Ah La Belle Province… and the one city in it where you can kind of get away speaking English without feeling completely ashamed for not being bilingual – Montreal! This classic yet hip and very charming Canadian city definitely needs to be on your top list of places to visit. Here's why:
No trip to this city is complete without a shopping spree in what is arguably the most fashionable place in Canada. Not only do Montrealers have the best department store not found outside of Quebec – Simon’s – they also have these streets to go broke on:
Rue St. Denis (between Avenue du Mont Royal & Boulevard Rene Levesque) – filled with tons of cute vintage and boutique stores, this is your best bet of finding some great one of a kind finds.
Rue Sainte-Catherine (between Atwater and St. Urbain Street) – your typical shopping mecca filled with your typical Urban Outfitters and American Apparels and Zaras, plus malls and unique Montreal stores. Bliss.
Crescent Street – just another high-end shopping area, but obviously better with robust charm and elegance because you’re in Montreal!
Montreal has a plethora of bars and clubs. They come in all shapes, sizes and fanciness levels. If you’re looking to explore Montreal on a local scale, may we suggest:
Korova – this place is kind of the best of both worlds. Packed with all those Montreal locals you just can’t help but swoon over, but the ones who also speak your language – the Anglo Montrealers. Guaranteed fun times with a live dj. Put this bar on your list if you’re into: hot babes and impromptu dance parties.
Les Deux Pierrots – Now that you’ve eased into this some Anglophone/Francophone land of mystique, why not check out how the Francophones party and head over to Les Deux Pierrots. Make sure to go on a Friday or Saturday to check out live Francophone music. It’s totally like being in Paris! But with a funny dialect.
Bifteck - Not going to lie. The last time we ventured over to Bifteck, we must have been about 19 and it was usually begrudgingly because all we ever wanted to do was hang out where all the cool kids were – Le Pistol (R.I.P :( ) But for curiosity’s sake, check out this College kids fave and let us know how it is.
We have to admit: aside from the Montreal bagels, the 99 cent pizzas, the variety of dipping sauces with your fries and everything else we’ve ever eaten drunk on St.Laurent at 4am, we’ve never been too fond of Montreal’s food scene. It’s kind of like French (of the France variety) food gone bad, you know? Lucky for you, the scene has improved a lot. Here are some places that’ll make you want to invest in a good pair of fat pants:
Joe Beef - named after this dude, Joe Beef the restaurant provides you with a true Montreal dining experience. From the chalkboard menu board to mounted animal heads, the restaurant’s vibe gives off total tavern authenticity. And for the menu? It changes regularly depending on what's in season, but seafood and steak enthusiasts, rejoice! You’re in for a delicious treat.
Schwartz’s - Because how can visit Montreal and not go into this famed deli?! The original smoked meat sandwich is a must order. Added bonus: their ridiculously delicious pickles.
La Bulle Au Carre – In authentic Montreal-style, this crepe place serves a delicious brunch on the weekends! Try the Brunch Quebecois…because you’re in Quebec, after all!
Where to stay:
From the ridiculously hip W hotel where the glass shower faces directly into the bedroom to the tried, tested and true Sheraton Hotel, we've enjoyed every place we've ever stayed in Montreal, but would consider this lil’ guy our secret gem. You’re welcome.
For more information on the tons of things to do in Montreal, visit: http://www.tourisme-montreal.org/Traveller/