One of the largest French cities in the world, known for its contagious “joie de vivre”, Montréal offers striking architecture, history and old world charm. This diverse metropolis has a definite falir and sense of style with fashionably dressed people, and a well-deserved reputation as one of the liveliest cities in North America.
8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.: Pass through the doors of Vasco de Gama and discover the warmth of Portugal at this rustic Portuguese Café situated within walking distance of the hotel. Here you will discover delicacies of the old world matched with that authentic ambiance. On the menu, you will discover a traditional line of classic dishes with a contemporary twist.
9:00 a.m. – noon: Continue your morning browsing along Sherbrooke Street, one of Montréal’s main arteries lined with upscale boutiques, art galeries and home to Canada’s oldest Museum – the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts. This grande dame proudly boasts exhibits of all the big names you may be familiar with: El Greco, Breughel, Rembrandt, Memling to name a few. The museum also hosts a permanent exhibit which contains one of the largest Impressionist collections in this hemisphere, as well as a number of Canadian and Inuit art.
Morning Alternative: Head to the former Montréal Olympics installations, now home to the Biodôme, the Montréal Botanical Gardens, the Insectarium, and the Olympic Stadium. The Biodome hosts four different eco-systems showcasing the flora, fauna and various temperatures of the Laurentian woodlands, the St. Lawrence marine system, the rain forest and the polar regions. Over 6000 creatures call the Biodome home. If you prefer to take in the lush nature, the nearby Montréal Botanical Gardens, one of the largest gardens in the world, will not deceive.
Noon – 2:00 p.m.: Lunch at Schwartz’s, located on St-Laurent Boulevard in the heart of the ‘Quartier Latin’ one of Montréal’s many distinct neighbourhoods. Schwartz's was founded in 1928 by Reuben Schwartz, a Jewish immigrant from Romania, and the restaurant has been in the same location ever since, now surrounded by funky storefronts and trendy boutiques. After enjoying lunch, head over to bustling St-Denis street where you will find many cafés and interesting boutiques, many of them unique to Montréal. Arthur Quentin features French linens and kitchen tools, which is also a great place to pick-up a unique gift. Further north along St-Denis you will find Au Festin de Babette showcasing gourmet teas, hot chocolate and during the summer months, homemade ice cream. To satisfy your sweet tooth, head down to Juliette et Chocolat, where you will be able savour a variety of chocolates, crêpes and hot drinks. A must for the chocolate lover in you!
2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.: Climb atop Mount Royal – designed by Frederick Law Olmstead who also designed New York’s Central Park. The climb is about 1.5 miles. You will be rewarded with a breathtaking view of the city down below. Be sure to bring a camera!
Afternoon Alternative: Hit the cobblestones and spend the late afternoon exploring Montréal’s historic district. Here you will find wonderful quaint cafés, charming restaurants, and of course the famous Notre-Dame-Basilica. At the eastern edge of Old Montréal, you will find Place Jacques-Cartier, a cobblestone square with a handful restaurants such as Jardin Nelson featuring a beautiful interior courtyard with live jazz during the summer months. Aside from the restaurants, you will also see many buskers and entertainment for the family in and around the Place Jacques-Cartier.
5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.: Hop in a cab and head over to the Casino de Montréal, either to catch a show at the Cabaret or to try your luck at one of the many gaming tables or slot machines. The casino consists of three buildings, the old French and Québec Pavilions built for Expo 67 and a new annex. Over 3,200 slot machines and over 120 gaming tables await gamblers who can also relax at four restaurants, four bars and a cabaret.
Not to be missed… Known as one of the best restaurants in the country, the legendary Beaver Club, featuring French cuisine prepared with the finest local products, is your ticket to a culinary adventure you will not soon forget. Your Beaver Club experience will not end there. You can now take out the delights of our pastry wagon by visiting the Boutique Gourmandise, located in the Main Lobby of the hotel.
8:00 p.m. – on… Montréal is blessed with many festivals year-round. Often referred to as The City of festivals, we are convinced there is something here for everyone. For an adrenaline-rushing experience, catch a hockey game of The Montréal Canadiens during the winter months at the Bell Centre, conveniently located within walking distance from the hotel. If you prefer to dance, head to St. Lawrence Blvd or Crescent street for a great evening.
For a listing of festivals, concerts and happenings in the city, from the Jazz Festival to the F1 Grand Prix of Canada go to: http://www.montreal.worldweb.com/Events/Festivals