Instagrammers guide to: Montreal

Did you know that 91 Magazine is now stocked across the pond in the US and Canada?! We are thrilled to forging connections with the creative community on the other side of the Atlantic and across the globe. 91 contributor Hannah Clugston gets to know the fabulous independent scene in Montreal, Canada with local photographer Valeria Bismar guiding the way and snapping the pics…

The largest city in Canada's Québec province, Montreal’s blend of French and English heritage makes for a vibrant city like no other where food is carefully prepared to be enjoyed slowly in stylish interiors and chic stores evolve in keeping with current trends. Named after Mount Royal – the three peaked hill in the centre of the city – and flanked by two rivers, Montreal is an intriguing place to explore with independent cafés and studios aplenty for the thriving creative scene. Every other shop, gallery or bar is multi-functional, serving up creative masterclasses against a backdrop of design-led products and delicious pastries.   

 We take a little tour of the best places to visit in the city…

Cafe Parvis, Montreal - 91 Magazine Instagrammer's Guide to Montreal, Canada
Cafe Parvis, Montreal - 91 Magazine Instagrammer's Guide to Montreal, Canada

Café Parvis

Apparently, a “parvis” is a place where communities gather after worship, and – although there is a church nearby – Café Parvis refers to the gathering of the local neighbourhood, either over a delicious meal or in the co-working space upstairs. Based in the historic fur district of Montreal, the café boasts a unique view over the back end of downtown and atmospheric, stripped down interiors with exposed plaster and wooden floorboards. The menu includes a range of small dishes, but the highlight is the selection of pizzas with slightly off-piste ingredients such as duck and squid.

IG: @cafe_parvis

VdeV, Montreal  - 91 Magazine Instagrammer's Guide to Montreal, Canada
VdeV, Montreal  - 91 Magazine Instagrammer's Guide to Montreal, Canada

VdeV

With shops in Montreal and Toronto, VdeV is a haven of botanical prints, muted soft furnishings and quietly patterned ceramics. Natural tones contrast beautifully with industrial materials to make for an enviable collection of homewares. The range is expansive, including everything from handbags to crockery, lighting, furniture, cushions and more. It is the carefully curated styling that pulls everything together, providing visitors with ample inspiration when creating their own well considered interiors at home.

 IG: @vdev_maison

BKind, Montreal, Canada - 91 Magazine Instagrammer's Guide to Montreal
BKind, Montreal, Canada - 91 Magazine Instagrammer's Guide to Montreal

BKind

Named after the ethics they hold dear, BKind (be kind) sells a collection of natural skincare and eco accessories. On a mission to “be kind” to the world – and the people and animals that inhabit it – Bkind design and craft their products in Québec, utilising recyclable packaging, donating money to animal welfare and couriering products on bike. The skincare range, which includes creams, sponges, masks, scrubs, bars, balms and nail polishes, is based around key natural ingredients. Witch hazel, shea butter, aloe vera, sunflower seed oil, lavender buds and other plant-based wonders are blended to produce a stunningly fragranced range that is both gentle and luxurious. Each item is packaged in beautiful illustrations, ensuring the remedies look as good on the shelf as they do on the skin. 

 IG: @bkind.products

Bref, Montreal - 91 Magazine Instagrammer's Guide to Montreal, Canada
Bref, Montreal - 91 Magazine Instagrammer's Guide to Montreal, Canada

Bref

One visit to Bref is likely to be entirely different to the next. A gallery, shop and event space based in the heart of Montreal, Bref evolves over the seasons to reflect current design trends. Founders Cynthia Moreau and Maude St-Louis wanted to develop a space to promote local and international artists, rejecting a static showcase and creating a dialogue between objects and the public instead. Previous display themes include animals, architecture, botany, colour and Scandinavian design. The Bref boutique, which is also available online, features vibrant graphic prints, playful ceramics and exclusive collaborations with other creatives.

IG: @bref.mtl

Boulangerie Louise, Montreal - 91 Magazine Instagrammer's Guide to Montreal Canada
Boulangerie Louise, Montreal - 91 Magazine Instagrammer's Guide to Montreal Canada

 Boulangerie Louise

Boasting the catchy tag line “Louise has the bread to go with your butter!”, Boulangerie Louise is the sort of local bakery that you can smell streets away. Open early and late, the bakery is primed to serve the local community all day long – whether that is during the breakfast rush hour or later on when there’s a spot of post-work grocery shopping. Loaves, baguettes and croissants are served fresh every day in the Petite Italie area of Montréal from a minimalist, concrete-walled café with a spot of light art that fittingly reads “chaud, chaud, chaud”.

IG: @louiseboulangerie

Petit Lapin patisserie, Montreal - 91 Magazine Instagrammer's guide to Montreal, Canada
Petit Lapin patisserie, Montreal - 91 Magazine Instagrammer's guide to Montreal, Canada

Petit Lapin Pâtisserie

When Viviane Nguyen discovered her 10-month-old son had numerous food allergies she knew it was going to be near impossible to find him a cake for his first birthday. So, Nguyen decided to develop a cake herself that was delicious and free from gluten, egg, nuts, dairy and soy. The good news is, not only did her son enjoy that cake, but so did the residents of Montreal and Nguyen has since founded two patisseries in the city. Regardless of dietary restrictions, anyone with a sweet tooth can enjoy pastel coloured macarons, delicately decorated cupcakes and chocolate coated cream puffs at Petit Lapin. And, the Bernard Avenue location features a candy coloured café that can serve as the perfect afternoon tea spot or a kid’s birthday party location.

IG: @petitlapin_mtl

Pastel Rita, Montreal - 91 Magazine Instagrammer's Guide to Montreal Canada
Pastel Rita, Montreal - 91 Magazine Instagrammer's Guide to Montreal Canada

Pastel Rita

Spotless cinematic styling is Pastel Rita’s calling card. In Montréal’s artistic Mile End neighbourhood, this café-come-factory is a blend of contrasting colourways, slick polished furnishings and giant windows. Co-owned by Véronique Orban de Xivry, the founder of leather-goods label Bouquet, Pastel Rita is home to the artisans that carefully craft the Bouquet products. Diners can watch the production line whilst enjoying avocado on toast or a shrimp salad. Although the interior is razor sharp, the vibe is very relaxed, and locals pop in for coffee and business meetings in the daytime and cocktails and live music in the evening.

IG: @pastelrita

Tommy Cafe, Montreal - 91 Magazine Instagrammer's Guide to Montreal, Canada
Tommy Cafe, Montreal - 91 Magazine Instagrammer's Guide to Montreal, Canada

Tommy Café

A visit to Tommy is like a trip to mum’s kitchen but with expert baristas on hand. With two locations in Montréal, Tommy’s interiors are laid back and homely with plenty of hanging plants, wooden furnishings and eclectic pieces of art and bric-a-brac. Into this relaxed setting, team Tommy serve every type of coffee (hot, cold, green), various juices and a plethora of cocktails. It’s not all about the caffeine fix though, there’s a lengthy menu offering up brunch, omelettes, sandwiches, salads and health bowls. If you’re still not convinced, it seems that Antoni from Queer Eye is a fan. 

 IG: @tommymontreal

La Dependence, Montreal - 91 Magazine Instagrammer's guide to Montreal, Canada
La Dependence, Montreal - 91 Magazine Instagrammer's guide to Montreal, Canada

La Dependance

La Dependance is really three places under one roof; Kiosk is a boutique, Alcove is a workshop space, whilst the Living Room is a café. In establishing a beautiful, calming space, the owners have curated an atmosphere that encourages creativity and the sharing of ideas. As the name infers, La Dependance is all about enabling designers to collaborate and create in response to the aesthetics and flavours on display at the café. There are workshops to help generate ideas too, participants can currently sign up to “The 5 golden rules of Scandinavian style” or “Who does what in design? Three professions to discover.”

IG: @ladependance.ca

Baltic Club, Montreal - 91 Magazine Instagrammer's guide to Montreal, Canada
Baltic Club, Montreal - 91 Magazine Instagrammer's guide to Montreal, Canada

 Baltic Club

The stationary at the Baltic Club is the stuff of dreams. The pastel colours, painterly illustrations and metallic shades are what freelancers see when they close their eyes and imagine what their home office could look like. This explains why in just five short years, founders Mélanie Ouellette and Brice Salmon have established multiple shops in Montreal, selling their unique range of greeting cards, stationary, desk accessories and prints. With Brice on business management and product development, and Mélanie on illustration and creative direction, the Baltic Club seeks to spark inspiration through simple design. The duo also hosts a number of workshops and coaching sessions to assist other creatives in the city.

Vestibule, Montreal - 91 Magazine Instagrammer's guide to Montreal, Canada
Vestibule, Montreal - 91 Magazine Instagrammer's guide to Montreal, Canada

Vestibule

Named after the hallway at home where you find a little bit of everything, Vestibule is a carefully curated selection of fashion, homeware, skincare and jewellery. Founder Audrey Morissette is fond of simple, classic design that is both feminine and timeless. Her shop on Mile End is immaculately styled, showcasing subtly patterned dresses and minimalist accessories against warming wooden floors and peachy painted walls. The chic collection that effortlessly manages to unite vases with sunglasses and garden accessories, is arranged on pastel coloured plinths and shelves creating the sensation of walking into a welcoming house. A recent addition to the store is Audrey’s sustainable fashion range which is top quality for longevity and is all made locally. To find out more check out our current e-zine, available by subscribing to our mailing list.

IG: @boutiquevestibule

91 visits... the Jurassic coast

Some of your may have followed my recent trip to the Dorset / Devon coast over on Instagram Stories, when we stayed just outside Lyme Regis for five days. In between enjoying the beaches and the lovely Easter holiday weather, I managed to get to a few of the shops and cafes I’d been desperate to visit, as well as discovering some new little gems. If you haven’t visited this part of the south coast, it is most definitely worth the trip; here are a few of the top spots I recommend shopping and eating at…

Ryde and Hope, Lyme Regis
Ryder and Hope, Lyme Regis
Ryder and Hope, Lyme Regis
Ryder and Hope, Lyme Regis

Ryder and Hope, Lyme Regis

Ryder and Hope are a 91 Magazine stockist based in the heart of Lyme, and I’m not ashamed to admit that for ages I have wanted to see that pink sink in person! It didn’t disappoint and I spent ages browsing every corner of the shop. The store is filled with beautiful items from independent brands such as MOA, The Basket Room and Arran St East, as well as stationery, books and plants.

Swim, Lyme Regis
Swim, Lyme Regis
Swim, Lyme Regis

Swim, Lyme Regis

If you have our latest issue, you will probably recognise this place as it was featured as our restaurant tour. As soon as Kath (our ex-su editor and now contributor) suggested this place, I knew I had to have it in the magazine AND pay it a visit! I didn’t make it to the shoot that photographer Maria Bell did for us, so I was so pleased we could fit it in to our family holiday. Located right on the seafront, Swim’s interior is gorgeous plus it didn’t disappoint in the food department. We went for breakfast and I had the french toast & fruit, although everything on the menu sounded amazing. A must if you are in the town.

Lyme Bay Cafe, Lyme Regis

Lyme Bay Cafe, Lyme Regis

On the same day, we ate lunch in an equally scrummy cafe - the Lyme Bay Cafe. The weather was lovely and we were lucky enough to bag a table outside overlooking the sea. I didn’t get many photos inside due to where we were seated and it was also very busy, but the interior is lovely with a modern industrial vibe and nice touches, like my favourite La Eva hand-soap in the bathroom. Food was really tasty - I had the crab sandwich in a pretzel bun - delicious.

Rise, West Bay
Rise, West Bay
Rise, West Bay

Rise, West Bay

One of our days out took us to Bridport and West Bay where I didn’t have much luck on the shopping front. I managed to completely miss Yellow Gorse on the high street which I was gutted about when I realised as I love their products and the shop looks stunning - get a peek here. Also, Old Albion was on my list, but after a bit of a long hunt to find it, we discovered it was closed. Thankfully, we did find Rise - the sister cafe of Swim. It is in a lovely location in West Bay, surrounded by water, with lots of natural wood, colourful textiles and plants - right up my street! We had already eaten, so we just pop in for coffee and ice cream - a lovely spot to rest your feet whilst exploring the area.

Holy Water, Beer, Devon
Holy Water, Beer, Devon
Holy Water, Beer, Devon
Holy Water, Beer, Devon

Holy Water Apothecary, Beer

Holy Water Apothecary was a complete chance discovery after we took a little excursion to the village of Beer. I spotted the shop front as we drove in the village and made a bee line for it immediately! Inside did not disappoint, with a lovely mix of some of my favourite brands as well as a few new discoveries. Owner Alyssa was incredibly welcoming and in fact, we have a Shopkeeper Spotlight post coming up soon, so look out for that to hear more about her story.

Collate, Axminster
Collate, Axminster
Collate, Axminster

Collate, Axminster

Another of our morning drives took us over to the town of Axminster, where we had brunch in the River Cottage Kitchen, before popping into Collate for the browse. The original black and white tiled floor has been restored by shop owner Naomi, who explained during the shop’s previous incarnation as a pharmacy the floor had been covered over! Naomi curates a unique collection of vintage and antique pieces alongside handcrafted items from local makers. There were lots of lovely finds, from ceramics and textiles to skincare and books. A lovely shop that’s a little bit different.

Rousdon village bakery
Rousdon village bakery
Rousdon village bakery
Rousdon village bakery

Rousdon Village Bakery, Rousdon

Our accommodation was actually in Rousdon, about 5 minutes drive from Lyme Regis, and we’d noticed a bakery that appeared to be located in an old petrol station which was always busy when we drove past. So, after a local recommendation that added to our curiosity, we decided we should pop in before we made the journey back to Surrey. The actual bakery itself was lovely, although had pretty much sold out of everything by the time we made it there! But, adjacent to food area was this lovely retail space, which I was instantly drawn to - quickly forgetting the lack of pastries next door! It felt very relaxed (in fact I wasn’t even sure where or how to purchase anything if I’d wanted to!) with a lovely array or cookware, ceramics and utility items.

Deans Court, Wimborne
Deans Court, Wimborne
Deans Court, Wimborne
Deans Court, Wimborne

Dean’s Court, Wimborne

To break up the drive home, we decided to stop off in Wimborne. We didn’t spend long there, other than a little visit to the cute model town there which my 4 year old loved, followed by lunch and a browse at Dean’s Court. The shop here is a lovely space housed in an old squash court with a really eclectic mix of homeware, beauty, and some clothing, mixing one off vintage finds with independent brands. I didn’t leave without treating myself to a few goodies and even my other half bagged himself a lovely vintage workwear style jacket. The perfect way to end our trip!

I really enjoyed exploring this part of the UK - it has a perfect mix of places to feed the design lover within me, but also lots for outdoor types and kids with the stunning coastline and scenery. Thank you Jurassic coast! We will be back!