Every once in a while something absolutely fabulous is introduced into our lives, and we are left wondering how we possibly survived without it. For instance, can anyone really remember how we maintained our fierceness before Lady Gaga? Montreal’s newest chic bistro, NüVü, has arrived. And she’s wearing designer duds.
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Boutiques might have unveiled their fall collections, but don’t be fooled – summer is not over yet!!! Here are eight delightful things to do in Montreal before we kick into fall romance.
The Montreal Jazz Festival is the largest jazz festival in the world. Musical giants such as Ray Charles, Miles Davis, Stevie Wonder, Ella Fitzgerald and James Brown have all captivated crowds since the festival’s debut edition in 1980. Today, more than 2 million people attend the Montreal Jazz Festival yearly. But the Jazz Fest is not just about music – it’s about life’s pleasures. And truth is, there’s nothing like a bit of jazz to awake my yearning for a glass – or two – of lilac wine. As famous saxophonist Steve Lacy once said: “Jazz is like wine. When it is new, it is only for the experts, but when it gets older, everybody wants it”. Well, the popular Montreal Jazz Festival is now 31 years-old and well above Quebec’s drinking age. Here are some cool places near the festivites to get your sip on!
There are some events in Montreal, like for example the F-1, that locals often avoid. But when it comes to this week-end’s “Main Madness”, when all of St-Laurent is closed off to traffic, even the most cynical of Montrealers can usually find something to do… In my opinion this is because Main Madness, also known as the Street Sale, can be an entirely different experience depending on where you are on St-Laurent. If you want champagne and snootily gorgeous waitresses, head to the area just above Sherbrooke for the terrasses that extend out from spots like Buona Notte and the nearby oyster bars set up on the street. If you want DJs and a slight wilder scene, head to the area outside bars like Korova and spots like Laika .
Meet Sugar Sammy. He’s that Montrealer of Indian background who makes a living telling jokes in English, French, Hindu and Punjabi (unfortunately, I can only attest of his funniness in the first two languages). Although he’s always on tour somewhere in Canada, the United States or soon in France, Sugar still deeply loves his hometown – Montreal – where he still lives with his parents (!) in the colourful Côte-Des-Neiges neighbourhood. We met him in Jeanne-Mance park to hear about his favourites city spots… and incidentally get a flirting lesson Sugar Sammy Style. You’ll soon understand that this ladies man doesn’t take himself too seriously.
Can you infuse a drink with Montreal’s DNA? Pol Brisset is a 35 years old passionnate – and experienced – brewer who believes so. He created the MTL Premium Lager to export his vision of the city’s creativity, refinement and Joie de vivre. I met him to hear the story behind the design of this tasty brew, to admire its see-through-font-loving bottle… and to enjoy a little liquid lunch!
Ladies and gents, say hello to Candi Bar, the latest brainchild of Paulo Branco, owner of the already legendary Montreal bars: Gogo Lounge and Chez Serge Bar. Made out of 80,000 pink and purple Mega Bloks (Canada’s legos), Candi Bar is hands down the ultimate nightlife destination (nightlife fans should check out this sweet deal on show tickets from La Vitrine) for any gal who appreciates original drinks and playful design. And you know if all the girls are going, logically, that means it will also be celebrated by the boys. Let’s see how long it takes them to start sipping on slushy pink cocktails!
Meet Julien Smith. He’s that hip NYT bestselling author who wrote the book “Trust Agents” with Chris Brogan. Long before that, he was that avant-garde podcasting kid who knew (and still knows) much more about the web than both you and I. According to the Montreal boutiques where he shops (see video for Julien’s fashion confessions), I decided to make the assumption that Julien is now rich. But don’t be fooled. The Twitter fame and designer plaid don’t mean that Julien is migrating to glamorous LA. In fact, Julien loves Montreal so much, it only made sense I ask him about his favorite spots in the city. You’ll find all his answers in the video, with links and addresses below.
Montreal is the perfect destination for anyone living in North America looking for a significant change of scenery without having to travel to the end of the world. It is only an hour flight from New York or Toronto, yet feels a lot more like a trip to Europe. On top of saving on plane ticket fees and jetlag ramifications, you’ll be happy to hear that Montreal is also a very affordable city. With its vibrant cultural scene and bountiful summer festivals, Montreal has all it takes to offer you a memorable time without breaking the bank. Here are some ideas for a sensational Montreal trip on the cheap!
With better known Montréal destinations like St-Laurent and St-Denis, rue de Bleury ( locals drop the rue de, when they talk of the street), might seem like an odd place to start a series of street profiles. But for those in the know, Bleury is a perfect little stretch of Montréal nightlife…