I’m all for cosying up by the fire on a cold winter’s day, but when the High Lights Festival (Le Festival Montréal en Lumière), now in its 12th year, rolls into town, I’m out and about. Dubbed a party for the senses, there are really three parties wrapped into one…
First and foremost, let’s take care of the foodies. The Wine and Dine event invites international chefs to pair-up with our own gastronomic experts and serve wondrous meals tag-team style on their local tables. Usually there’s a spotlight on a specific country (last year was Portugal), but this year they’re thinking a little differently and “Celebrating Women.” I’ve got my reservation at La Cocagne to delve into the Latin cuisine of famed Mexican chef Mónica Patiño. Nothing like a hot chilli to warm the soul. There will also be wine and cheese events to snack on.
Next up is for you culture hounds. This year, in keeping with the “ladies” theme, the Performing Arts program has two honorary co-presidents: French actress (and Chanel muse) Carole Bouquet with Opera Diva (diva in the best sense) Marie-Josée Lord. The impressive concert line-up includes Vanessa Paradis and Melissa Ethridge, among many others. And we still haven’t even touched on the modern dance performances or fine art exhibits!
Last, but certainly not least, there are tons of mostly-free urban activities, including the High Lights event, now an annual visual and sound extravaganza held on the first Saturday of the fest (this year: Feb. 19) in the Old Port and around Old Montreal. Great for families, but don’t forget to bundle up the kiddies! The festival closes with the infamous All Nighter (La Nuit Blanche) on the 26th, where the whole city stays awake (read: parties!) from 8pm-6am with interactive art and music. You can check out all of them (hopping from one to the next on the subway or the free shuttle) or stay put and get cosy. Last year, I stumbled upon some amazing Opera Karaoke at Places des Arts metro station. The singers pretty much put American Idol to shame, so don’t think you’ll be missing out on much by turning off the TV. The festival awaits!
(TIP: Check out our great High Lights Festival Package)
February 17-27, 2011
High Lights Festival