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French music mania: Shows to see at Les FrancoFolies

The universal language of music gets a French twist at the 28th edition of Les FrancoFolies de Montréal, June 9-18 – and you don’t have to speak French to rock out, dance and even sing along with fans at these shows by artists from Montréal to Paris to North Africa. Orchestral heights Hot on the heels of cutting-edge art and music festivals MUTEK, ELEKTRA and TransAmériques, Les FrancoFolies give us something different too: The Montréal Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Simon Leclerc, welcomes musician Arthur H and  Serge Gainsbourg’s muse and companion Jane Birkin in Gainsbourg Symphonique, a performance of the iconic French artist’s best known and loved songs, marking the 25th anniversary of Gainsbourg’s death. Charming Québécois artist Alexandre Désilets also brings an orchestra on stage for his mysterious new electro-pop show marking the release of album Windigo. And Juno award-winner Karim Ouellet adds musicians on acoustic guitars, brass and strings, boosting his soulful, quirky electro-pop further into joyous territory. Soulful singer-songwriters World music, trip hop and rock meet poetry and politics in the music of Emel Mathlouthi, a Tunisian singer-songwriter who sings her songs of peace and revolution in French, English and Arab and comes to Francofolies with a… / Read More →

An unforgettable bachelorette in Montréal

Ladies! Hands up if you think planning bachelorette party is all about kinky headbands and copious amounts of alcohol…. Well, it’s time for you to update your idea of a girl’s day out because here in Montréal, we’ve got a hundred other things you can do to make this a day t0 remember for your bride-to-be. And hey, if naughty headgear and brightly coloured cocktails are your thing, then never fear – we’ve got those too! Gastronomic Bachelorette For a day perfect for female foodies, start with a sunrise breakfast cruise with Bateau Mouche, then hook up with the in-the-know guides at Montréal Craft Beer Tours or Round Table Tours,  where you can learn about some of Montréal’s trendiest neighborhoods while tasting everything from local chocolate to craft beer. If you’re starting to feel full, mix it up with a cocktail class at Ateliers Saveurs, or one of the city’s fantastic cooking classes such as the macarons workshops at The Lincoln Apartment Bakery or a pasta class at Mezza Luna. Finish your culinary journey at one of Montréal’s many gourmet restaurants (we like the charming Chambre à Part), then, if the gourmet day hasn’t gotten the better of you, slip… / Read More →

Experience Montréal in the lap of luxury

Looking for pampering? You’re in the right place. Montréal gets a ton of high-fallutin’ international guests every year, whether it’s Jazz Fest musicians, pop superstars, Formula One racers or star hockey players. Hell, even visiting comedians need paraffin mani-pedis! The result? Our service industry is poised to satisfy your every need and make your trip to La Belle Ville the most memorable it can be. Here’s your cheat sheet to the best things in life. SLEEP WELL High-end stays abound in Montréal, for all the reasons mentioned above. From Madonna to Aretha Franklin to Lady Gaga, we’ve hosted all the divas! Exacting guests flock to the gorgeously redesigned Ritz-Carlton Montréal, where you can leave your classically appointed suite and be at La Maison Ogilvy in five minutes flat.
 Hôtel Le St. James is probably the city’s most luxurious stay, nestled in a historic Old Montréal building appointed with priceless antiques. Loews Hôtel Vogue, Hôtel Le Crystal and InterContinental Montréal are perfect downtown pied-à-terres, with incredibly comfortable rooms and great bars and restaurants. To be within seconds of the Old Port, you’ll want to stay at either the sleekly contemporary Hotel Gault, Hotel Nelligan (the rooftop terrasse bar is a must),… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal March 11 to 17

As much as Montréal loves its winter festivals and snow sports, the city welcomes spring with open arms – we’re feeling a hint of it this week as restaurants roll out new dishes, film festivals and art events open our eyes on the world, our sports teams fight to the finish, and dance, theatre and live music keep us inspired. Spring sights and sports With winter festivals over and the city starting to thaw out, thoughts of spring are in the air – see our Guide to Spring Break Montréal Style for high-energy nightlife and restaurant ideas or find all kinds of things to do with kids of all ages in our Spring Break for families in Montréal guide. Downtown’s underground city welcomes art lovers to do some shopping and see excellent contemporary art in expansive exhibition Art Souterrain. Celebrate the luck of the Irish on on March 17 at the city’s best Irish pubs, see the Olympic Stadium tower lit up in green, and stick around for Montréal’s legendary St-Patrick’s Day Parade on March 20. In sports action, the hockey season isn’t over for the Montréal Canadiens – they play the Wild on March 11 and the Panthers on… / Read More →

OSM highlights for spring and summer 2016

The internationally-revered Orchestre symphonique de Montréal continues its blockbuster 2015-2016 season with a major 10-city U.S. tour that runs from March 14 to 26 to mark the 10th season of Grammy-winning Maestro Kent Nagano as OSM music director. The program will include Stravinsky’s immortal The Rite of Spring which audiences in Montréal can see the OSM perform first at the Maison Symphonique de Montréal at Place des Arts, from March 8 to 10. There are also several other must-see concerts to wind down the OSM’s 82nd season: French conductor Alain Altinoglu will appear for the first time with the OSM, in Holst’s The Planets as well as works by Simon Bertrand, Scott Good and Jeffrey Ryan (April 12, 13 and 14); while Finnish conductor Jukka-Pekka Saraste will be heard in Shostakovich’s Eighth Symphony (April 20 and 21). Also, Russian conductor Vasily Petrenko will make a much-anticipated return to the OSM in Mahler’s Symphony No. 1, “Titan” (May 11 and 12). Music lovers and film buffs will also enjoy the program Dina Gilbert and Movie Soundtracks with Dina Gilbert, OSM assistant conductor, and legendary Québec actor and the evening’s host, Rémy Girard (April 26). This concert is presented without projections. The Toronto Symphony… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: March 4 to 10

Where better to be in winter than in Montréal? Immerse yourself in the entertainment and culinary arts of the MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE winter festival, the city’s all-ages Spring Break activities, hockey games and Barbegazi sports, dance, theatre, film, art and live music. Brighten up MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE keeps downtown bright and bustling until March 5 with music and theatrical performances, extraordinary meals (including pay-their-age prices for kids), and a free outdoor site at downtown’s Place des Festivals featuring multimedia shows, ice slides, a Ferris wheel, a zip line, fabulous food and more – get the inside scoop with our MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE SURVIVAL GUIDE. Art lovers can do some shopping and see excellent contemporary art throughout the underground city during winter exhibition Art Souterrain. Consult our Guide to Spring Break Montréal Style for high-energy nightlife and restaurant ideas. On the glittering ice at the Bell Centre, watch the Canadiens play the Stars on March 8 and the Sabres on March 10. And make your visit even smoother with these Montreal-specific apps. Delightful menus Along with the many fine dining options at MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE, sit down to a gourmet meal during restaurant festival Relâche Gourmande, highlighting special table d’hôte menus… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: February 26 to March 3

This week everyone’s talking about Nuit Blanche, Montréal’s city-wide all-nighter event with free music, theatrical performances, art exhibitions and more, part of the MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE winter festival. Add to that Spring Break activities for all ages, butterfly spotting, the games festival, dance, theatre, film, art and live music. All night long Spend the night of February 27 out of the town with thousands of jubilant Montrealers – and do it just right with our Nuit Blanche Survival Guide, letting you in on what it’s all about and what not to miss, from circus acrobatics and African dance to YouTube battles, NFB documentaries, the Karnival dance party and must-see contemporary art event Art Souterrain throughout the underground city. Nuit Blanche highlights Montréal’s biggest family-friendly festival of the season, MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE, featuring music and theatrical performances, culinary feasts and workshops, and a free outdoor site at downtown’s Place des Festivals with music, multimedia shows, ice slides, a Ferris wheel, fabulous food and more – get the inside scoop with our MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE SURVIVAL GUIDE. And if you’re technically inclined, make your visit smoother with these Montreal-specific apps. Urban outdoors Whether you’re outdoors or having an indoor day, find something… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: February 19 to 25

Montréal’s downtown sparkles with free entertainment this week at the MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE winter festival, while indoors you can go butterfly spotting, play games at the games festival, watch hockey, and see stars of dance, theatre, film, art and live music shine. Snowy celebrations Montréal’s biggest family-friendly festival of the season is in full swing: MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE’s free outdoor site fills downtown’s Place des Festivals with music, multimedia shows, ice slides, a Ferris wheel, fabulous food and more, while the festival’s indoor performances highlight musical performances and theatre – let our MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE SURVIVAL GUIDE lead the way. Go for a scenic skate next to the Saint-Lawrence River at the Bonsecours Basin ice skating rink in the Old Port and at the Village MAMMOUTH at the Olympic Park Esplanade. Talk a walk through nature right in the city in Mount Royal, La Fontaine and Jean-Drapeau parks. And make it all easier with these Montreal-specific apps. Indoor activities Spring is truly in the air at the Botanical Garden’s Butterflies Go Free event at the Space For Life (also home to the Biodôme, Insectarium and Planetarium) – this year butterflies share the spotlight with furry caterpillars. Game lovers of all ages can play board games,… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: February 12 to 18

Montréal pairs Valentine’s sparkle with glittering winter entertainment this week – the city’s top restaurants and hotels ready for romance, and the MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE winter festival kicks off, along with inspiring international ballet, contemporary dance, art, theatre, film and live music. City lights Winter, spring, summer or fall, we’re counting the ways Montréal warms our hearts – and this week’s kickoff of massive winter festival MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE has us all fired up. Opening Thursday, February 18, the family-friendly festival’s free outdoor site entertains with multimedia shows, ice slides, a Ferris wheel, fabulous food and more, while indoors see dozens of musicians and performers, including Swiss Maestro Charles Dutoit and Argentine pianist Martha Argerich with the Montréal Symphony Orchestra at Place des Arts February 18 and 20. Day or night, skate next to the Saint-Lawrence River at the Bonsecours Basin ice skating rink in the Old Port and at the Village MAMMOUTH at the Olympic Park Esplanade. Also near the Olympic Park, the wonders of the natural world await at the Space For Life, home to the Biodôme, Botanical Garden and Planetarium – the Botanical Garden’s Butterflies Go Free exhibit opens February 18, this year butterflies share the spotlight… / Read More →

Things to do in Montréal: January 22 to 28

We’ll never underestimate Montréal’s capacity to turn winter into a vacation-destination party – this week, it’s time to play in the snow at Parc Jean-Drapeau’s Fêtes des Neiges, dance the night away at Igloofest, eat well at Happening Gourmand, and be awed by dance, theatre, film, and live music. Winter stays bright in Montréal this weekend at family-friendly Fêtes des neiges, where you can go tube sliding, zip lining, ice skating, hot-chocolate drinking and doughnut-eating to your heart’s content at scenic Parc Jean-Drapeau. Put on your brightest and warmest toque and parka and get ready to dance at massive outdoor dance party Igloofest – this Friday it’s Scuba and Jimmy Edgar, Rone and other artists while on Saturday hear the sounds of Maceo Plex, Odd Parents, Pierre Kwenders and more along with eye-popping visuals – and it all starts again on Thursday night with Mr. Oizo, Black Tiger Sex Machine and more! – at the Jacques Cartier Pier in the Old Port. Downtown at Place des Festivals, play on the 30 illuminated see-saws of interactive art exhibition Luminothérapie or head out to the Olympic Park (also home to the Biôdome, Botanical Garden and Planetarium) to skate and slide at Village MAMMOUTH…. / Read More →