor activities. Montreal has so many beautiful parks. One of my favourite thing to do with friends is to buy a bottle of wine from the grocery store, some cheeses from ''Fromagerie Atwater Centre-Sud'' (they have a great deal of 3 cheeses for 15$), stop at a bakery to buy a baguette and walk up to Lafontaine park to enjoy an afternoon Picnic. Don't forget to take long walks in the city to admire the vintage architecture.

As I said this is only a glimpse of all the places I love to go to when I am in Montreal. I hope these suggestions will inspire you to visit this summer.

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