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MAGNIFIQUE MONTREAL

 

 

 

VISIT THE FRENCH CANADIAN CITY WITH A TOUCH OF OOH LA LA…

 

 

 

Posted: Tuesday 22 Jan 2008

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Above: Hotel St James

 

 

Located on an island in the St Lawrence River, Montréal, in the French-speaking province of Québec, offers an intriguing mix of North American culture and European heritage – you’ll find Parisian Metro signs and a statue of Queen Victoria in the main square.

 

Canada’s second city is compact, clean and efficient and has a dynamic entertainment scene.

 

The shopping isn’t bad either – you can stroll from the designer boutiques on elegant tree-lined streets to the specialist shops of Little Italy or China or the antique stores strung along the cobbled streets of Old Montréal.

 

WHEN SHOULD I GO?

 

It’s punishingly cold in winter, but you won’t get cold if you head below ground to Underground City – the vast entertainment and shopping mall.

 

Also, the freezing temperatures mean you can head to a nearby ski resort, such as Mont Tremblant, for a short break. Summers are warm but you can cool off with a cruise down the river or a jet boat ride through the Lachine rapids.

 

The international jazz festival (www.montrealjazzfest.com) is held June 26-July 6, while the Just For Laughs comedy festival (www.justfourlaughs.ca), where Jimmy Carr and Billy Connolly have performed, takes place July 10-20.

 

 

 

 

ABOVE: Montreal at night

WHERE SHOULD I STAY?

 

If you’re a boutique hotel fan, look no further than 61-room Hotel Le St James (www.hotellestjames.com), housed in a former bank in Old Montréal.

 

It blends traditional upper crust decor in its public rooms with modern furnishings and technology in its bedrooms. Madonna, U2, the Rolling Stones and Sir Elton John have all stayed and we hear that Paris Hilton checked in the night after OK!.

 

The hotel also has private access to the Underground City, which stretches for nearly 19 miles and connects with Metro stations.

 

WHERE SHOULD I EAT?

 

OK! loved the ’50s-style drive-in experience at the Orange Julep (7700 Decarie Blvd). For a relaxed lunch, try Olive et Gourmando (351 St-Paul West) or go one notch up and book a table at the French eatery L’Epicier (311 St-Paul East) in Old Montréal.

 

For people watching, head to a city institution, the chic Café Cherrier (3635 St-Denis), which has a fantastic outdoor terrace.

 

In the evening, try local favourite Les Deux Pierrots (104 St-Paul East), an intimate French-style cabaret, or for fine dining Bonaparte (447 St-Francois-Xavier).

 

And make sure you try the Québecois speciality poutine – chips with melted cheese curds and gravy. It tastes a lot better than it looks!

 

WHAT MUST I SEE?

 

There are two highlights you shouldn’t miss. For panoramic city views take the bus (number 11 from Mont-Royal Metro station) to the summit lookout.

 

Depending on the time of year, you can walk, snow-shoe in the park or hire a pedalo on Beaver Lake. Next up, Old Montréal.

 

Tour it in a horse-drawn carriage or wander on foot taking in the Pointe-à-Callière museum, which presents Montréal’s history in a fascinating interactive way.

 

Or you can pop into the ornate Notre-Dame Basilica, where Céline Dion was married, or pick up some souvenirs at the Bonsecours market.

 

WHERE SHOULD I STOP?

 

Montréal is a cornucopia of shopping opportunities, with 1,200 boutiques in a nine-block area. The best can be found along Rue St-Denis, Laurier Avenue or in Old Montréal for arty finds.

 

In the downtown core you’ll find department stores Ogilvy (1307 Ste-Catherine) and Holt Renfrew (1300 Sherbrooke West), which house international designers and smaller celeb-coveted labels. Given the exchange rate, there are some fantastic bargains to be had.

 

For shops on St-Denis, head to Moly Klute – not for the shy, retiring type! The funky, recycled clothes and accessories, such as a tote bag made from records, will certainly be talking points.

 

Almost next door is Muse, where designer Christian Chenail offers some fab casual dresses. Dubuc is one label that’s causing ripples internationally.

 

His clothes focus on tailored menswear with slight quirks, like the suit jacket with a vest stitched on top. Foodies will salivate in Arthur Quentin, which has every kitchen gadget imaginable.

 

Finally, Revenge has been at the forefront of Canadian design and brings 25 smaller eclectic labels under one roof.

 

WHICH STARS MIGHT I SEE?

 

Montréal is a hot favourite with filmmakers. Last year alone you could have bumped into Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett filming The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button, Jason Statham shooting Death Race, or Evangeline Lilly in Afterwards.

 

Meanwhile, Kate Beckinsale was in they city to film Whiteout and Anne Hathaway for Get Smart.

 

WHAT'S THE NIGHTLIFE?

 

There’s plenty to do at night. The best bars and clubs are located on Crescent Street and Blvd St-Laurent above Sherbrooke Street, the latter being more upmarket.

 

It takes 25 minutes to walk between the two streets or it’s a five-minute cab ride. For the best views, head to the sleek lounge bar Club 737 (1 Place Ville-Marie) atop one of Montréal’s tallest skyscrapers, or to Pullmans Wine Bar (3424 Avenue du Parc), a chic-minimalist joint with a lengthy wine list.

 

HOW DO I GET THERE?

 

British Airways (0870 850 9850; www.ba.com/montreal) is currently offering a three-night Montréal Sweet Escape package from £479 per person including flights from London Heathrow and accommodation in a four-star hotel.

 

http://ok.co.uk/travel/view/314/Magnifique-Montreal/

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  • Administrator

hehehe en passant Yara, je t'ai vu hier dans le tunnel du métro de square victoria, avec une bandes de jeunes :)

 

Le momentum n'était pas trop bon pour te saluer, t'avais la tête tourné :)

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Pas de grandes surprises. Ça ne sort as tellement des sentiers battus. Je rêve d'un article sur Montréal ou le Québec qui ne fera pas référence à la poutine ou au mariage de Céline Dion à la basilique Notre-Dame. D'ailleurs, je pense que je vais réagir...

 

T'as ben raison, mais je me dis que c'est de la bonne publicitée pour Montréal, et on ne peut jamais en avoir trop!

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