Monday July 8, 2013
Once in a while, we welcome guests who are in a rush. They ask us for the Montreal must-sees but they often have a limited time frame. Short weekends, flight schedules, traffic …things like that happen. Not to worry; although Montreal counts numerous attractions and landmarks, a (long) day can be enough to get a nice overview. So take a map and let’s get started!
Start off by going to the ‘Place d’Armes’ which is located near the St Paul Hotel, it has magnificent ancient edifices – one of them, the Aldred Building, is really iconic and reminiscent of New York or Chicago buildings from the 30’s (when standing in the lobby, you can almost mistake it for the Empire State Building!). Also in the Place d’Armes stands the ‘Notre Dame Basilica’ (in which a world famous Celine D. got married a few years ago!).
Wander the cobblestone streets heading south, to the Old Port, and follow the docks. You will then have a wonderful view over the St Lawrence River where you will see an unconventional building right on the other side of the river. This building is actually from Montreal`s Universal Exhibition of 1967, it’s named ‘Habitat 67’. Carry on a few minutes, and then turn left on the ‘Champ de Mars’. Once you arrive at City Hall you should be able to see a bit of our Chinatown’s pagodas spires. This is where you can have a taste of Quebec’s best Dim Sums!
You’re now getting close to the famous ‘Quartier des spectacles’, where the heart of Montreal truly beats in the summer. There is always something going on here. At the moment it’s the ‘Nuits d’Afrique’, but the festivals succeed each other until October; you can find an extensive list on Festimania's website. Make sure to enter the ‘Place des Arts Building’ one of the most contemporary edifice in Montreal. St Catherine Street E. leads to the Village, one of the largest gay districts in the world. It’s always nice there in the summer: the street is only open to pedestrians, there are many restaurants and terraces, and the city decorates the street with ‘Pink Balls’. Designed by renowned landscape architect Claude Cormier, 170 000 pink balls stretch down 1 km of Saint-Catherine street from Berri Uqam to Papineau.
Not far from here you’ll see a big park on your map. Head north for a few minutes and here you are! The Lafontaine Park, which is the probably the most popular park in Montreal. It’s really one of a kind, and is the perfect spot to take a break at the water’s edge. Not far from here on Rachel Street stands the world famous ‘La Banquise’ reputed as Montreal’s best Poutine restaurant. We really hope you’re hungry because the poutines there are quite big!
If you feel like shopping, cross the Plateau’s charming lanes and walk on Mont Royal. With the Olympic tower behind you, go toward the Mount Royal: your next destination! Continue to walk on the avenue Mont Royal to the Jeanne Mance park (The ‘Tam Tams’, you will quickly understand why it is called that way) follow the path to the stairs and start the ascension. If the timing is correct, you will arrive on the top for a wonderful panorama of Montreal at sunset! After a few pictures, go down direction Peel street. This is the business district, with infinite shopping, bars and restaurant options. Ever heard of the underground city? That’s a cool way to finish your journey and go back to the hotel. Follow the indications to Square Victoria Station and you will get there shortly.
After this busy day, why not reward yourself with a well-deserved dinner at the Hambar restaurant’s terrace? We hope you enjoyed our tour, many other options are possible, just ask our concierge or browse Visit Montreal!
Credits: © SDC Vieux Montréal, Philippe Côté-Léger, © Tourisme Montréal, Pierre-Luc Dufour, © SDC Vieux Montréal, Sebastien Roy