Montreal by myself
Next week I will be riding an overnight bus from NYC to Montreal, arriving around 8am, and having the whole morning, afternoon and early evening to wander around by myself before my companion arrives. What are some good, low-key, not too expensive places where one can relax a while and get something tasty to eat? I'm thinking bakery/patisserie type places, but if anyone has any good solo dining recs I'm all ears.
Near the bus station, there's the Brioche lyonnaise on the east side of St-Denis between de Maisonneuve and Ontario. If you wander a few blocks up St-Denis, you'll hit a row of coffee houses like the Brûlerie St-Denis, Java U and Les Deux Marie.
Going further afield, you could take the metro to Jean-Talon station and hang around the Jean-Talon farmers' market and Little Italy (bakeries, cafes, chesse shops, espresso bars). Or head to Côte-des-Neiges, where you could combine a tour of St. Joseph's Oratory with visits to the French-language bookstores Oliveri and Renaud-Bray (the latter also has a selection of English-language books and magazines) and the Duc de Lorraine, home of they city's best croissants (pretty good espresso, pastries and sandwiches, too).
Park Ave. and environs have lots of possibilities (all are within walking distance of each other, though you'll probably want to take public transit or a taxi to get there from the bus station):
- Laurier and Park for coffee (Starbucks; Café, Toi et Moi), chocolate shops (Daskalidas; Léonidas), Pâtisserie de Gascogne (pastries and sandwiches), La Petite Ardoise (laid-back cafe), etc.
- Park and St-Viateur, where the Greek gourmet shop and cafe Le Petit Milos is on the corner and various eateries, cafes and bagel shops are scattered along St-Vaiteur to the east.
- Bernard and Park, where there are all kinds of cafes, shops and restaurants, especially to the west of Park.
For sandwiches, smoothies, herbal teas, free trade coffee and the like in a funky setting with a great terrasse, you can't do better than Cafe Santropol (St-Urbain and Duluth, http://www.santropol.com/). And while it doesn't open till 11:30, you could kill time before or after by wandering around Mount Royal Park, in whose shadow it sits.