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Posts by Isa Tousignant

Romance for all in Montréal

Beautiful views, European charm, award-winning dining, entertainment that never sleeps… Montréal has got all the markers of a winning romantic weekend for any type of couple. This Valentine’s Day, whether you like things sporty, luxurious or classic (because long-stem roses never go out of style), here are five getaway ideas from us to you – with love. A classic kind of love Wining and dining is a sure way to pretty much anyone’s heart. With hotel specials like the Valentine’s Day package at the beautiful Le Germain in Old Montréal, you’re already half way there. After picking up some chocolates at Maison Christian Faure and some flowers at the stand in Square Victoria, grab a horse-drawn carriage tour of Old Montréal across the street from Notre-Dame Basilica, where Céline Dion got married (it’ll set the mood). Next, book a tête-à-tête to sample the special V Day offerings at 400 Coups (a five-course meal featuring crab ravioli and foie gras mousse), Le Quindici (short ribs braised in wine, anyone?) or the warm, European flavoured Branzino. If you can’t choose, how about one on Friday, one on Saturday and the other on Sunday? Then stroll up from Old Montréal to downtown for… / Read More →

20 great reasons to visit Montréal in 2016

Because the food is fabulous 1. Get ready to roll out the red carpet and welcome Joël Robuchon, who starting in fall 2016 will be tickling our taste buds at Atelier, in the Montréal Casino on beautiful Île Notre-Dame. The famed French chef has 28 Michelin stars to his name—want to bet Atelier garners him more? 2. There are dozens upon dozens of award winning restaurants in La Belle Ville, including Joe Beef, Au Pied de Cochon, Park, Toqué, Laloux, Pastaga, Lawrence, Le Bremner, Le Serpent, Chez Lévêque, Foodlab… the city is your oyster. Find other suggestions here. 3. Montréal’s festivals are renowned, and some of them are tasty as heck. There’s a mouth-watering calendar of food fests, from Poutine Week in February to Happy November! in, well November, not to mention our very special restaurant week, MTL à TABLE, which brings flavour to the end of October every year by joining dozens of local restaurants together to offer prix-fixe menus that give everyone a chance to enjoy their out-of-sight delights. Come taste for yourself! Because it never sleeps 4. With a promoter like Evenko, Montréal doesn’t miss a thing. Not only do they put on world-famous festivals Osheaga and Heavy… / Read More →

Glitzy girls’ weekend in Montréal

For the best kind of girls’ getaway, you need a simple yet essential list of ingredients: 1) No men; 2) Lots of pampering; 3) Great spots to gab (and laugh like idiots); 4) Amazing food and drinks; and 5) Chocolate. Lots of chocolate. You’re in luck: Montréal has got it all, against the backdrop of an incredibly culture-rich city you’ll fall in love with for all kinds of other reasons too. SATURDAY Brunching There’s nothing better to get the weekend rolling than brunch, and Montréal knows brunch. Choose from a sophisticated menu (tipples included) at Le Comptoir on St-Laurent or a heartier eggs-n-bacon style selection at Fabergé (try the breakfast poutine!) in Mile End – and did we mention the gazillion options downtown? If you’re in Old Montreal, let the gabbing begin at Le Cartet, a beautiful space on McGill Avenue that serves punchy coffee, delicious mimosas and a dish that involves crêpes topped with fruit coulis and nut-and-maple French with apple butter and blueberries, plus a bowl of homemade granola. Whaaa? Yes. Learning Oh, chocolate, how we love thee. One of the funnest things to do in Montréal is learn stuff – you really know a trip will stay… / Read More →

Tenth hour? 12 shops for last-minute holiday gifts in Montréal!

We know it: You had the best of intentions. You started thinking about it in November! But now you’re down to the wire, the holidays are days away, and you haven’t bought gifts for any of the dozen people on your list. Fear not: you’re in a shopping mecca! Montréal has got it all, the perfect thing for everyone from your second cousin to the lady who walks your dog. Here are 12 stores for the 12 days of Christmas, and the three seconds you have left to buy gifts. For toys and board games and more Valet d’coeur is a jam-packed mainstay on St-Denis that brims with hundreds of board games (in both English and French), puzzles, Dungeons and Dragons dice, miniature lead figurines and gaming cards. For crafts, art supplies and toys Brault & Bouthillier is known by schools, which it supplies, but this giant store on Beaumont is a secret source of art supplies, craft supplies, stuffed toys, balls, books, stickers, puppets, costumes… there isn’t much they don’t have. For cool knickknacks and home beautification One of the coolest things about the Quebec home wares chain Zone Maison is how it constantly reinvents itself to keep up… / Read More →

5 Montréal essentials: gifts for your holiday list

‘Tis the season of giving – which sadly, doesn’t always mean the season of inspiration! So let us lend you a hand. Here are five special, thoughtful, made-in-Montréal gift ideas for all the people on your list, from your man to your momma. (Just call us Santa.) For your toasty girlfriend We know, she’s hot already, but Montréal’s winter weather might try to cool her down a bit. Keep her comfy and warm with a designer hand-knit accessory (or five) from Montréal’s Atelier Cliché – which is anything but. Find Atelier Cliché online here. Starting at $40 For your stylish boyfriend The awesome range of Montréal themed T-shirts, sweats, beanies and caps at Le Cartel will make you want to deck out all your buddies from head to toe. And yourself while you’re at it! This local collective is always adding new artists to its roster. Find Le Cartel goodies online here, or in person at the holiday Puces POP market, from December 11 to 13, 2015. T-shirts starting at $25.99 For the best mom in the world Presenting your mom with a sweet she doesn’t have to cook can be the most thoughtful gift. Bring over one of the… / Read More →

It’s pele-mele in the mall! Black Friday shopping in Montréal

Shopoholics take note! Black Friday doesn’t just happen south of the border. Lots of major Montréal malls and shops will be serving up their best sales of the year. In other words: WE’RE HEADING TO THE MALL! Here’s who’s dishing out the deals.Complexe Desjardins Right across Sainte-Catherine Street from Place des Arts (and joined by an underground tunnel), Complexe Desjardins has clothing shops, accessories emporiums and a great food court. Find great deals at Le Château (think 30% off) and Reitmans, where the reduced prices reach even higher. Or lower. You know what we mean. At RW&Co, there’s an extra 50% on the items already on sale, plus insane surprise deals on regular-priced items over the whole Thanksgiving period. Somebody, stop us! Promenades de la Cathédrale At McGill metro station, the Promenades boast affordable stores year-round. Get your holiday table dressings at house ware store Linen Chest, who’ve been known to slash prices by a whopping 50% on selected items on past Black Fridays. It’s hard to imagine street wear chain Urban Planet getting any kinder to our wallets, but it is: deals will reach up to 50% off! Pick out the perfect ugly Xmas sweater while you’re there. Tristan… / Read More →

Don’t whine, have wine! 10 places to drink up in Montréal

Wine is in Montréal’s blood, partly because it’s a bacchanalian sort of party town, partly because of its French heritage. But restaurants and wine bars go way beyond the limits of the Old Country today, with private-import wine lists from around the globe that inspire both oenophiles and weekend tipplers to open their minds and palettes. Here are some awesome spots to clink glasses. Philémon Bar The wine list at this stylish hangout may be short, but it hits all the marks and offers 16 choices by glass, plus it pairs perfectly with the tasty dishes so beloved by the hungry crowd of Old Montréal partyers. Try the beef tartare with smoked jalapeno sauce with a 2013 Pot d’vache Gamay from the Loire Valley. Cul-Sec Named after the French expression for “down the hatch,” this small wine hub in Little Italy invites people to take their organic, natural and artisanal wines to go (with a meal), or to sit down for a glass and a deceptively simple plateful of deliciousness, ranging from satisfying salads to decadent sandwiches (the boneless BBQ rib bun is not to be missed). Le Comptoir Nestled in a narrow storefront on the Plateau, this “comptoir à… / Read More →

Get the star treatment at Montréal’s boutique hotels

The kind of luxury reserved to a boutique hotel is all about the particulars – the property’s aesthetic, the amenities, the unique touches that are offered only there. Treat yourself to the personalized experiences hidden all over the downtown core, at Montréal’s beautiful boutique hotels, and start building lifelong travel memories. Le Place d’Armes Hôtel & Suites Located a few steps away from the Notre-Dame Cathedral, this Old Montréal hotel in a stunningly retrofitted 19th century building has a lively nightlife at Suite 707 and the rooftop bar, plus Japanese dining at the Kyo Bar Japonais. The great perks for guests include free wine and cheese tastings. Hôtel Nelligan On St-Paul in the heart of Old Montréal, this property boasts one of the city’s most stunning views from the rooftop deck. Settle in for an outdoor tête à tête in the summer, or in cooler months, sink deep into one of the armchairs in the lobby or the happening eatery, Méchant Boeuf. Reserve a room with a view onto the impressive Atrium. Auberge du Vieux Port Another hotel with a fantastic rooftop! Because of its location facing the St-Lawrence River and the Old Port, nothing beats watching the weekly fireworks… / Read More →

Get shopping at Montréal’s indie fall and winter markets

This city is a creative volcano, constantly erupting with new things to do, see and buy. There’s no better place to start for the latter than in the Montréal’s indie markets, especially around the holiday period, when they rev up their offerings of independent fashion, design, décor, jewellery and more. So save your green, it’s time to paint the town red! Marché des ateliers Capitol: November 13-14 Get your fash on at this market uniting 30 local designers in the Capitol building, in a two-storey space in the heart of Mile End. Capitol regulars will be on the spot, including women’s wear designer Betina Lou, unisex accessories brand Cantin and kids brand Romarine. There’ll also be guest designers, like the cute sweatshirt makers La Montréalaise Atelier, dress designer Valérie Dumaine and menswear brand Of Sharks & Men. Come of Friday night for wine, bites and music by DJ Noah Bick. Expozine: November 14-15, 2015 An indie fair like no other, Expozine is organized by Archive Montreal, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and preserving local independent culture. This ode to the printed page unites hundreds of tables full of zines, comics, novels, poems, postcards and posters by publishers including Drawn… / Read More →

5 Montréal essentials: tasty treats

We’re celebrating food this month in Montréal. (Actually, we never stop celebrating it). The point is, the timing is ripe to profile five of the most fantastic flavour designers we’ve come across as of late. There are artisans for everything in this gastronomically daring city – from spicy peanut butter to fancy cocktail elixirs! So keep some space in your luggage for these mouth watering souvenirs. Cafiti Cafiti has become well known for their tasty products and beautiful presentation, which make the perfect hostess gift or souvenir – if you can bear to part with them! There are delicate meringues, crunchy bread sticks, pretty champagne vinegar pearls and our favourite, the savoury veggie preserves, which will breathe new life into any sandwich. Try the sweet and crunchy bread and butter pickles, the green pepper jelly or the sumac and chilli olives. Find Cafiti products online here, or in person at fine food retailers including select IGAs, select Metros and Fromagerie Hamel (Jean-Talon Market). Products starting at $3.95 MixIt At a loss for someone’s birthday present? How about a personalized tube of cereal? It may sound weird at first, but with the gorgeous packaging (complete with the name of the giftee)… / Read More →