Insiders' Guide: A day in Montreal
Described as the "Paris of Canada", Montreal is known for its architecture, art, urban spaces, and more. The city is built on a 30-mile island where the Saint Lawrence River and the Prairies River meet the Ottawa River. It's rich in different cultures, a great food scene, and lots of outdoor entertainments. The best time to visit is definitely between April and October, to avoid the freezing cold weather.
Here is how you can spend a day in Montreal and the areas you should go to.
1- Fairmount Bagel for Breakfast
Start your day in the Mille End area, where you can have one of the best cream cheese bagel at Fairmount Bagel. Comparing to other bagels in the world, Montreal's are boiled in honey, syrup and water, resulting in a sweeter taste. They are also hand-rolled and then maked in wood-fire oven giving them a deeper and crunchier crust.
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While in the Mille End, you'll want to discover all the local boutiques in the area. From vintage luxury to high-end local independant boutiques, enjoy your time discovering unique styles and products.
2- Mount Royal Park and City View
Between all the skyscrapers are an abundant of green areas. If you need a step to just relax, bike or read a book, there are over 20 beautiful parks in Montreal. Since you're already in the Mille End, you can check out the Mount Royal Park, and head from there to Belvedere Kondiaronk for a fantastic view of downtown Montreal. Mount Royal Park is active all year round hosting different activities (jogging, cycling, skiing, tobogganing, picknicking, etc) and live concerts.
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3- Lunch at La Banquise
If you're in Quebec, most specifically Montreal you have to try the famous Canadian 'poutine' for lunch. While you can literally find it in almost every restaurant in the city, one of the most famous is La Banquise, with many poutine options. However, we suggest you get the orignal one made of french fries, cheese curds and their delicious gravy sauce.
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4- Downtown Montreal and Place des Arts
After lunch, head directly to the center, walk around Saint Catherine Street, all the way from Concordia to Place des Arts where there are always some festivities happening. If you're looking for the luxury boutiques, go to Maisonneuve Street, parallel to Saint Catherine.
Photo Credit: Toursime Montreal
5- Botanical Garden
A gorgeous spot you should visit in Montreal is the Botanical Garden and then the Insectarium, located behind it. You can explore remarkable plants through over 20 themed gardens and exhibitions.
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6- Dinner in Old Port
The Old Port is our favorite spot in Montreal. Spend all your evening in this area, re-living some of the French heritage and history. Just before dinner, head to Notre Dame Basilica, one of Montreal's most popular landmark. Dedicated to Mother Mary, the Basilica has a stunnign and rare Gothic architecture style. It's decorated with golden stars, blue ceilings and stained glass windows.
Photo Credit: RevistaPanorama
For dinner, choose between a fancy italian dinner at Da Emma or an international dinner in Jardin Nelson's garden terrace while enjoying some Live Jazz. If you choose the latest, make sure you try the traditional 'pouding chomeur' for desert. After dinner, you can enjoy a nice walk in the area where festivals and events are often held.
Photo Credit: JardinNelson.com