‘Hello, Bonjour’ is how Montrealers will greet you and it’ll set the tone of your stay in the French capital.
Filled with historic sandstone edifices, Montreal oozes European sophistication yet you won’t fall short of a North American experience. Friendly Canadian vibes are still to be soaked up, just with an added je ne sais quoi.
It goes without saying the birthplace of modern Montreal is worth a visit, but don’t expect it to be a short pit stop – that’ll depend on your fitness levels. Surrounded by stunning parklands, there are 400 steps to the peak where you can enjoy a much deserved rest stop and take in the vista of the whole city.
Housed in and surrounding one of the most iconic Art Deco buildings in the city is Atwater Market. Situated along the Lachine Canal, it bursts with colour and is filled with tantalising aromas.
From flower stalls and fromageries to satay stands and banh mi vendors, it’s your traditional French market with a multicultural twist.
This Gothic Revival masterpiece in the heart of Old Montreal attracts approximately 431,000 visitors each year and it’s not hard to see why. Dating back to 1657, it’s incredible craftsmanship is visible in every crevice of the basilica, from its lapis blue and shimmering gold ceiling, and its trio of octagonal skylights to its 1648-pipe organ.
4. NORA GRAY
A regular on Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants list, Nora Gray isn’t just located miles away from the business restaurant contemporaries, it also feels it.
Flanked by Brooklyn-style terraces and featuring a dark wood dining room, leather banquettes and a long wooden bar, this unassuming destination in the suburbs is where the city’s Italianophiles come for their signature nduja in the linguine alle vongole.
Break away from the downtown core and an exotic surprise awaits. Around the corner from the the historic Olympic Village lies 75 hectares of breathtaking greenery, 22 themed gardens – including Japanese and French varieties — and within its grounds a constant flow of exhibitions.
An ode to its part-owner’s Portuguese heritage, the Bar Henrietta takes the appearance of a 1960s tavern but surprises with a handful of kitsch accents that provide a point of intrigue. Work your way down the cocktail list – the gin-based Dolorés is our favourite – and devour everything you can manage, but don’t miss the popcorn with Manchego cheese and the custard tarts.