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http://www.gq.com/story/romantic-vacation-advice-montreal

The Most Romantic French Vacation Doesn’t Require a Transatlantic Flight

 

Photo of Gabriella Gershenson

 
PHOTOGRAPHS BY 
July 13, 2017
 
 
 
 

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Skip the expensive flight and head to Montreal, which is the perfect place to spend a long weekend with your beloved—particularly in the summertime.

If you’re thinking “romantic vacation,” maybe you’re thinking “Paris.” And you’re not wrong! But there’s another Francophone city you should consider that may be a little closer (and a little more affordable), and thereby make your life a little easier.

With its pretty rowhouses, green alleyways, and truly incredible food, Montreal is a particularly romantic destination in the summer, when winter coats are in storage and the terrasses are teeming with flaneurs. (Also, they speak French!) Plan a chill, staycation-style getaway to take it all in, and you’ll win major points. It’s easy to get here—a one-hour flight from New York and five hours from L.A.

 

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To do as the locals do, rent an Airbnb in a laid-back neighborhood like the Plateau, Outremont, Mile End, Villeray, or Little Italy (a.k.a. Petite Italie). If you prefer the formality of a hotel, try Casa Bianca, a chic bed-and-breakfast in a French Renaissance revival mansion that faces Mount Royal Park. Or if you feel the need to impress with a newer, fancier spot, check into Le Mount Stephen Hotel, located in a landmarked 19th-century neo-Renaissance building that was once an exclusive social club and is now a posh hotel. It’s downtown (read: outside the hipster zone), but you can always bike or Uber to the cooler parts of town.

 

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Since Montreal is a city of great cafés, you’re going to need to start your day in one. Le Butterblume, a sun-soaked, ’gram-worthy space between Mile End and Little Italy, makes a mean fancy toast (think rhubarb butter, strawberries, mint, and flaky salt). If you’re one of those I-don’t-eat-breakfast people, try Cafe Myriade, which serves espresso drinks made from Vancouver’s 49th Parallel Roasters and prides itself on making third-wave-quality coffee without the third-wave ’tude.

 

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For your next adventure, hop on some Bixi bikes. Montreal’s urban bike-share system is easy to use, even for English-speaking tourists, and the streets have a robust system of bike paths. When you’re riding in and around the relentlessly pretty Plateau, the roads are mercifully flat (hence the name), i.e., no unsexy sweating or panting for you. Research the route and impress your date with sweet spots she’ll think you discovered. Take her along the Ruelle Vertes, a network of 250 blocks of beautified back alleys that are a quirky expression of the city, and usually decorated with plants, murals, and gardens. (This app is a cheat sheet to them all—en français, but with plenty of helpful maps and photos that are useful to anyone.)

 

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Once you’ve cruised under the umpteenth picturesque clothesline, it may be time for a pique-nique. If your ride takes you by Marché Jean Talon in Little Italy, stop and shop for provisions. The sprawling market is open year-round but is at its most bountiful in the summer, when farmers from the Quebec countryside hawk corn, berries, tomatoes, and everything else that makes the season great. If you don’t make it to the market, another choice spot to stock up is at Le Fromentier, a revered artisan bread baker on Rue Laurier Est, where you can get sandwiches made to order with their fresh-baked bread.

 

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Montreal is peppered with beautiful parks large and small, but not all of them have outdoor swimming pools. If you’re in the mood, pack a swimsuit, park your Bixi on the periphery of Sir Wilfrid Laurier Park, then spread out your bounty on a picnic table or in the grass and dig in. Post-lunch, take a quick dip—the words “public pool” may not inspire confidence, but it’s Canada, so it’s clean, egalitarian, and inexpensive.

 

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Once you’ve paddled around enough to work up an appetite, dry off and stroll east on Laurier to Patisserie Rhubarbe. It’s safe to say that Montreal has the best pastry culture in North America, and Rhubarbe, which recently moved to this new, larger location, is a prime example. This time of year, you’d do best to order a pastry made with seasonal fruit, like the rhubarbe éclair or the wild blueberry shortcake. If you’re looking for something more substantial, there’s a prix fixe brunch menu on the weekends and tea service from 2 to 5 P.M. on Fridays.

Since it’s summer, you’ll need some ice cream, and if you’re lucky, the line won’t be too long at Kem Coba, a cult vendor of glace on Avenue Fairmount in the heart of Mile End. Go for the salted butter—their signature, and legitimately unforgettable—then take your cone for a stroll through the neighborhood. There are plenty of shops to browse in, like L'Atelier Épure, an artist-owned jewelry store where you can score original pieces of arm (or ear, or neck, or finger) candy for your lady in the $100-or-less zone. Nearby, Lowell, an outfitter for men and women on Boulevard St. Laurent, has a great selection of house-label bags and housewares you’ll want to take home with you, like copper cocktail shakers and fancy stoneware bowls.

 

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As evening approaches, stop by the wine bar Buvette Chez Simone. The warmly-lit, bustling room is an ideal spot to plant yourself pre-dinner—grab a glass of natural wine and some charcuterie. You’ll be tempted to stay for dinner, which is a fine choice, but if you prefer to splurge a little, check out Montréal Plaza, one of the city’s most talked-about restaurants. The sprawling, sophisticated spot has a fun, quirky menu, with dishes like baloney cannelloni and fried Brussels sprouts with mayonnaise and Parmesan cheese.

 

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Since Montreal is a city that parties into the wee hours, there’s always another place to hit. For a post-dinner drink, head to Bar Kabinet, an intimate, vaguely Russian-themed cocktail bar that has boudoir lighting and is more artsy than it is Russki. Order a Moscow Mule, served in the proper copper mug. If you’re in the mood for live music, check out La Sala Rossa and Casa del Popolo, sister venues on Boulevard St. Laurent where you can stumble upon a good show with low cover most nights of the week, and dance until you can’t dance anymore.

 

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At last a really good guide for the 25-to-35 crowd. These are all things and places my friends and I enjoy immensely, and pretty well sums up what I recommend to friends visiting from abroad. Well done GQ.

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  • 1 year later...

 

Canada’s Coolest City Feels Like a Little Slice of Europe

 Cameron Quincy Todd  |

 

Montreal has all the hallmarks of a great European city, and so much more.

Montreal is easy to access from the rest of North America by train, plane, bus, or car, but its chic European vibes make it feel refreshingly far from home. French-colonial roots give it charm (the language, markets, cafes, and boutiques), while other factors—the city’s unique mix of personalities and demographics, its beautiful parks, the St. Lawrence River, and the surrounding Quebec countryside—make it a one-of-a-kind destination you’ll want to visit again and again.

 

Chic Neighborhood Strolls 

If a standard of a good city is its walkability (which it should be), Montrealrates high. Downtown easily connects to the city’s trendy and more residential neighborhoods through a few central boulevards, public parks, bike paths, and a pretty user-friendly metro system. Exploring the area around Mont Royal—the city’s largest park, monument, and a great walk in itself—you’ll find Mile End and The Plateau, multicultural neighborhoods brimming with charm in the form of trendy boutiques, international food markets, and small bars and restaurants.

The Best Public Parties 

Montreal is full of free or affordable ways to enjoy the city streets and public places, like the International Jazz Festival, drawing throngs of visitors to its free acclaimed concerts at the end of each June. On Sundays during the summer, dance along with the tam-tam drummers in Parc du Mont Royal, and at Piknic Electronik in Parc Jean-Drapeau. In warmer months, city streets are filled with sidewalk sales, local vendors, and celebrations, like on the colorful, pedestrian-only blocks of Rue St. Catherine in the Gay Village.

Really Charming Side Trips 

Exploring the beautiful Quebec countryside around Montreal, you’ll find adorable little inns, wineries, and cabanes–à-sucre—the traditional sites of maple sugar production. It’s just a couple of hours up the St. Lawrence River to charming and historic Quebec City, home to cobblestone streets, small bistros, and the castle-like Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac Hotel—a destination worthy of a whole trip on its own.

Historical Wonder 

First Nations like the St. Lawrence Iroquoians, early French missionaries, fur trade opportunists, British colonists, and large waves of immigrants are all part of Montreal’s rich historical identity. A good place to dig into Montreal history is at the Pointe-à-Calliere museum—where visitors trace the city’s archaeological and historical origins, and view the ruins of Montreal’s earliest settlements, including cobblestoned Old Montreal and the McCord Social History Museum.

Oysters, Stinky Cheese, and the Market of Your Foodie Dreams 

Dairy tastes better in Montreal than it does in the States: everything from yogurt to cream cheese is made with that divine real stuff, and in the stinky cheese category, you’ll find a dizzying array of unprocessed, unpasteurized goodness. Cheese and more can be found in the Jean Talon Market, a European-style haven of fresh produce and specialty goods. The oyster shopat Jean Talon is a pure, unadulterated form of mollusk joy: pull up a stool and wait while the world’s finest oysters (local and beyond) are shucked right in front of you.

Boutique Shopping and Vintage Finds 

Montreal shopping highlights include: this incredible discount jeans store, one of the world’s cutest bookshops, literally everything you didn’t know you needed along Rue St. Hubert, and seriously good vintage scores, ranging from costume pieces and antiques to clothes from your cool-cousin-in-art-school’s closet. Many of the best vintage stores and hip boutiques are along the blocks of St. Urbain and St. Laurent that stretch from the Mile End to Plateau neighborhoods.

Haute French Cuisine and a Million (Cheaper) Worldly Eats 

Montreal is littered with adorable little French bistros and old school Paris brasseries, serving menus of traditional staples like steak tartare, duck confit, and escargot. Foodie destinations like Joe Beef and Au Pied du Cochon take cues from Quebec culture and go for a more rustic, populist vibe, inventing dishes of smoked game, foie gras, and terrines that are indulgent and, well, meaty. Beyond the white tablecloths and long reservations, there are traditional Quebecois diners and delicious greasy spoons, vegetarian havens, Korean bibimbap, Italian pastries, Vietnamese banh mi, Indian thali, Greek souvlaki, and so many other casual delights to be discovered while wandering hungry.

Sidewalk Cafes, Inside and Out 

When warm weather hits, cafes cram as many tables as they can onto small areas along Montreal sidewalks, where people-watching (over a café allongé or St. Ambroise Pale Ale) is at its peak. During a soccer game or almost any other sporting event, coffee shops like Cafe Olimpico are indistinguishable from ones in Europe, filled with hipsters, Francophones, Euro transplants, and regulars sipping espresso—all shouting along to television results.

Montreal’s Mixed Identity 

Being the biggest, most populated city in the Quebec province, Montreal is also the most anglo-phied and internationalized (much of rural Quebec speaks only French). Many Montrealians speak two languages (if not three or five), but you’ll notice some other clear divides between Anglo and Franco worlds. A historic spirit of rebellion and independence runs deep throughout the province and its city, and you’ll often see fliers and signs announcing protests, strikes, and fundraisers around issues both global and local.

Some traditions—like waiting in line outside the steamy windows of St. Viateur or Fairmount Bagels, ordering a smoked meat sandwich at Schwartz’s Delicatessen, or trekking up Mont Royal—belong not to Canada, France, or Quebec, but to Montreal.

Wild and Weird Nightlife 

No two nights out in Montreal have to be the same (or ever have to end): you can dance all night at clubs with pools, with chilly Russian themes, or inside an old bank, or curl up at a cozy brasserie or wine bar. There’s a variety of art and entertainment any night of the week, including avant-garde acts, Franco theater, burlesque shows, and cutting edge local music mixing French and English. Luckily, there is also plenty of late-night poutine to sustain you.

https://www.fodors.com/world/north-america/canada/quebec/montreal/experiences/news/canadas-coolest-city-feels-like-a-little-slice-of-europe

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Il y a 10 heures, jerry a dit :

 

Canada’s Coolest City Feels Like a Little Slice of Europe

 Cameron Quincy Todd  |

 

Montreal has all the hallmarks of a great European city, and so much more.

Montreal is easy to access from the rest of North America by train, plane, bus, or car, but its chic European vibes make it feel refreshingly far from home. French-colonial roots give it charm (the language, markets, cafes, and boutiques), while other factors—the city’s unique mix of personalities and demographics, its beautiful parks, the St. Lawrence River, and the surrounding Quebec countryside—make it a one-of-a-kind destination you’ll want to visit again and again.

 

Chic Neighborhood Strolls 

If a standard of a good city is its walkability (which it should be), Montrealrates high. Downtown easily connects to the city’s trendy and more residential neighborhoods through a few central boulevards, public parks, bike paths, and a pretty user-friendly metro system. Exploring the area around Mont Royal—the city’s largest park, monument, and a great walk in itself—you’ll find Mile End and The Plateau, multicultural neighborhoods brimming with charm in the form of trendy boutiques, international food markets, and small bars and restaurants.

The Best Public Parties 

Montreal is full of free or affordable ways to enjoy the city streets and public places, like the International Jazz Festival, drawing throngs of visitors to its free acclaimed concerts at the end of each June. On Sundays during the summer, dance along with the tam-tam drummers in Parc du Mont Royal, and at Piknic Electronik in Parc Jean-Drapeau. In warmer months, city streets are filled with sidewalk sales, local vendors, and celebrations, like on the colorful, pedestrian-only blocks of Rue St. Catherine in the Gay Village.

Really Charming Side Trips 

Exploring the beautiful Quebec countryside around Montreal, you’ll find adorable little inns, wineries, and cabanes–à-sucre—the traditional sites of maple sugar production. It’s just a couple of hours up the St. Lawrence River to charming and historic Quebec City, home to cobblestone streets, small bistros, and the castle-like Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac Hotel—a destination worthy of a whole trip on its own.

Historical Wonder 

First Nations like the St. Lawrence Iroquoians, early French missionaries, fur trade opportunists, British colonists, and large waves of immigrants are all part of Montreal’s rich historical identity. A good place to dig into Montreal history is at the Pointe-à-Calliere museum—where visitors trace the city’s archaeological and historical origins, and view the ruins of Montreal’s earliest settlements, including cobblestoned Old Montreal and the McCord Social History Museum.

Oysters, Stinky Cheese, and the Market of Your Foodie Dreams 

Dairy tastes better in Montreal than it does in the States: everything from yogurt to cream cheese is made with that divine real stuff, and in the stinky cheese category, you’ll find a dizzying array of unprocessed, unpasteurized goodness. Cheese and more can be found in the Jean Talon Market, a European-style haven of fresh produce and specialty goods. The oyster shopat Jean Talon is a pure, unadulterated form of mollusk joy: pull up a stool and wait while the world’s finest oysters (local and beyond) are shucked right in front of you.

Boutique Shopping and Vintage Finds 

Montreal shopping highlights include: this incredible discount jeans store, one of the world’s cutest bookshops, literally everything you didn’t know you needed along Rue St. Hubert, and seriously good vintage scores, ranging from costume pieces and antiques to clothes from your cool-cousin-in-art-school’s closet. Many of the best vintage stores and hip boutiques are along the blocks of St. Urbain and St. Laurent that stretch from the Mile End to Plateau neighborhoods.

Haute French Cuisine and a Million (Cheaper) Worldly Eats 

Montreal is littered with adorable little French bistros and old school Paris brasseries, serving menus of traditional staples like steak tartare, duck confit, and escargot. Foodie destinations like Joe Beef and Au Pied du Cochon take cues from Quebec culture and go for a more rustic, populist vibe, inventing dishes of smoked game, foie gras, and terrines that are indulgent and, well, meaty. Beyond the white tablecloths and long reservations, there are traditional Quebecois diners and delicious greasy spoons, vegetarian havens, Korean bibimbap, Italian pastries, Vietnamese banh mi, Indian thali, Greek souvlaki, and so many other casual delights to be discovered while wandering hungry.

Sidewalk Cafes, Inside and Out 

When warm weather hits, cafes cram as many tables as they can onto small areas along Montreal sidewalks, where people-watching (over a café allongé or St. Ambroise Pale Ale) is at its peak. During a soccer game or almost any other sporting event, coffee shops like Cafe Olimpico are indistinguishable from ones in Europe, filled with hipsters, Francophones, Euro transplants, and regulars sipping espresso—all shouting along to television results.

Montreal’s Mixed Identity 

Being the biggest, most populated city in the Quebec province, Montreal is also the most anglo-phied and internationalized (much of rural Quebec speaks only French). Many Montrealians speak two languages (if not three or five), but you’ll notice some other clear divides between Anglo and Franco worlds. A historic spirit of rebellion and independence runs deep throughout the province and its city, and you’ll often see fliers and signs announcing protests, strikes, and fundraisers around issues both global and local.

Some traditions—like waiting in line outside the steamy windows of St. Viateur or Fairmount Bagels, ordering a smoked meat sandwich at Schwartz’s Delicatessen, or trekking up Mont Royal—belong not to Canada, France, or Quebec, but to Montreal.

Wild and Weird Nightlife 

No two nights out in Montreal have to be the same (or ever have to end): you can dance all night at clubs with pools, with chilly Russian themes, or inside an old bank, or curl up at a cozy brasserie or wine bar. There’s a variety of art and entertainment any night of the week, including avant-garde acts, Franco theater, burlesque shows, and cutting edge local music mixing French and English. Luckily, there is also plenty of late-night poutine to sustain you.

https://www.fodors.com/world/north-america/canada/quebec/montreal/experiences/news/canadas-coolest-city-feels-like-a-little-slice-of-europe

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Bien que l'article soit flatteur, j'en ai un peu assez que Montréal soit associé à ce rêve parisien et qu'en même temps on raconte comment l'anglais et le français auraient supposément un statut égal dans la ville.

Racontons Montréal pour ce qu'elle est vraiment. Un mélange de culture québécoise, britannique, italienne, juive, irlandaise, bref, qu'on commence à imaginer le "rêve montréalais". Café français? Non, des café montréalais. Cuisine française? Non, cuisine québécoise et montréalaise. 

Mais l'article reste intéressant et c'edt toujours apprécié de lire comment il y a une sorte d'idée romanticisé de Montréal qui existe, ce que peu de ville du pays peuvent se vanter d'avoir.

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Le 2019-02-16 à 23:38, Faitlemou a dit :

Racontons Montréal pour ce qu'elle est vraiment. Un mélange de culture québécoise, britannique, italienne, juive, irlandaise, bref, qu'on commence à imaginer le "rêve montréalais". Café français? Non, des café montréalais. Cuisine française? Non, cuisine québécoise et montréalaise.

Tu as tout à fait raison. Nous avons une identité unique en Amérique du Nord qui n'a rien à voir avec la France, outre la langue. Mais cette vision vient de l'extérieur et nous n'avons aucun contrôle sur les impressions que peuvent avoir les touristes.

Je comprends cependant l'effet que peut produire l'architecture que l'on retrouve en particulier dans le Vieux-Montréal, et le fait que tout soit écrit en français partout. C'est une réaction normale qui nous honore car la France est quand même le pays le plus visité au monde.

Cependant les touristes qui sont allé aux deux endroits voient bien la différence entre nos bagels et les croissants parisiens. La cuisine montréalaise est en effet bien différente car elle est justement le résultat de ce mélange de diverses cultures dont tu parles.

Mais la plus grande différence est l'attitude que nous avons envers les touristes. À Paris ils sont irrespectueux et condescendants, tandis que Montréal a la réputation d'une ville accueillante et chaleureuse.

Ce que bien des touristes aiment, surtout les Américains, c'est d'être dépaysés tout en se sentant chez eux. Le petit côté européen de Montréal a la particularité de les séduire tout en se sentant rassurés par notre style de vie à l'américaine. Et c'est la même chose sur le plan des affaires où notre attitude est très européenne mais notre mode d'opération typiquement américain.

Ma vision de Montréal: un gros village gaulois qui au lieu de tenir tête aux Romains a résisté aux Britanniques tout en se laissant séduire par le rêve américain.

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