Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie and Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, Montreal Travel Guide
Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie and Hochelaga-Maisonneuve Summary
- Intimate neighborhood vibe across the area, which isn't yet fully gentrified
- Home to one Montreal's most famous year-round market, Marche Jean-Talon
- Cool science-related sights like the Biodome, Botanical Gardens, and Insectarium
- Great Italian food in Little Italy, plus small holes-in-the-wall around the neighborhood
- Lots of parks, including Jarry Park, Little Italy Park, Dante Park
- Some areas of Rosemont-Le Petite-Patrie are close to nightlife in Mile End
- Major sights like Marche Jean-Talon and Little Italy easily accessible on the metro
- Far from the tourist-packed center of town (a pro for many)
- Some parts are hard to access on public transit
What It's Like
Due north of the bustling Plateau and Mile End is a decidedly calmer or Montreal: Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie. The biggest attractions in the neighborhood are Little Italy and Marche Jean-Talon, but it's all about feeling like a local here. Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie has developed significantly in the last decade or so, and -- like the Plateau -- is being inundated by young people renting and buying property. As of 2017, almost 40 percent of the population was between 26 and 39, though the effects of gentrification have yet to completely overrun this part of town -- yet. While the neighborhood is often listed as Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie, it's more accurately made up of many small urban villages, including Angus, Mile Ex, Molson Park, and La Petite-Patrie. And each has its own claim to fame.
Marche Jean-Talon Market is easily the neighborhood's biggest must-see attraction, and has been open since 1933 (making it one of the city's oldest markets). You can find virtually anything here: fresh fruits and vegetables, fishmongers, butchers, cheese mongers, Middle Eastern sweets, and bakeries. Like Marche Atwater in the city's St-Henri neighborhood, Marche Jean-Talon is open year-round and there are myriad market-side restaurants for a quick lunch or leisurely afternoon en famille. On summer weekends, the whole area is closed to traffic and bikes are locked up at the entrance.
Rosemont is also famously home to Little Italy, and is unsurprisingly packed with wonderful places to eat or pick up goods for dinner. Many of these restaurants are well known for fantastic pizza, and -- increasingly -- the neighborhood is a destination for craft beer and out-of-the-way bars, including some in old warehouses (like Bar Alexanderplatz). You’ll also find great little sandwich shops in the neighborhood, inhabiting old depanneurs, which are Montreal's version of 7-Elevens or corner stores. Depanneur Le Pick-Up is a favorite, with juicy grilled cheeses and banh mi sandwiches. Eat lunch on one of the picnic tables outside, or wander up to Jarry Park, which is one of the biggest in the city and is full of walking paths and greenery to keep you cool in the summer months.
Slightly east of Little Italy is Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, an up-and coming neighborhood near the Olympic Stadium. Once a purely working class enclave, you’ll now find graduate students and young artists who've landed here in search of cheaper apartments. For now, the neighborhood is a bizarre combination of big tourist attractions and totally local haunts. Along Ontario -- the main thoroughfare -- you’ll find fantastic BYOB venues, cafes, and bakeries, and if you want wine with your lunch, you need only walk a few steps to wine shops stocking local vintages and brews. Major attractions nearby include the Olympic Stadium, the Botanical Gardens, the Biodome, and the Insectarium. It's best to visit them all in one day, since you can purchase combination tickets to a few venues, and it’s a bit of a schlep to get out there.
The Biodome, in particular, is wonderful for kids and adults alike. The exhibit guides visitors through various ecosystems, allowing you to visit monkeys, crocodiles, penguins, beavers, and various kinds of birds and fish. A short walk from the Biodome are the Botanical Gardens and the Insectarium. The Insectarium is a fascinating place for even those with the most severe arachnophobia or entomophobia -- it features a particularly gorgeous exhibit of butterflies from all around the world. During the summer months, if you're brave enough, you can eat some ice cream with termites!
Where to Stay
Like many of Montreal's most local and authentic neighborhoods, you won't find brand-name hotels -- or many hotels at all -- in Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie or Hochelaga-Maisonneuve. However, it's a sprawling collection of smaller urban villages, and there are properties to be found, like Hotel Universel Montreal, which is out by the Biodome. Even so, neither district is particularly well-served by the metro, and you'll be relying on taxis and buses to get around much of it. The exception is along the southwestern fringes of Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie, where you'll find Little Italy and Marche Jean-Talon and two metro stations. Vacation rentals are popular in this area to get that true in-the-know, locals-only experience.