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Three Perfect Days: Montreal

Once a remote fur-trading post, Montreal is now a thriving modern city brimming with Old World charm.

Author Maura Egan Photography Peter Frank Edwards


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YOU MAY WANT TO PRACTICE YOUR FRENCH IN MONTREAL, the second-largest French-speaking city in the world, but don’t worry—it won’t be on the test. Most residents speak English. That’s the nature of this beguiling Quebecois city. It’s an anything-goes, old-meets-new kind of place. Modern glass skyscrapers edge up against 18th century Beaux Arts buildings, and the old town’s European grandeur is balanced out by funky new cafés, a thriving university scene and booming nightclubs in up-and-coming neighborhoods like Mile End and the Plateau.

The city abounds with examples of thoughtful urban planning, including underground shopping malls, for those cold winters, and lush parks in which to enjoy the summers. But visitors can still glimpse an earlier time, especially among the canals and warehouses lining the St. Lawrence River. Montreal is a city of distinct neighborhoods and fiercely proud character. There’s no better way to see it than strolling its narrow streets. You’ll uncover upscale boutiques and historic sites, often right next door to each other, and breathe in the heady aroma of french fries smothered in gravy and cheese curds, the ingredients of poutine, Montreal’s signature dish, which is served in even the swankiest joint. It may not sound so appealing, but it’s quite good. And yes, it will be on the test.

3 Responses to “Three Perfect Days: Montreal”

  1. Isolde Says:
    February 1st, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    I’m always curious to see what’s recommended to tourists, and this would definitely give them a true taste of beautiful Montreal!
    I am very surprised however to see that CLuny is mentioned, right after DHC/ART, without specifying that the cafe is located inside the Darling Foundry, Montreal’s edgiest contemporary art centre.

  2. Alfred Snyder Says:
    February 3rd, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    As A Lifelong Specialist And Expert On Canada Including The La Belle Of Quebec. I Know Everything There Is To Know About Montreal. From parc du Mont-Royal, To The Notre Dame Basilica, To Ville Place Marie. You Name It. The List could Go On And On, I Have Been To Canada And Quebec Inculding Montreal And Toronto. As I Can Tell You, That If You Really Want To Practice Speaking French, Chances Are, You Have Come To The Right Place. Knowing That Montreal And All Of Quebec Have a Very Proud French Culture Of Its Very own In Its Own Right. And So, Keep This In Mind, When You Go Plan a Trip To Montreal, Enough Said.

  3. Michael W. Cater, MD Says:
    February 15th, 2010 at 10:32 pm

    I thoroughly enjoyed the recent Three Perfect Days in Montreal. For history buffs I would recommend the Sir William Osler Museum for the History of Medicine at the Monreal General Hospital. Sir William Osler, the world’s most notable physician at the turn of the 20th century donated his vast library of ancient medical texts including works by Vesalium, Willis, Addison, Bright, etc. to McGill University, his alma mater. A must see for all those interested in the history of medicine.

    Yours truly,

    Michael W. Cater, MD
    American Osler Society

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