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SOFITEL MONTREAL : A CLASS ACT

Seriously.  There’s absolutely no gimmick in that “five stars” rating. Everything at the Sofitel hits you as being top of the line.  Starting with the service. Four clés d’or concierges  (one of them being the actual vice-president of the international union) make sure every single customer gets what they want, when they want it.  The decorum adopted by the staff speaks for itself: the moment you step in, the staff makes you feel like royalty.

THE LGBT PACKAGE: IF YOU’RE GAY, THEN YOU DESERVE A DISCOUNT

It’s no secret that the gay community has an affinity for packages. Many people are drawn to a big package, but really, it’s the quality of the package that truly determines its worth. Tourisme Montreal is offering a discount on a hotel rooms, and throwing in some pretty stellar coupons to up the ante.

DOWNTOWN BEAUTY BARS

GET GLAMMED UP WITH THE GIRLS – OR GO SOLO Sometimes all you need is an express mani or basic facial. Other times you need a slow, luxurious treatment to go with your girly gabfest. (Foot scrub, leg massage plus French pedicure, anyone?) Of course, it doesn’t hurt to add a cocktail or two in there. Either way you choose to glam-it-up, a string of beauty bars have recently opened in the downtown core. All of them also offer exclusive or hard-to-find product lines for sale; so why not throw in a little shopping while you’re there?

RIDM – THE MONTREAL INTERNATIONAL DOCUMENTARY FESTIVAL

Known as the RIDM, the Montreal International Documentary Festival showcases more than 100 documentaries from 37 different countries. It also brings more than 60 of these film’s directors to the city for Q&As, master classes, panels and more. Taking place from November 10-21, RIDM proves that reality is often more hard-hitting, heart-wrenching and/or hilarious than fiction…

NOVEMBER CONCERTS ROUNDUP

November (or, Movember as it’s increasingly become known) is an important month for Montreal music lovers, because once we hit December, everything starts coming up all Nutcrackers and Handel’s Messiahs. From legendary DJs to the Biebs, there’s something for almost every concertgoer this November…

CINEMANIA FRENCH FILM FESTIVAL

Since the Montreal Buzz is a blog aimed at an English audience, the Cinemania French Film Festival, which takes place from November 4-14, might seem like a bit of a tough sell. But fear not bilingually-challenged readers, this fest is also informally known as Montreal’s Subtitled French Film Fest… I think we can all agree that dubbed movies are for philistines. I find dubbing only acceptable in kung-fu movies and that’s directly because of how hilariously awful the final product is. Cinemania, instead, has been showcasing some of the best French movies being made in the world for 16 years now. This year they’ve got thirty films from Quebec, France, Algeria, Chad, Belgium and Austria- check the full schedule here. Or, if you trust me, consider some of the films that looked interesting to me… FYI: All movies are being screened at the totally gorgeous Imperial Theatre.

HOLIDAY INN SELECT: CHINATOWN

Many people chose to travel to Montreal because it has that delicious French flare that can’t be found elsewhere in North America. It’s like going to Europe, but cheaper. But Montreal is more than delicious baguettes and passionate romance and beautiful women with French accents. It’s a hub of international cultures, and the Chinese community plays an important role in the ethnic and cultural diversity of the city.

LET IT SNOW – WARM UP TO WINTER IN ECO-FUR

Fur is fabulous – and recycled fur is even more so. Montreal designer Mariouche Gagné has carved a cosy little niche for herself and called it “Ecoluxe.” At Harricana, her beautiful all-white boutique near the Atwater Market, shoppers can sift through racks and shelves of re-cycled fur products: everything from full-length coats to chic aviator hats to cuddly teddy bears.

STREET PROFILE: CRESCENT

To date, the Montreal Street Profile series has strolled up Bleury and Parc, across Maisonneuve, Saint-Paul and Saint-Zotique. Up next, we take a walk down Crescent, a downtown street I haven’t spent much time on since being an undergrad… When completing my undergraduate degree at Concordia, I spent many afternoon “group study sessions” on this street. Even then I generally avoided the wildness of Crescent Street at night. It’s just not my thing. But, based on how packed it is (despite being the shortest street we’ve profiled), I’m willing to concede that it is clearly many other people’s thing. Writing about a street you haven’t visited in a while is daunting, so thank goodness that my new colleague Patricia Gajo was on hand to hip me to the fact that, while the old faithfuls remain, there have been some new developments on the street named for the shape it was in 1860…

BUSINESS BLACKBOOK: WHERE TO EAT YOUR NEXT POWER LUNCH

Toqué is arguably Montreal’s most revered restaurant. It is a white tablecloth institution that has long been known for its fabulous service, contemporary décor, and extraordinary tasting menus. I’ve celebrated some special occasions here, including a very romantic Valentine’s Day dinner. (Note to any gentlemen readers: My date got bonus points for having superb taste in venues.)