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Montreal: a French touch in North America

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Montreal: a French touch in North America

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Montreal: a French touch in North America

by Marcelo K. for kristraveler.com

Montreal is the second largest city within Canada. With the economic power concentrated in Toronto, the city brands itself as the cultural capital of Canada. With 70% of the total population having French as main language, the European atmosphere can be noted in the architecture and lifestyle of the city.

An article with all the attractions would be too long, so I decided to write a simpler guide for a weekend trip, bundling attractions and good food.

Despite being a big city, Montreal can be easily covered in few days as most of the tourist attractions are located between Parc Mont-Royal and the Saint Laurent River. With a good pair of tennis shoes and a subway map, you are ready to go!

Day 1

Start your day at one of the most charming areas of Montreal: the Vieux-Montréal (or Old Montreal). Take the subway to Place d’Armes station: the first stop has to be the amazing Notre Dame basilica.

Tip: If you happen to visit the basilica on Sunday, you can enter for free during mass hours (the first one starts at 11am).

After Notre Dame, take a walk around the neighborhood to get know better this great area of Montreal. Walk through Rue Saint Paul all the way through Place Jaques Cartier where many street performers entertain the tourists during summer.

Finish your “promenade” on Vieux-Montréal walking through the Promenade des Artistes bordering the Saint Laurent River.

A good and affordable lunch option in this area (full of overpriced restaurants crowded with tourists) is the Stash’s Café Bazaar, a traditional Polish restaurant with good reviews on many travel guidebooks. 819

In the afternoon, explore a different area of the city. Take the subway to Pie IX station (green line). That’s where the Olympic Park is located, as well as the Biodome and the Botanic Garden. Do not miss the Chinese and Japanese gardens.

For a nice dinner I recommend two options: the cool, young and affordable L’Académie, in which you can take your own wine, or the fancy and international recognized Toqué. This international acclaimed restaurant is a fusion of French cuisine with a touch of oriental and contemporary ingredients. I honestly think this restaurant is a bit overpriced, but I cannot deny the food is exceptional.

Day 2

On your second day, I recommend starting with a good brunch at Plateau Mont-Royal, which is a beautiful hype and trendy area of Montreal with many cafes, restaurants and stores. The restaurant Dans La Bouche is one of my favourites with great bagels and a delicious smoked salmon.

If the weather is good, go to Parc Mont-Royal, a green elevation in the middle of the city with a terrace on top from which you can have a magnificent view of the city. At the back part of the park, it is located the Oratoire Saint-Joseph which is also worth a visit.

703 Take the afternoon to walk around downtown and visit the underground city. You can hop off Place-des-Arts station and walk through Saint Catherine Street, always crowded with people due to its shopping malls and restaurants. From the traditional department store The Bay (where you can find everything from clothes to furniture) to the upscale Ogilvy, this street is the place to shop.

After a long day of walking and shopping, nothing better than a good dinner. If you want a good Japanese restaurant, try Japonais Sushi Zenya Inc (486 Rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest). But if you want to end your night at a good place to drink a good beer and have a good meal, I recommend Les 3 Brasseurs on Rue St. Denis.

If you have more time, go see these sites:

– Musée des Beaux Arts: great collection of arts from the Quebec province.

– Ile-Sainte-Hélène: beautiful park with the Biosphere and techno parties in the summer.

– Ile-Notre-Dame: with the Casino and the F1 circuit.

Have you been to Montreal? What other places would you recommend?

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About the author

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Marcelo K. works in a market intelligence consulting firm and has traveled to innumerous countries in the Americas, Eastern and Western Europe and Eurasia. In early 2009 Marcelo moved to Montreal looking for a new adventure and after traveling and working there for few months, the Canadian winter arrived and he’s now back in his native Brazil and planning the next trip to a warmer location!

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