Visiting Montréal with Food Allergies

Hotel room view of commercial bakery
Hotel room view of commercial bakery

This was my second vacation in Montréal. Based on previous experience, I was very careful to plan my hotel around kitchenette needs, metro access, and attractions I wanted to visit.

I failed to notice one thing though. My hotel was located right next to a commercial bakery. Seriously! Who knew to check for such things? Luckily there were only a couple of days where the scent of yeast wafted through the air.

A Quick List of Attractions for July in Montréal

  • Day trip to Quebec City: Recommended for shopping, historical tour and excellent food.
  • Des Jardin Botanique (botanical gardens): Recommended for a beautiful summer day with picturesque views; bring your own food and sunscreen. 😉
  • Biodome: Not recommended; crowded and overrated; bring your own food.
  • Musée des Beaux-Arts Montréal: Recommended for a broad collection as well as international-class touring exhibits. I spent a whole day there but I’m an artist. It’s like checking in with the local office for me. There are several allergy-friendly restaurants within walking distance.
  • Musée d’Art Contemporain Montréal: This is the second time I’ve tried to visit this museum and failed. This time the Just for Laughs festival got in the way. I could NOT find my way in for the crowd.
  • Vieux Montréal: Just like the botanical gardens, this is a great place for walking and picture-taking on a sunny day—picture Notre Dame de Montréal Basilica, benches facing the river and horse-drawn carriages.
  • Le Mont Royal: Recommended for a beautiful summer day with views overlooking the whole city and public art; bring your own food, walking shoes, and sunscreen. It’s a huge park on top of the mountain for which the city is named. It sits just north of downtown.

Hotel Room Food on Hand

Even the best laid plans can go awry. I found that some of the restaurants that I wanted to try were just not conveniently located to anything else I wanted to see or a near metro station. So I adjusted my plans to focus on the places I wanted to visit and carried food with me if a suitable restaurant wasn’t near by. Thankfully, Montréal has health food stores as well as regular grocery stores with a wide variety of organic options. I didn’t get a chance to visit any of the farmers markets in the area but I understand they’re fabulous.

My first full day in Montréal, I purchased the below items to keep in the hotel room fridge. I also brought a few protein bars, oatmeal cookies, and chocolate coconut snack mix with me from home.

Metro mural made of tile
Metro mural made of tile
  • apples
  • cashew/almond butter
  • gluten-free crackers
  • carrots
  • hummus
  • roasted chicken
  • salad mix
  • mustard
  • honey
  • almond milk
  • bottled spring water

In addition to my regular purse necessities, I also brought some plastic baggies of various sizes, small food storage containers, metal dinner utensils, a can opener, and a paring knife. Lesson learned: I should have brought a small plastic cutting board as well. That goes on the list for next trip.

Results

I made a choice to be minimally adventurous because I was traveling alone for most of the trip. There was no one to explain my medical issues if I was incapacitated. Better to eat overcooked eggs at a mediocre chain restaurant than to risk a allergy event away from home and my support system.

When I got home, I discovered that I had gained three pounds of inflammation even with my precautions. It was expected. It came off over the next few days. You do the best you can while away and then get back on track once home.

If you’re interested to read more about my Montréal trip, Check out my other posts below.

  • Des Jardin Botanique and sunscreen
  • Baked2Go, A gluten-free and mostly corn-free bakery
  • Restaurant reviews in both Montréal and Québec City
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