July 4, 2011 — While some may equate "old" with being worn-out, used up or tired, this certainly isn't the case when it comes to Old Montréal. On one hand, the neighbourhood is vibrant, artistic and trendy, while on the other hand, it reflects the city's rich patrimonial heritage. Many centuries-old heritage buildings have been transformed into luxurious loft apartments, while the area's cobblestone streets are lined with a multitude of art galleries, restaurants and chic boutiques; furthermore, the site of the first colony is now also home to the Cité du multimédia, a hotspot for hip young business and advertising professionals. In short, a neighbourhood that is anything but "old"!
To give you an idea of all that this part of the city, so appreciated by Montrealers, has to offer, just follow the guide... VDM Global DMC offers you walking tours that are chock-full of stories about Old Montréal, past and present. Foodies in particular will enjoy the Flavours and Aromas tour, just as informative but spiced with delicious gastronomic stops along the way that reveal the city's culinary history from the Amerindians to our modern-day culinary geniuses.
At the Centre d'histoire de Montréal, Place D'Youville, you will have the opportunity to learn more about the people, the events and the scandals that comprise the great moments in Montréal's history. Be sure to submit your best snaps of Montréal in the annual photo contest!
When it comes to lunch, there is no lack of fabulous food choices here. Why not try the terrifically white-washed, but warmly hospitable Le Cartet? This restaurant-boutique-grocery store serves up a scrumptious selection of entrées, sandwiches, salads and desserts, not to mention its extensive assortment of homemade gourmet goods for sale.
To put your thumb on the trendy pulse of the neighbourhood, simply gaze into its funky shop windows. For example, take a look at Mortimer Snodgrass, where the eccentric meets retro meets the impractical – all design marvels – and where you'll find the most amazing selection of dog accessories anywhere!
At Joseph Ponton Costumes, you'll be enchanted by the uniqueness of the place, halfway between Grandma's attic and the Cirque du Soleil workshops. The sign, which has hung above the store since 1865, resides proudly over a shop that houses over 15,000 creations, from the traditional to the sensational. It is without a doubt that you will find the perfect disguise to suit your taste and size... and will have the best costume at your next Halloween party!
Just to "sucrer le bec" as we say in Québec (or simply, to get your sugar fix), take a stroll over to Canadian Maple Delights, whose exquisite maple products including syrups, butters, candies, salad dressings and flavoured teas are sure to satisfy even the most ardent sugar tooth!
Transparency, colours and unusual shapes await you at Gogo Glass (located in Marché Bonsecours), where master glassmakers transform the material into a multitude of magnificent items and decorative objects before your very eyes. Be sure to take advantage of this beautiful show of artistry – and chance to procure an original souvenir from Old Montréal!
This area isn't limited to historical, gastronomical and shopping discovery: in fact, it is also bordered by the Quays of the Old Port, a favourite hang-out for skaters (ice and in-line), cyclists, pedestrians and, with the onset of warm weather, water-lovers of all kinds! If you are a thrill-seeker, then try out Saute-Moutons jet boating on the Lachine Rapids. You’ll get nothing less than rodeo-style jet boating, complete with high-speed twists and turns, down the Lachine Rapids!
When cocktail hour rings, we suggest that you join the adventures of Tintin at the Pharaon Lounge. The brick walls are adorned with the escapades of this ardent adventurer and his trusty companion, a great fan of whisky. Naturally, an extensive selection of this libation is available, along with many choices of port and Belgian beer, in an inviting and original atmosphere.
Its French fries cooked in duck fat and homemade mayonnaise are divine and its magnificently shaded patio is a summer-evening oasis of fun and laughter. Remember this name: Boris Bistro. The menu is as inviting as the ambiance!
Continuing in the spirit of the European pub, while Holder may be a little more chic, it is, however, just as casual. Its menu is filled with savoury main dishes that are perfect for sharing among friends, and its wine list includes several fine vintages that are available by the glass.
Finally, to bring your tour of Old Montréal to a close (and to help your digestion!), take a stroll along the Quays of the Old Port, without forgetting to stop by Place Jacques-Cartier to enjoy some evening entertainment.
If you have yet to reserve your hotel in Old Montréal, be sure to visit the "Hotels and Booking" section of our site, where you will find numerous possibilities, from small bed and breakfasts to stylish boutique hotels.