At the confluence of the Saint Lawrence and Ottawa rivers, Montréal is also a mingling of other channels: French and English, European and North American, urbanity and wilderness. Much has changed since French colonists built Fort Ville-Marie on the Island of Montréal in 1642. Now constructed out of stone, glass and concrete rather than local timber, it has grown into the second largest French-speaking city in the world. Connecting the Atlantic with the Great Lakes, Montréal has bustled with commerce for the last 200 years. Today, from the green slopes of Mont-Royal to the cobbled Old Town, the city rings out to a packed programme of international arts festivals, and former industrial districts have replaced steelwork with 'joie de vivre', hosting art galleries, bistros, and creatives within former factory walls.
HOTEL PLACE D’ARMESHotel
Four 19th century neoclassical buildings – opposite the famous Notre-Dame Basilica – house Hotel Place d’Armes. The longest-standing boutique hotel in Old Montréal, it remains one of its most stylish. Exposed brickwork and parquet flooring lend a casual elegance to the interiors, whilst the hotel’s luxurious spa boasts a restorative hammam. The restaurant, Kyo Bar Japonais, is popular among locals and guests alike, and boasts an extensive sake list to accompany the sushi and izakaya.
- Address: 55 Rue St Jacques, Montréal, QC H2Y 1K9
- Phone: +1 514 842 1887
- Website: http://hotelplacedarmes.com
HÔTEL WILLIAM GRAYHotel
Opened in 2016, this luxury boutique hotel in Old Montréal balances contemporary design with historic architecture. Two 18th century merchant homes, the Maison Edward-William Gray and the Maison Cherrier, are connected by a new, eight storey, glass structure, while the interiors blend stone walls and cathedral ceilings with contemporary artworks by local artists. Views from the suites and rooftop bar overlook the Old Port, and the downstairs living room, equipped with a library, pool table and record collection, makes for a comfortable space to relax.
- Address: 421 Rue Saint Vincent, Montréal, QC H2Y 3A6
- Phone: +1 514 656 5600
- Website: http://hotelwilliamgray.com
Intersecting Beaubien Street, in the Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie neighbourhood, Automne Boulangerie’s passionate owners Julien and Seth work with Quebec’s best grain farmers and millers to produce delicious, seasonal pastries and breads. The Scandinavian and Californian inspired interior, with dark wood surfaces and exposed steel pipes, offers warm, rustic comfort, while the diversity of its ingredients, paired with irresistible, classical French baking, makes Automne Boulangerie an excellent start to the morning.
- Address: 6500 Ave Christophe-Colomb, Montréal, QC H2S 2G8
- Phone: +1 514 274 8111
- Website: http://automneboulangerie.com
Adorned with grey and white hexagonal floor tiles and pale green walls, Café Pista is flooded with natural light and imbued with a sense of calm. Having started as a mobile bicycle coffee shop frequenting locations and events throughout Montréal, this permanent space has swapped out the pedal-powered coffee grinder for a more conventional approach, whilst serving the same high-quality drinks it is celebrated for. With a popular brunch offering on weekends, and a laptop-free zone to encourage conversation, it is hard not to be charmed by this delightful spot.
- Address: 500 Rue Beaubien Est, Montréal, QC H2S 1S5
- Phone: +1 514 903 8257
- Website: http://cafepista.com
Hidden away on a side street in Montréal’s downtown, Café Parvis’ characterful interior is a common topic of discussion upon arrival. Inspired by the city’s historic fur district, co-owner and designer Zébulon Perron preserved the industrial qualities of the space, leaving the walls half-stripped with peeling paint to evoke a sense of its history. Reclaimed diner stools contrast with polished marble counters, and leafy plants enliven the ceilings, creating a unique setting for the modern pizzeria and snack bar, which is at once elevated and relaxed.
- Address: 433 Rue Mayor, Montréal, QC H3A 1N9
- Phone: +1 514 764-3589
- Website: http://cafeparvis.com
Tucked away in the industrial Cité du Multimédia district, Le Serpent occupies the main ground floor of what was once the Darling Foundry, a 19th century iron foundry that has since been repurposed into a contemporary art gallery and studio complex. Named for the sinuous, exposed ventilation system in the roof, Le Serpent’s interiors nod to the space’s heritage, with grey painted brick giving way to expansive factory windows. Restaurateur Hubert Marsolais and executive chef Claude Pelletier have seamlessly transformed this industrial artefact into a cool and modern bistro, offering a unique wine list paired with a contemporary Italian menu. In keeping with the artistic direction of the building, a sculpture by local artist Patrick Coutu hangs above the bar, and a painting by Pierre Dorion overlooks the dining area.
- Address: 257 Rue Prince, Montréal, QC H3C 2N4
- Phone: +1 514 316 4666
- Website: http://leserpent.ca
Opened in 2017, Boxermans is the brainchild of three young locals: Jade Fortin-Côté, Eric Berlin (the bistro is named after his grandmother) and chef Sean Murray-Smith. Casual yet elegant, Boxermans captures the spirit of Montréal’s diverse citizenry in one space and is a favourite for dinner dates and business meetings alike. Equipped with an eight-item à la carte menu sourced from local farms, and an accompanying wine list fit for every price bracket, Boxermans is an intimate dinner destination and unpretentious daytime café in one.
- Address: 1041 Ave Van Horne, Outremont, QC H2V 1J4
- Phone: +1 514 495 4000
- Website: http://boxermans.com
In the heart of Montréal’s Mile End district, Bar Henrietta is an intimate cocktail and wine bar, inspired by Portuguese taverns of the 1960s. The simple, warm interior offers table seating and plenty of places to perch along the bar. Alongside a selection of classic cocktails, natural and biodynamic wines from small producers, and Québec beers, Bar Henrietta also offers fresh oysters and an excellent Portuguese-inspired tapas menu prepared by chef Eric Dupuis. We recommend the moreish Popcorn au Manchego.
- Address: 115 Ave Laurier Ouest, Montréal, QC H2T 2N6
- Phone: +1 514 276-4282
- Website: http://barhenrietta.com
MICHEL BRISSONMenswear Shop
Michel Brisson is a high-end boutique dedicated to contemporary menswear, with a judicious selection of international designers including Dries Van Noten, Jil Sander, Yohji Yamamoto, and Acne Studios. Located in the fashionable Avenue Laurier Ouest in Outremont (with a second space in Old Port) the brutalist interior is the work of Montréal-based architects Saucier + Perrotte, and embodies the considered, minimalist spirit reflected in the boutique’s products. With a sheet glass wall above the wide windows, the façade changes with the seasons, reflecting the shifting foliage of the surrounding street.
- Address: 1074 Ave Laurier Ouest, Outremont, QC H2V 2K8
- Phone: +1 514 270 1012
- Website: http://michelbrisson.com
LIBRAIRIE DRAWN & QUARTERLYBookshop
Storefront of the internationally renowned comic book publisher of the same name, Librairie Drawn & Quarterly is a specialist graphic novel shop in Mile End, with a second store, La Petite Librairie Drawn & Quarterly, just across the road. The host of frequent book clubs and events in-store and around town, the shop has nurtured a dedicated and supportive community of book lovers. Featuring publications in French and English by local and international authors, Drawn & Quarterly boast a diverse range of independent titles. Remember to browse the staff picks section for insight into the team’s eclectic reading habits.
- Address: 211 Rue Bernard Ouest, Montréal, QC H2T 2K5
- Phone: +1 514-279-2224
- Website: http://drawnandquarterly.com
In a former industrial laundry turned 1,500 m2 gallery space, Parisian Laundry houses some of the finest and most progressive contemporary art exhibits in Montréal. Two vast expanses of polished concrete floor are interrupted only by a few timber columns and the artworks themselves. The gallery features Canadian and international artists alike, such as New York-based Fabienne Lasserre, and Montréal photographer Celia Perrin Sidarous.
- Address: 3550 Saint-Antoine Ouest, Montréal, QC H4C 1A9
- Phone: +1 514 989 1056
- Website: http://parisianlaundry.com
DHC/ART FOUNDATION FOR CONTEMPORARY ARTGallery
Housed in two heritage buildings in the heart of Montréal’s Old Port, DHC/ART is a not for profit foundation devoted to exhibiting contemporary art, with two or three major shows a year. Sustained by a single benefactor, the gallery is able to offer not only free admission to all, but also more daring programmes of international scope, with acclaimed artists often creating exhibitions exclusively for the gallery. Past shows include Jenny Holzer, Björk, Bill Viola, Ceal Floyer, Ryoji Ikeda and Bharti Kher.
- Address: 451 & 465 Rue Saint Jean, Montréal, QC H2Y 2R5
- Phone: +1 514 849 3742
- Website: http://dhc-art.org
Created as a pavilion for Expo 67 – the World’s Fair held in Montréal in 1967 – Israeli-Canadian architect Moshe Safdie’s utopian housing complex is perhaps the most recognisable architectural landmark of the city. Configured as stacked concrete cubes that form 148 futuristic residences, the design of this brutalist, modular structure aimed to reinvent apartment living and to deliver on Safdie’s famous promise, ‘for everyone a garden.’ Each is accessible via an external ‘street’, creating the air of a vertical village rather than an apartment block. Today, most of Habitat 67’s apartments join together four or five cubes into renovated residences, and Safdie still maintains one for himself.
- Address: 2600 Ave Pierre-Dupuy, Montréal, QC H3C 3R6
- Phone: +1 514 866 5971
- Website: http://habitat67.com/en