1 First reason has to be the chance to glimpse some snow, for us British particularly based on the south coast we rarely see it and if we do it’s the odd smattering which doesn’t hang around too long. Last month The Grey Traveller was lucky enough to experience enough snow to Christmas Card every view from every corner with an extra special deep fill your boots experience in the ‘burb of St Bruno. Yes it was cold but as long as you layer up, take scarves, hats and suitable walking boots you will enjoy. The Montrealians are set up big time for snow, with ploughs scraping up snow and ice off the roads and sidewalks and warm cosy welcomes in bars and restaurants…..we were lucky enough to have a fire albeit fake at the foot of our bed in the lovely Hotel Place des Armes in Vieux Montreal. That and the hot chocolate in the lobby it was worth it to go out and then come back in again for the chocolate treat!
2 Au Sommet which offers a birds eye view on Place Ville De Marie in Downtown Montreal. Great to start your trip from this place as you get to see most of Montreal in one hit and it helps you to organise what you want to do and how best to hit the streets or The Metro. ….and of course you must drop into Je Suis Enfant Terrible a bar on the 44th floor of this great building, the staff and service is first class and the vibe uber relaxing.
3 The Olympic Park where you get to ascend another tall building, this time the Montreal Tower by a quaint funicular. The building actually bends, quite an unusual curve but a unique bird’s eye view of the stadium and surrounds which hosted the 1976 games. Stop off at the domes where you get to walk through a range of ecosystems such as a rainforest and the local area and see penguins in the polar regions. When you have done walk by the swimming pool where you can grab a quiet coffee and watch the swimmers and players jump, slide and fall on the mighty plastic obstacle course. It was really quiet at the pool …. so wished I had brought my costume.
4 Notre Dame Basilica in Places des Armes, where for 5CAD you get to see one of the most beautiful alters and frontispiece of a cathedral. Beautifully lit up with angels outside and handy for the horse and carriages if you want to see more of the area snug under a blanket.
5 Vieux Montreal, where the cobbles reach down almost to the St Lawrence River, where the bars and restaurants welcome you in from the cold. There are craft breweries, great eateries such as The Keg on St Paul’s Street where he who likes to think he is obeyed and I enjoyed an early New Year’s Eve dinner of steak escalope and prawns with garlic mash….. I am still dribbling and dreaming of the mash! The lights are festive and the horse and carriages in abundance if you want to take the frosty air under a blanket accompanied by the tinkling of the horse’s bells and clipping of hooves on the cobbles. There are open fires on Place St Jacques and amazing pictures and stories projected on the large buildings flashing throughout the evening. There was even an alley where we walked through ‘water’ which was in fact another projected illusion.
6 Mount Real/Royal and the best way to see it is to climb up the streets through Le Plateau and see the great brownstones and residences I’m guessing of the professors who teach at the nearby university. The views are wonderful and of course the snow was well and truly thick here.
7 Last but not least the Canadian bonhomie whether on the streets, in a bar or shop. They are welcoming and willing to tell you stories, help you with your French if need be or happy to speak in English. We darkened the door of Modavie a few times, a cute, warm welcoming jazz bar with cocktails and spaghetti bolognese to die for….also on St Paul Street.
I’m sure you will have another reason to visit Montreal…so add it to the comments below and I will link back to your website.