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Montreal's best shopping: top choices for the savvy shopper



Like most other things about Montreal, shopping is also a pleasure. From pleasant shopping streets that span at least eight city blocks and include trendy bars, restaurants and cafes with friendly staff to local markets and specialty craft shops, you'll find everything you need and want right here. It's actually a tough job to pare the offerings down to just 10 of the best but we've done it.

No visit to Montreal is complete without at least one shopping excursion. In fact, choosing to visit Montreal specifically for the shopping experience isn't a bad idea. In other major cities, your best option is often a large, overcrowded shopping mall and while those exist in Montreal, they're not your only option.

From all the shops, stores, boutiques, ateliers and markets in the city, 10Best narrows the options to those places with the most appeal and the best offerings. We deliver a carefully vetted selection to let you explore Montréal shopping on your own. If your time here is really tight and you don't have the leisure to take it all in, we present our Best Shopping list for Montréal. All of our suggestions are easily accessible from downtown either by foot or public transportation.


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Olives et Épices
Photo courtesy of Photo by Stump Town Panda, Flickr


Free delivery, cooking classes featuring the best uses of olive oil and lemon infused oils starting at $12.95 a bottle? No wonder Olives et Epices is such a long-time local favorite. Owned by the De Vienne family (much revered among Montréal's foodie circles), this Jean-Talon Market enterprise is a neighborhood staple, to say the least. The specialty here as the name suggests is olive oils and spices, and it's virtually a given that you'll find some you've never heard of before. Rare specimens include Indonesian spice blends and obscure but must-have herbs from Africa. Olives et Epices is a treasure trove of scents and flavors. The owners are very knowledgeable, and you are encouraged to taste before you buy.

Recommended for Best Shopping because: It's the best place to find spices and oils from all over the world.

Sherel's expert tip: Take advantage of cooking suggestions from the knowledgeable staff when choosing and buying these condiments.

Read more about Olives et Épices →


L'Art des artisans du Québec
Photo courtesy of Photo Courtesy of Tourisme Montreal


Looking for arty pillows for your sofa? How about handcrafted blown glass pieces in an array of colors and designs? Here you will find an extensive collection of ever-changing pieces of functional art at very good prices from top Québec artists. Choose from a large assortment of ceramic bowls, cups and bottles, an array of textile pieces or fine figurines hand-carved from attractive wood. This store is a real find for shoppers who seek top quality, unique items that are beautifully made by local and regional artisans. It's the ideal source for one-of-a-kind gifts and souvenirs from Montreal and Québec.

Recommended for Best Shopping because: It's the only place to find such a large collection of Quebec artisans under one roof.

Sherel's expert tip: When searching for a particular item keep in mind the price can vary greatly depending on which artist produced it.

Read more about L'Art des artisans du Québec →


Ben & Tournesol


Ben & Tournesol is best described as high-end home decor. From the depths of Westmount - a bastion of taste in itself - comes some noteworthy objects for yourself or others. The latest cool weather must-haves include soft, natural, 100% wool throws from Avoca, Ireland's oldest woolen mill. The owners work hard to keep the store stocked with the most unique items including vegan-friendly shopping bags and porcelain table sets by Versace. There's even clothing by the likes of Paul Frank and Kate Spade's coffee table book to set beside your ginger-scented candles. Direct from Europe check out the Arte Italica ceramic and pewter collections.

Recommended for Best Shopping because: Even if you're not shopping it's fun to check out the latest wares here.

Sherel's expert tip: Perfect for a last-minute gift for that hard to buy for person.

Read more about Ben & Tournesol →


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Downtown


Simons is a real local gem in that it's easy to miss. Most travel guide sites fail to mention this quintessential Quebec department store. Simon's focuses on quality fashions for the whole family. A particularly good value is the Twik line - a unique Quebec designer brand of fun, casual fashions for women and girls. Of the seven locations throughout the province, The downtown Montreal store in the Ste. Catherine West shopping district is the most popular. If you can't find it amidst the miles of shops in the area, just ask anyone on the street and keep your eyes open for the green and white banners and awning.

Recommended for Best Shopping because: Simons is the only retailer of Twik, the contemporary collection from young Quebec designers.

Sherel's expert tip: Keep an eye out for the clearance items which are spread throughout the store.

Read more about Simons →




Welcome to eight blocks of shopping pleasure - if only because the shops and boutiques are evenly interspersed with cafes, bars and restaurants to relieve the strain of shopping and appease those who would rather be doing something else. In these blocks along Laurier Avenue west between boulevard St-Laurent and Chemin de la Côte-Ste-Catherine you'll find medium to high-end fashions, art galleries, gourmet food stores and upscale kitchenware shops. No member of the family is left out as toys and children's clothes can be found here along with books, music and decorative items- perfect for gift shopping too and all within a 10-minute walk of the Laurier metro station.

Recommended for Best Shopping because: This shopping street is in one of the hippest neighborhoods in Montreal.

Sherel's expert tip: Best to travel here by public transit as parking and traffic can be a hassle in this neighborhood.

Read more about Avenue Laurier Ouest →


Le Fromentier
Photo courtesy of Photo by Kathy L Chan, Flickr


Le Fromentier is Montreal's premier artisanal bakery complete with organic choices making it a hot spot in a neighborhood already saturated with these. Montréal's Laurier Avenue east has more than its fair share of specialty food shops and gourmet cafes, but since 1993, Le Fromentier has offered both the best bread and pastries in the entire city. The shop features typical bakery fare throughout the week with several daily specials. But the difference is evident when tasting the superior chocolate croissants, buttery brioche, baguettes and cinnamon raisin bread. More unique products include loaves featuring squash, cumin, cranberries, nuts, olives, and a host of other ingredients.

Recommended for Best Shopping because: Le Fromentier is a true neighborhood favorite whose reputation has spread throughout the city.

Sherel's expert tip: Plan to arrive in time for the daily lunch specials.

Read more about Le Fromentier →


Gourmet Laurier
Photo courtesy of Photo Courtesy of Gourmet Laurier


A real foodies delight, Gourmet Laurier has been inspiring Montreal chefs - both amateur and professional for over half a century. This is the place to head for those hard-to-find ingredients. The imported treasures include spices, teas, mustards, chocolates, candies, jams, and a variety of oils and vinegars. This is one of the few places where you can score Puget oils, imported lentils from Le Puy and Lustucru pasta. Rare spices, top quality extra virgin olive oils, Québec cheeses and meats and exotic soaps complete the grocery list. The shop also has a good selection of high-end coffee grinders, pepper mills and other kitchen gadgets. You can even get a sandwich to go too.

Recommended for Best Shopping because: Gourmet Laurier is the top go-to source for all imported items you won't find elsewhere.

Sherel's expert tip: If you're looking for an unfamiliar ingredient check here first.

Read more about Gourmet Laurier →


Les Chocolats de Chloé
Photo courtesy of Sherel Purcell


This tiny, inviting space with sparkling glass shelves in the middle of The Plateau invites chocoholics to peer into the open kitchen to watch the creation of luscious chocolate treats. Chloé and her friendly staff love talking about their creations and it's easy to see why. Chloé creates ten distinct ganache centers including but not limited to passionfruit, anise, raspberries, and Earl Grey tea, all smothered in Valrhona chocolate. The salted caramels and chocolate-covered marshmallows are good too. Since 2003 Montrealers have been sipping her sumptuous hot chocolate and sampling confections straight from France from this locally and internationally acclaimed chocolate shop.

Recommended for Best Shopping because: Chloé is a chocolate legend in a city filled with competition.

Sherel's expert tip: If possible shop here during the week as the tiny shop gets crowded on the weekends.

Read more about Les Chocolats de Chloé →


Crescent Street


Usually known as the party street for McGill students and former hangout of controversial local writer Mordecai Richler, Crescent Street, named for its formed curved shape, has become one of Montréal's premier fashion destinations. Designer boutiques have sprung up in the area and attract well-to-do professionals and fashionistas alike. The district is especially popular with English-speaking residents and visitors. Simply stroll down the street and head for the places that catch your attention and imagination. One of Montréal's most distinct thoroughfares, Crescent Street runs between de Maisonneuve blvd and Sainte-Catherine. If you get tired shopping you can always pop into the lively bars and cafes that line the street on both sides.

Recommended for Best Shopping because: Crescent Street is one of Montreal's historically prominent destinations which has recently attracted new boutiques.

Sherel's expert tip: Take public transportation as parking is a nightmare in this popular shopping district.

Read more about Crescent Street →


Marché Jean-Talon
Photo courtesy of Courtesy of Tourisme Montreal. Photo by Ron Stern


Open year-round, this Montreal landmark has been supplying locals with fresh produce, local meats and cheeses, desserts and dry goods since 1934. This is the place everyone adores. It's a whole city block of nothing but stall after stall piled high with the best regional fruits and veggies, meats and seafood. Baked goods, cheese, maple syrup, ice cream, jams and jellies, charcuterie, wine and beer, olive oil, balsamic vinegar â€" you name it, if it's a "gourmet" food item, produced or grown locally, or imported from Italy, Japan or some other far off country, you will find it here.

Recommended for Best Shopping because: The Jean-Talon Market is a true Montreal staple, serving Montrealers since 1934.

Sherel's expert tip: Go as early in the day as possible and park underground for the best parking experience.

Read more about Marché Jean-Talon →


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Meet Sherel Purcell

Sherel Purcell is a travel writer who specializes in golf, Montreal and Quebec, contemporary art, cycling and food and wine. Her articles appear on USA Today's 10Best, About.com, Aol, Matador,...  More About Sherel

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