|Subject: Re: Montreal suggestions Was: Montreal and Quebec City|
My sister Helen mentioned some interesting sites in Montreal. Here's a bit more!
Les Halles is still one of the top French restaurants in Montreal (I think Linda and Don recommend it in their travelogue). I like Le Caveau on Victoria Street at President-Kennedy for a traditional French menu.
Many restaurants in Montreal allow you to bring your own wine. They provide corking, wine glasses, labour but no charge! Our siblings in Montreal enjoy this budget feature. You just hand your bottle to your server!
By the way, you can buy wine at depanneurs (convenience stores) and grocery stores but for best selection, go to the government stores (Société des Alcools - I call it the society of alcholics!) The drinking age in Quebec is younger than Ontario - only 18 years old. For more information see: http://www.pagemontreal.qc.ca/meg/restaurants/restaurants.html
Old Montreal is certainly worth strolling. One museum that I visited last fall and recommend is Musée d'archéologie et d'histoire de Montréal-Pointe-à-Calliere. It is a history / archeology museum which traces the development of Montreal. I liked the displays especially the interactive videos. You see the ruins of Montreal's walls and sewers. http://www.musee-pointe-a-calliere.qc.ca/indexan.html
The area is quite lively at night and you can take a buggy ride if you wish. There are also boat tours in the harbour. Since Montreal is an island, a boat tour is a good idea! Here is a link for one company: http://www.bateau-mouche.com/
Place Jacques-Cartier in Old Montreal is very touristy but colourful . We had a lovely bargain prixe fix lunch at La Maree, sitting outside on the square. La Maree specializes in seafood.
The McCord Canadian History Museum on Sherbrooke Street has a permanent collection and interesting temporary exhibitions. I saw an exhibit of the two major Canadian political cartoonists - one from the leading French language newspaper and one from the leading Montreal English language paper. Now there is an exhibit of glass slides used to illustrate lectures at McGill University at the beginning of the 1900's http://www.mccord-museum.qc.ca/
If it is some years since you visited the Musée des Beaux Arts-Museum of Fine Arts, you are in for a surprise. There are two buildings (pavillions) across the street from one another, joined underground (naturally in Montreal which is well known for its underground city!). They have some important pieces, both European masters and Canadian and native art. When I visited during the week, the museum was quite quiet. http://www.mmfa.qc.ca/a-sommaire.html
For more information about the underground city see http://www.toutmontreal.com/english/eguide/underground/underground.html
A specialist museum you might want to visit is the Canadian Center for Architecture. It has an international reputation and focus for its exhibitions on all aspects of architecture and urban planning. Frankly, I found it tough going! However if you are interested in the subject of the special exhibition, it would certainly be worthwhile. http://cca.qc.ca/
Currently there are exhibits on photographer Lewis Baltz and in the main galleries, a look at how architecture can respond to an uncertain post-September 11 world and construct a new stage for thought. Six Montréal firms of young architects have been invited to create an environment or installation in the CCA galleries that investigates the fundamentals of architecture.
For more food information, try: http://www.montrealfood.com/index.html
There are many special events during the summer too - a jazz festival, Juste Pour Rire (a comedy festival - some English language acts) and lively street life. Well worth a visit.
Frances Toronto, Canada