MONTRÉAL: CULTURAL | UNDERSTATED | QUAINT
This French-speaking city is considered the cultural capital of Canada, with cobblestone streets and old-world architecture, preserved to maintain its European flair. It has a unique mix of both past and present, and blends charm with modern sophistication. Summer festivals joyfully celebrate everything from comedy and jazz to beer and fireworks. Skip the underground city unless taking refuge from the cold winter. Eat poutine, wood fired bagels and raw milk cheeses that are not available south of the Canadian border.
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BEFORE YOU GO
Montréal is a compact city and best explored on foot, though bikes, taxis, the métro (subway) and bus are also viable options. During the summer, take a water shuttle from one side of the St Lawrence River to the other. The hop-on-hop-off bus is another way to get in all the attractions. Once you've explored all that this city has to offer, take the train to Québec City.
The city boasts several fine hotels, many with world-renown reputations that cater to personal whims and fancies. Since this is a walking city, pick a hotel that is central to the attractions.
Traditional Montréal fare includes poutine, home-style fries, drenched in gravy, and topped with fresh cheese curds. The bagels found here are wood-fired which is different from the ones found in New York. Street vendors serve up shish taouk, which bears a striking similarity to shawarma, and Schwartz’s Montréal Hebrew Delicatessen sells a to-die-for smoked meat sandwich. Tourtière is a traditional meat pie topped with a delicious flaky crust. Satisfy sweet cravings, by indulging in tire sur la neige, taffy formed by pouring boiling hot maple sap directly onto fresh snow. The raw milk cheese sold here is not available in the U.S., so definitely devour some.
The city is also home to some truly fine restaurants. Here are a few favorites.
Montréal has over 300 bars, clubs, and pubs set in a variety of themes. Many of them feature expert bartenders or mixologists who will serve up some potent concoctions guaranteed to please the most discerning.
SEE & DO
A dynamic city with a rich natural, historical, artistic and architectural heritage, along with world-class events, fine museums, lush gardens and more. Explore Rideau Canal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, only 2 hours away. During the winter, head up to Mont Tremblant for some exceptional skiing.
Rideau Canal - UNESCO
Spas in Montréal offer services and amenities that have a Scandinavian flair to it. Take in the city as you soak in a rooftop hot tub or escape the hustle and bustle in secluded spas around the city, or make a day trip to Balnea for some total relaxation.
Balnea – Day Trip
Explore plazas along Ste-Catherine, including the Centre Eaton, Les Cours Mont-Royal, the Complexe Les Ailes and Place Montréal. Also of interest, are the boutiques in St-Laurent Boulevard, featuring goods from local designers, and Rue Saint Paul in Old Montréal, which is a hub for artisans and artists, such as jewelers, glass blowers and apparel designers.
The Chabanel warehouses are located in a group of old factory buildings in northern Montréal west of Blvd St-Laurent, appealing to shoppers who enjoy the thrill of a random find at bargain prices.
Montréal is also home to some of the best markets where shoppers can browse through locally sourced goods and produce.