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48 Hours in... Montreal

There is something not right about calling Montreal the “Paris of North America”. I read it in an article once and it didn’t sit well with me. Actually the nickname still doesn’t. I imagine the brightness of Paris, all glitter and gold, done up like someone in their Sunday best. And then I close my [&hellip

by Amylee Silva Posted on 14 December 2011

There is something not right about calling Montreal the “Paris of North America”. I read it in an article once and it didn’t sit well with me. Actually the nickname still doesn’t. I imagine the brightness of Paris, all glitter and gold, done up like someone in their Sunday best. And then I close my eyes and see Montreal dark, mysterious, edgy but still fashionable.

Now I do understand how someone would make the comparison. Sure they both have cobblestone streets that can snap an ankle with any given step, the drivers are insane and you are never more than a 5-10 minute walk away from a church. Then there is the whole French speaking thing of course. But all of that aside there really is no comparison. Close, but no cigar. I’m pretty sure I’ve read that somewhere as well.

The first 24 HRS

LOCAL – The Mile End: Always start with food. Eating has and always will be an integral part of travelling. It’s half the fun. Ordering things that you normally wouldn’t eat, just because you wouldn’t normally eat time but you’re traveling so you do. Other times you indulge simply for the fact that you can’t find it anywhere else that does it better. Welcome to the Mile End and the land of the 24hr bagel shop, fresh everyday all day. Try Fairmount Bagel, at 74 Fairmount West. Buy the all-dressed bagel. I dare you not to eat one before you make it home. The smell is absolutely distracting.

VISIT - Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery: Most people go to visit loved ones, others go to run, and some go to admire the art. There are three entrances to the grounds. Paid parking is closest to the gates located along Camilien-Houde Road on Mount Royal but to find the “Rocket” Maurice Richard head to the main entrance at 4601 Cote-des-Neiges Road.

EATBottega: Weekend reservations a must for this small upper class pizzeria. Don’t shy away from the daily specials and always leave room for the pizzas. It can be hard to get excited about a tomato, basil and mozzarella pizza with a Neapolitan truffle pizza on the menu but the La Margherita $13 CAD is something to get excited about.

DRINKVices & Versa: This little Italy establishment just around the corner features over 30 Quebec Microbreweries on tap and features live music throughout the week. HRS later ...

EATLa Cartet: Brunch at this part boutique mini-mart other part smart casual restaurant is rarely without a line for many reasons. The dining area is a loft like with tear-drop light bulbs hanging over large family style tables that make eavesdropping on breakfast gossip effortless.

VISITNotre-Dame Basilica of Montreal: Parisian reference aside the Basilica is a highlight of the Old Montreal area where countless of hours could be lost to admiration. Admission for Adults $10 CAD and on from Sep till Dec see the “And Then There Was Light” show.

VISITMontreal Museum of Fine Arts (closed Mondays; Open 10-5 pm Sat & Sun; Tue – Fri from 11 am to 5 pm). Why go now? Mostly for the contemporary art exhibit the “Big Bang” featuring over 20 artists and because as per the website “This fall, everything is free*” The asterisk meaning except for concerts in Bourgie Hall and workshops.

EATLe Comptoir Charcuteries et Vins: Like many Montreal restaurants, unless you want to eat around 5:30 pm – then call well in advance. And expect things to be a bit busy for awhile, Air Canada’s enRoute magazine just announced the Saint-Laurent Boulevard addition as one of Canada’s Top 10 Best New Restaurants 2011.

Montreal the “Paris of North America”? Leave your comment below.