24 hours in Montreal

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Odd, given its minus 13°C average winter temperatures, but Montrealers are especially fond of their all-weather, buzzing street culture.


The city always finds time for a good old-fashioned street party, and summers are especially bursting with outdoor activity: from rue Crescent’s nightly events during the Formula 1 Grand Prix race in June, to globally renowned annual fireworks, jazz, and stand-up comedy festivals (Just for Laughs is a whistlestop for A-listers including Jerry Seinfeld, and comes with – quelle surprise! – street circus performers and outdoor dancing). Those not in a party mood can quietly explore Vieux-Montréal, part of the once-fortified early city founded in 1642 as Ville-Marie, which today houses trinket shops, galleries, boutique hotels, and terrasses. Or the trend-setting Le Plateau neighbourhood, Montreal’s answer to Greenwich Village. Or several popular covered farmers’ markets selling award-winning Québécois cheeses and traditional duck foie gras. A hike up to the observation areas of Mont-Royal, the city’s namesake mountain dominating the skyline, is another sightseeing must.


06.30
Montreal’s Dominique Savard
shuttles youto Lac (lake) St. Louis, minutes from downtown Montréal, for an excursion casting on the lake for freshwater large- and small-mouth bass, walleye, and pike. License, tackle, lessons, and lunch included.


08.00
Not fond of fishing? Start with breakfast
at Universel Déjeuner et Grillades on rue St. Denis (it’s served all day), then browse Québécois fashions along the offbeat Le Plateau neighbourhood’s main shopping drag.


11.00
A short taxi-ride brings you to Old Montréal’s rue St. Paul,
to shop and sightsee along the oldest cobblestone street, dating from 1672. Try Marché Bonsecours for the Québec Crafts Council’s retail stalls, the café Olive & Gourmando, and Espace Pepin.


12.00
Two minutes to rue McGill, there’s Le Cartet Resto Boutique,
selling funky souvenirs and serving tartare de saumon – raw fresh salmon, diced and seasoned. Then freshen up afterwards at your suite at the Hôtel Le St. James or the edgier Hôtel Nelligan.


13.30
Keep meandering to place Jacques-Cartier, adjacent to the old port,
which was once a public market square. In summer and autumn, it’s full of buskers and caricaturists, and tourists on the terrasses taking it all in with ice cream or café au lait.


15.30
At the quais du Vieux-Port de Montréal,
recuperate from shopping aboard a new floating spa: Bota Bota is an old barge that has been refurbished with a sauna, steam bath, and hammocks affording relaxing views of the St. Lawrence River.


17.00
Head to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts,
on rue Sherbrooke, which stays open until 9pm, Wednesday to Friday. A new Claire and Marc Bourgie Pavilion showcasing Quebec and Canadian art debuts in September.


20.30
Montrealers are leisurely and late diners,
so it’s perfect timing for sushi at Kaizen, on rue Ste. Catherine, or hip hangout Le Hangar, on rue Wellington. After dinner, Globe and Buona Notte restaurants convert into trendy dance bars.


21.30
At night, in any weather, Montreal comes alive.
But you’ll find a quieter nightcap at Whisky Café, on boul. St. Laurent, sampling the world’s very best Scotch. Another grown-up pick, Baldwin Barmacie, is an old pharmacy converted into a bar.


23.30
Midway up the mountain is Montreal’s most popular lookout,
ask any taxi driver to take you there. 24-hour dining is aplenty; try La Banquise, on rue Rachel, for its 25 varieties of Quebec’s melted cheese, gravy, and French-fry snack called poutine.



Montreal, Canada
Distance: 10,414 km
Flight Time: 13 hours, 40 mins
Frequency: 3 flights a week

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