It feels so good to write about Quebec and its melodious accent! To put it in a nutshell, Montreal is the alloy of captivating modernity in an antique landscape. A city in which openness and creativity coexist. We've put together a small top 5 of the main reasons why you should visit the city.
Winter sports paradise
As you probably know, winter in Montreal is long and cold. I mean really cold. But this is the perfect opportunity to go support the local team Montreal Canadiens. Let's be honest , it is not in France that you can admire such a level. Snow level is not the same either, so you will rediscover the joys of skiing with your family or with your friends on tracks of a rare purity .
You don’t like skiing? No worries, skating along St. Lawrence river is also part of local customs. Finally, ski slopes abound around the city for hard-core skiers (about 20km from Montreal).
Major summer events
If you are no big fan of snow, you should rather come in summer (“you don’t say…”). The city of Montreal is just as lively at that period of the year, being the host of many large-scale events. Besides, they are string together throughout the season and are as rich as varied!
And it starts at full speed with the Grand Prix of Montreal, this year it will be from June 5th to 8th, and as every year, people will come from all around the world to get the most out of these high-intensity 72 hours.
You can carry on musically thanks to the Francofolies that host the best of the French scene. For this 27th edition, let yourself be tempted by Fauve, one of the best revelations of the last couple of years. Still in a musical world, Osheaga festival will host the excellent Florence & the machine. And prestigious Montreal Jazz Festival will take place from June 26th to July 5th. Ticket prices range from $30 to $50 but can reach up to $160. This year the festival is headlined by Steve Miller band.
Rather looking for fun? Just like every year, the « Juste pour rire » festival orchestrated by the TV celebrity Gilbert Rozon will take place. Kev Adams is also part of the line-up alongside Quebec great names of humor. My point being: in Montreal, there’s no time to be bored.
Yes, people from Montreal are passionate cooks. They are thrilled about the idea of a family meal and are eager to taste a great vintage. Indeed, there is a growing enthusiasm regarding food production and local head chefs know how to fulfil the culinary desires of their many visitors. Montreal is full of restaurants with drastically different specialties, from arctic char to the famous poutine (a dish made with fries, cheddar and gravy, no less!). Just like poutine, in Montreal you could find everything, the city is a festival of flavours: be they French restaurants, Italian or Indian, they are all as friendly and welcoming. Some of them even allow you to bring your own wine!
A poutine in Montreal. Credits: Andy L
Finally, brunch too, is part of the tradition. You can opt for an English Breakfast if you're not afraid of calories, or ease your conscience taking a “healthy brunch” at the heart of Old Montreal. A change of scenery! As you may have noticed, there's something for everyone, but a common universal rule stands: friendliness is required.
Underground City shopping
Now, let's talk about shopping or “magazinage” as they say… The city has built a real underground shopping network because of the very pronounced climate change. It has now become the paradise of its inhabitants in winter. They live as much on the surface as underground! And this experience alone is worth the trip! Just out of the subway, you can stay warm and go shopping in the 29km long underground galleries. Actually, inside these tunnels, you can find shopping centers , restaurants and even cinemas!
Small tip: take a metro ticket valid for the whole day , it will quickly be worth it!
The architecture : a dialogue between History and contemporary
Montreal is a zest of old Europe in an ocean of modernity. You can lose yourself in the streets of Old Montreal and their 18th century facades before riding your bike and finding the greenery on the quay of Lachine Canal. Then, why not relax on the cozy downtown terraces ?
The architectural extent of the city draws its richness in its representation of the History. With its cobbled streets, stone houses and steeples slender on the cliffs near the St. Lawrence river. But also its heritage churches such as the magnificent Notre-Dame Basilica. To top it all, you will find the power of modernity through iconic buildings of the 20th century as the spectacular Olympic Stadium or the eye-catching Habitat 67.
Old Montreal. Credits: Alexandre Breveglieri