Getaways

Montreal Weekend Guide: Bonjour, Quebec!

Filed Under: Montreal, Weekend
'French macarons'

Montreal is Canada's second-largest city and Quebec's cultural capital; it's also a city where two worlds meet. Forty-eight hours in this beautiful city is plenty of time to take in the classic French architecture of downtown Old Montreal and explore the modern, more North American vibe uptown.

Where to Stay
Absolument Montreal
This hip bed and breakfast is located in the heart of Old Montreal, steps away from sightseeing, shopping, restaurants and nightlife. The five guestrooms each have their own cinematic theme, featuring vintage posters and memorabilia. Top of the line amenities, a sunny garden with an all-season Jacuzzi and gourmet breakfasts make this cozy bed and breakfast a favorite place to stay for those seeking a reprieve from larger hotels and chains.

Hotel St. Paul
The beautiful historic building was reinvented as a hotel with the architectural genius of the Beaux Arts School. Past its elaborate exterior, minimalism prevails inside. A breathtaking floor-to-ceiling alabaster fireplace anchors one end of the understated lobby. The guest rooms are also trim and modest; most face the less touristy western edge of Vieux-Montreal. The hotel's restaurant, Volver, features an all-new, all-appetizing, Mediterranean menu.

Le Petit Prince
In downtown Montreal this renovated home, originally built in 1876, offers accommodations awash with charm and character. The exposed stone and brick walls, slate roof and uniquely designed rooms create a distinct aesthetic. Those who book here will love the location; Le Petit Prince is one block south of bustling Crescent Street, lined with nightclubs, restaurants, boutiques and art galleries.

Where to Eat
Le Club Chasse et Peche
The name, "Hunting and Fishing Club," reflects this acclaimed restaurant's menu and d��cor. While the menu may seem simple, your server will describe each dish in considerable detail, with ample attention being paid to course selections and wine pairing. Block out at least two hours from your travel itinerary for this decadent dining experience.

L'Express
This 25-year old French bistro is a local favorite. The food here is honest and unpretentious French fare, featuring quiche jambon fromage, soupe de poisson and a delicious staple, croque-monsieur. Open for breakfast until 3 a.m., reservations are suggested for tables, but single diners can easily find a seat at the bar.

Titanic Sandwich Shop
If you're looking for a simple and satisfying lunch while meandering through Montreal, there's no better lunch stop than Titanic. Freshly baked baguettes are filled with sumptuous combos like coarse country pate and green peppercorns, smoked ham and brie, and roast pork and chutney. Note that Titanic closes daily at 4 p.m., so head here for a late breakfast or lunch.

What to See & Do
Shop Old Montreal
Old Montreal's winding streets, lined with 19th-century architecture, make it the tourist heart of the city. In the fashionable Rue Saint-Paul, west of Boulevard Saint-Laurent, unique boutiques like Appartement 51, Reborn and Mona Moore are the perfect spots for some Canadian retail therapy.

La Biosph��re
Buckminster Fuller designed the geodesic dome of La Biosph��re to serve as the American Pavilion for the 1967 World's Fair, more commonly known as Expo '67. Today, this interactive environmentally conscious science facility features a theater, amphitheater, multimedia shows and hands-on displays. It's a great place to spend an afternoon if you are exploring Montreal with little ones.

Mount Royal Park
Frederick Law Olmstead, the landscape architect behind New York's Central Park, designed the jewel of the Montreal park system in 1876. Full of monuments, lookouts and picnic spots, Mount Royal Park is the perfect place to spend a sunny afternoon.

After Dark
Every Saturday evening during the summer, stunning fireworks displays light up the sky over Montreal's Old Port. Held above La Ronde on Ile Ste-Helene, the shows start at 10 p.m. and can best be viewed from the Clock Tower at the east end of the Port. Follow up this spectacular light display with some jazz at Upstairs, a nightclub where great music and great food are served nightly.

Relax with a cold one at La Diable, a low-key microbrasserie serving homemade brews with devilish names like Extr��me Onction, or Last Rites, a Belgian-style brew with 8.5 percent alcohol.

Travel Channel Insider's Tip:
Get the most out of your visit with the "You Eat Here" card offering deals on local restaurants and the Montreal Museum Pass for discounted entrance to the city's many museums. Both are available for purchase online and through most Montreal hotels.

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