The Best Attractions to Visit in Montreal
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Planning a visit? Make sure the top 10 things to do in Old Montreal are on your bucket list
A popular tourist destination and posh neighborhood with evidence of First Nations campsites and artifacts dating back thousands of years, Old Montreal's past as a French settlement founded in 1642 is on display in abundance through its cobbled streets, buildings grays, and historical sites, the closest. mirage to Europe, you will see this side of the lake.
1. Check Out the Churches
No visit to Montreal's historic district is complete without a tour of Notre-Dame Basilica, one of Canada's most impressive churches. Take AURA while you're there, a multimedia light show initially created by Moment Factory in honor of Montreal's 375th anniversary.
Compare the ornate grandeur of the Notre-Dame Basilica with the simplicity of Notre-Dame-Bon-Secours, the site of Montreal's oldest chapel that houses the body of a saint, Marguerite Bourgeoys. Only one other holy site in Montreal can claim the same. There is also a crypt, an archaeological excavation, and a museum associated with the chapel.
2. Visit Its Museums
Pointe-à-Callière is a history and archeology museum built in the birthplace of Montreal, which was once a small piece of land on the banks of the São Lourenço River, where a small group of settlers led by Paul de Chomedey de Maisonneuve and Jeanne Mance disembarked their ship in 1642. Pointe-à-Callière specializes not only in urban archaeological excavations and history but also presents international exhibits often related to ancient cultures such as those of Rome, Ancient Greece, Ancient China, and more.
Another history museum to visit is the Château Ramezay. Employees dress in pioneering costumes for effect, in keeping with the museum's exploration of 500 years of history through exhibits, a French colonial-style garden, and multimedia portraits of historical figures available in six languages.
And don't miss the Montreal Science Center, an extremely family-friendly museum that offers fun interactive exhibits and IMAX movies about science and nature.
Finally, visit the Center d'histoire de Montréal for a comprehensive history of the city and for a glimpse into Victorian life in the high crust, stop by the Sir-George-Étienne-Cartier National Historic Site, where it was once one of the founders of Canada lived with his family.
3. Catch a Festival
The old squares of Montreal and Porto Velho serve as regular - and remarkably picturesque - settings for a variety of Montreal festivals and annual events.
Most, if not all summer weekends, see Porto Velho come to life with activities, many of them free.
See June festivals like the Eureka Family Science Fair and the Taste of the Caribbean Food Festival. The Old Port festivals in July include Canada Day activities and Montreal's popular international fireworks competition.
In August, it's the Montreal International Reggae Festival and YUL EAT sets up food kiosks on Labor Day weekend.
And in winter, Porto Velho and neighboring Place Jacques-Cartier offer everything from Christmas markets to fireworks on New Year's Eve and the outdoor dance wonder that is Igloofest in January and February.
4. Get a Room
Wake up to the kind of views you can only see in Europe at the top-rated hotels in Old Montreal. Some on the list are scams. Others are among the most luxurious in the city.
At the more affordable end of the scale, start with some of the best brunches in town. Le Cartet, Olive and Gourmando are on the list.
Have lunch at Kyo, one of Montreal's best Japanese pubs, or go vegan at LOV and relax on the terrace of Jardin Nelson, one of the most beautiful courtyards in the city adorned with trees and live jazz.
Donut fans will not regret trying BeaverTails in Porto Velho. For elegant chocolates, sweets and desserts, visit Maison Christian Faure. Or stop at Ming Tao Xuan for tea and cheesecake. It is one of the best tea rooms in Montreal.
As for dinner, the options are out of the question.
For some of Canada's best food, try Toqué's seasonal tasting menu, made up of refined Quebec dishes with regional ingredients.
Le Bremner is a fancy coffee shop, where all the cool kids go.
Le Club Chasse et Pêche is the town's place for fishing and hunting, one of the best restaurants in Montreal, period.
Diners delight in Le Robin Square, a family-owned restaurant located on Main, especially with its delicious macaroni and cheese and pork belly dishes.
Good French restaurants are easy to find in Montreal, but for a top-notch experience with amazing Quebec ingredients and desserts, book a table at Les 400 Coups.
On a cold winter night, Auberge Saint-Gabriel and its lush and cozy century-old interior is a dream paired with authentic Swiss fondue and its seasonal menu, which includes a handful of Thai delicacies, courtesy of Deputy Chief Nongyao Truadmakkha, whom he raised He learned culinary arts at his mother's small restaurant in Buriram, a small town northeast of Bangkok. Go to the terraces in summer.
Baroque makes killer cocktails, the best paella in town, and has the kind of upbeat atmosphere that attracts beautiful people. It is no coincidence that it is one of the most romantic restaurants in Montreal. Also try Bocata, a wine and tapas bar next to the Baroque. It is owned by the same people.
For live jazz and rack of lamb, head straight to Modavie.
And there are at least a dozen more must-see foods in Old Montreal that deserve a mention. It's surprising how many high-end restaurants are crammed into a small neighborhood.
6. Enjoy Free Art
Start on the east side of the neighborhood at the Place Jacques-Cartier public square, where street performers and artists come together to display their talents and products. Sketches, live caricatures and paintings for sale enliven the area in the warmer months.
Continue on rue Saint-Paul, a cobbled street that connects to the square to the west. It would be hard not to find many art galleries lined up on the street, like Galerie Got, which represented acclaimed international photographers like Harry Benson and Steve McCurry. You can also head east towards Marché Bonsecours to explore some galleries in and around the historic building ahead of time.
Heading west on Saint-Paul, you will eventually reach rue Saint-Pierre. Turn right to go to the PHI Center, a multidisciplinary art venue that almost always features some kind of free art exhibition or digital art experience, usually a virtual reality movie. PHI also offers concerts, lectures, celebrity lectures, theater performances, and repertory film screenings, easily one of Montreal's most creative and forward-thinking spaces.
And just a few minutes' walk away is the DHC / ART Fondation pour l'art contemporain, a non-profit organization that hosts a regular list of contemporary art exhibitions.
Although you never, and I mean never find malls in Old Montreal, boutiques are another story.
Marché Bonsecours is home to several shopping destinations showcasing everything from Inuit art to local leather designs, shipboard goods and jewelry.
Haute couture is brilliantly represented in the historic city center of Montreal. Outside of Paris, Montreal designer Rad Hourani's unisex designs, and the occasional art exhibition, can be found on rue Saint-Paul. The first Canadian designer to present a collection at Couture Week in Paris, Hourani's invitation in 2013 was groundbreaking. It was also the first time that the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture in Paris invited a designer to present a genderless and unisex collection on his exclusive catwalk.
For a well-selected selection of luxury menswear brands, such as Neil Barrett, Yohji Yamamoto and Montreal's Want Les Essentiels, visit Michel Brisson on rue Saint-Paul.
And the most eclectic store in all of Old Montreal, Espace Pépin, also on rue Saint-Paul, sells everything from men's and women's designer clothing, footwear, accessories, bags, tea, home fragrances, items for home, kitchen accessories and art.
7. Experience Exclusive Nightlife
Many of them, including A-list celebrities, go to The Coldroom for its amazing cocktails and forbidden house rules. First time? Try not to go through it. There is no sign and the address is secret, but the street it is on, Saint-Vincent, is very short. Once you know which door is there, press the bell and someone will let you in. It's a small place, so don't be too late or you won't have one of its 60 seats.
La Voûte is the most popular club in the historic district right now. In French for '' The Vault '', the club is literally in one, as it is located in a former bank.
Filemón is a great option for wine, drinks, and people watching, if you can get a spot near the window. Food (kids, cold cuts) is sold early in the evening.
Velvet is hot, especially when the Canadian Grand Prix takes place in town. An underground disco, literally underground, which is part of the Auberge Saint-Gabriel, a building with roots dating back to the seventeenth century, patrons walk through a mysterious centuries-old cave corridor to reach the dance floor and two bars that occupy space.
Flyjin follows the food club formula of serving Japanese fusion and izakaya food in the evening, adding music at midnight.
Do you like sparkling wine? Meet a bottle at La Champagnerie. Good place for over 30s. A tasty food menu is available with appetizers and entrees such as filet mignon poutine, fish tacos, and snapper.
Three of the 12 most interesting spas in Montreal are located in Old Montreal, notably Bota Bota, which is basically a floating Nordic water circuit. It's a ship docked in the Old Port near the corner of McGill Street, one of those things you have to try at least once in your life. And the view is spectacular.
But spas are not for everyone.
Some people prefer relaxation than performing arts. See the latest play at the Centaur Theater, Montreal's premier English theater. It is about two blocks from the Notre-Dame Basilica.
10. Play at the Old Port
Perhaps the most popular activities in the Old Port of Montreal are skating in the winter and simply strolling in the summer. The boardwalk is beautiful. Crowds of tourists and locals are content to walk along the water's edge. Some rent segways to zoom. Others make their way by bicycle.
Adventurers prefer to zip-line or enjoy a controlled and informal vertical descent upside down. Whatever works.
Family fun includes access to life-size replicas of "a royal ship and an 18th-century pirate over 30 meters in length," with aerial obstacle courses, climbing activities, and an inflatable park open from April to October. And from May to October it presents the SOS Labyrinthe, a two-kilometer maze in a nearby hangar.
Water activities include dinner cruises, as well as jet and speedboat in St-Lawrence. I would add Praia do Torre do Relógio to the list, but swimming is not allowed at this time.
A new 60-meter-high Ferris wheel offering a panoramic view of the city debuted in Porto Antigo in July 2017.
And there is food. Food trucks, food stalls, restaurant terraces are all over Porto Velho, and a farmers market opens its shops on Thursdays, from 15 to 19 hours. and Saturdays from 9 am to 2 pm Please note that the hours are subject to change without prior notice.
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