A day in the Plateau among friends

© Canadian Tourism Commission, Pierre St-Jacques - Montréal architecture© Tourisme Montréal, Stéphan Poulin - Montréal architecture © Tourisme Montréal, Stéphan Poulin - Terrace on Saint-Denis Street
© Tourisme Montréal, Stéphan Poulin - La Fontaine Park © Georges Zimbel - L'Express Restaurant

© Canadian Tourism Commission, Pierre St-Jacques - Montréal architecture

June 29, 2011 – As Canada’s most densely populated neighbourhood, Le Plateau (which encompasses the trendy Mile End) always has the buzz, bling and bubbling creativity to keep it discovery-worthy for visitors, any time of the night and day. That’s why it’s the perfect place for you and your gang to hang for a day, so check out this funky day-tripping agenda designed with friends in mind!

To feel the vibe of this vibrant district, start with strolling on Mont-Royal Avenue or Saint-Denis Street, two of the Plateau’s bigger arteries. Both have oodles of trendy boutiques—with wares that run the gamut from designer to second-hand fashion (friperies, in French), home decorating and kitchen accessories, bath products and jewellery—not to mention a surplus of restaurants, bars and cafés.

If walking has worked up your thirst or appetite, you don’t have to look hard to find a restaurant terrasse, one of Montréal’s favourite warm-weather meet-up spots, along upscale Saint-Denis Street. Generally, the east side of the street is where the trendy go to bask in the sun… the better to see and be seen! Choose from your menu, sip slowly from your glass, and indulge in the endlessly inspiring street scenery.

To get a little green in your day, head to Parc La Fontaine, a lush tree-lined park surrounded by Victorian houses, just below Rachel Street and just east of Amherst Street. During the summer, it’s a popular hangout among sunbathers, picnickers, pétanque and tennis players while during the winter, its giant man-made pond becomes the place of predilection for ice skaters.

What better way to enjoy the late afternoon than with a well-earned drink on Mont-Royal Avenue? Montrealers are fond of their 5 à 7—our slightly-more-swish version of happy hour—so order your glass of choice (this may be the time to try one of Montréal’s excellent microbrewery selections), pull up your chair and get in on the conversation. If you’re feeling peckish, tapas are regularly featured on most menus, and these bite-sized portions provide a delicious teaser to Montréal’s legendary cuisine.

While you’re probably still good for more exploring, plans for the evening will eventually need to include where to eat. Slip into the warm and inviting aquatic atmosphere of Le Filet, a fish and seafood bistro on Mont-Royal Avenue., or enjoy the classic French bistro fare of L’Express on Saint-Denis, a hotspot for hobnobbing among the high-brow crowds, who arrive late and stay even later. The kitchen is open until 11 p.m.