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Your Montréal Nuit blanche Survival Guide

Calling all nighthawks, night owls and burners of midnight oil. The once-a-year, all-night, nearly citywide arts, culture and performance party that is Nuit blanche is nearly upon us. It’s a vast undertaking with almost innumerable options and opportunities, and with that in mind, we offer you this guide to one of Montreal’s brightest winter nights. THE EVENT The 13th edition off Nuit blanche, part of the annual MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE winter arts and culture festival at locations all over downtown Montréal and surrounding neighbourhoods, starting on February 27 and ending in the wee hours of February 28. WHAT YOU’RE GETTING YOURSELF INTO One of the highlights of MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE is the always illuminating, always epic Nuit blanche all-nighter. Nuit blanche (“white night”) invites all comers to partake in upwards of 200 (mostly free) activities this year, including live music, film, dance, performance art, interactive installations, storytelling, digital and visual art, and great food to match a great night. IT’S WHERE EXACTLY? Almost everywhere MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE’s family-friendly free outdoor site in the downtown Quartier des Spectacles is the central hub from which all the action radiates. The site features a giant outdoor stage, interactive installations, dining areas, numerous fun activities (we don’t need… / Read More →

Your MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE Survival Guide

Cold weather festing hath no fury like the ever-strengthening MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE winter arts and culture festival, which brightens moods and sets downtown Montréal alight with excitement each and every year. A blizzard of entertainment and activities awaits visitors at both indoor and outdoor locales, so let this be your guide to navigating the storm. THE EVENT The 17th edition of the MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE winter arts and culture festival at various locations in downtown Montréal from February 18 to March 5, 2016. WHAT YOU’RE GETTING YOURSELF INTO Over the course of 17 days, MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE will enjoy some 1,300,000 visits from fearless fun seekers at what has become one of the largest winter festivals in the world. The annual happening hosts an expansive, eclectic and high-powered program of performing arts (live music, theatre, dance, circus arts and more) at many of the city’s best venues. There are also almost innumerable gastronomic options (some 500 chefs, wine producers and culinary experts have participated over the years) and a lively range of events and activities on the action-packed outdoor site that visitors can participate in. THE LAY OF THE LAND Where everything’s happening The almost 200 paid indoor performances and… / Read More →

Spring Break for families

Whether your kids want to get out in the snow or play games indoors, find fun, memorable and even free things to do for every kid at every age during Spring Break in Montréal, February 27 to March 6. Free for the whole family Downtown Montréal sparkles during MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE, February 18 to March 5, especially at the winter festival’s free outdoor site outside Place des Arts in the Quartier des spectacles – ride an illuminated ice slide and Ferris wheel, play games and activities, roast marshmallows over fire pits, see music and circus performances and much more. On February 27, let the kids stay up late for all-nighter event Nuit Blanche, with indoor and outdoor activities and entertainment for all ages. Check out the art brightening up underground passageways linking downtown Montréal skyscrapers and malls (Complexe Desjardins, Place Ville Marie, Place Montréal Trust, Centre Eaton) during Art Souterrain. Outdoors, walk, run, snowshoe or cross-country ski in the city’s big parks – Mount Royal, La Fontaine and Jean-Drapeau – on March 2 watch the world’s top cross-country skiers compete in Ski Tour Canada 2016, with Mount Royal’s Beaver Lake Pavilion the start and finish point. And explore nature beyond the city centre at the… / Read More →

Montréal winter nights are bright with activity possibilities

Nighttime is always the right time for both family fun and slightly more adult-oriented activities and entertainment in Montréal during the winter season. Gliding on ice under night skies is a sublime pastime at the Old Port’s idyllic Bonsecours Basin skating rink, a huge open-air surface renowned for its exceptional ice. It features some of the most striking views of Old Montréal and the city skyline in an extremely fun-friendly environment. Each day has a different music theme: classical Mondays, world music Tuesdays, urban sounds Wednesdays, and so on. The ice is open Monday to Wednesday until 9 pm, and Thursday to Sunday until 10 pm. Skate rentals and lockers are available. Many of Montréal’s most beautiful parks also feature night skating along with music, warming stations and/or places to eat and, er, lubricate. The picturesque Parc Lafontaine, Parc Maisonneuve and Beaver Lake on the summit of Mount Royal are all examples of top-tier blading places that typically stay open on the weekends until 10 pm. For locations, skating conditions and other info, please go here. Speaking of the mountain, Mount Royal Park is an outdoor winter sports enthusiast’s dream. In addition to skating, sledding and cross-country skiing – there… / 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 →

10 New Year’s resolutions you’ll keep… in Montréal

Whether we make them every year or we’ve sworn off them for life, New Year’s Resolutions can haunt us – the trick is to make your yearly promises as fun-loving as possible. And since Montréal is decidedly fun-loving, it’s easy to follow through on those quintessential New Year’s resolutions any time of the year. Eat a multi-course meal Eating is necessary to life, whether you’ve made a “lose-weight” resolution or not, and five-course meals aren’t something most of us enjoy every day – so why not dig in to Montréal’s best prix-fixe menus at award-winning hotel and independent gourmet restaurants serving delicious local creations, authentic French food, special late-night menus, and so much more. If you visit in late fall, take advantage of the slashed prices at dozens of restaurants during the MTL à TABLE Montréal restaurant week. If you’re here in February, look for gourmet specials at MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE. And from late February to early April, experience the Québec cabane à sucre sugar shack tradition. Drink the good stuff There’s no time like the present in Montréal to splurge on that cask-aged whiskey or gorgeous bottle of wine you’ve been dreaming about. Taste rare single malts and more… / Read More →

MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE leaves the lights on even longer this year

The autumn leaves are barely off the trees, the first flurries have so far only teased, but winter festival MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE is already planning a “blizzard” of arts and entertainment. Their freshly announced programming includes surprises in every corner of performance – music, theatre, dance, circus and more – and some welcome news for those who can’t get enough of Montréal’s cold-weather fun fest. MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE, which annually attracts some 1,300,000 visitors, is already one of the largest winter festivals in the world, and now it will be one of the longest. The 2016 edition jumps from 11 to 17 days, February 18 to March 5, in order for families to take full advantage of the midwinter school break. Also new, as it is every year, is the festival’s featured country or city, and this year MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE will celebrate Shenzhen, China. One of the world’s most rapidly developing urban centers, Shenzhen (population 10 million) is a UNESCO City of Design and a major arts and culture hub, making it a fascinating ambassador for the many Chinese-themed events at the festival. First among these is the Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra – presenting Chinese and European classical works celebrating… / Read More →

Things to do in Montreal: February 26 to March 4

Yes, yes, y’all, it’s Nuit Blanche! This Saturday brings with it the best excuse to stay up all night since the last Star Trek marathon on Space TV. Grab your friends and family and hit the streets and cultural centres of the Montréal, open all night and jam-packed with special programming. All-night art The only bad thing about Nuit Blanche is figuring out how to divide your time – there’s just that much to do. The best strategy this Saturday, February 28, is to start with all your favourite places, whether that’s the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, Phi Centre, the Olympic Stadium, Fonderie Darling or the Belgo Building, because you’ll get to access them for free. Plus you can be sure they’ll be pulling out all the stops for this special night with unusual and exciting programming, whether that’s live music, workshops, free performances and more. But afterwards, it’s time to discover. Nuit Blanche is really about broadening your perspectives, while having a good time, so an adventurous attitude is de mise. This year you might be tempted by the film screening night at Nouveau Palais restaurant. Or maybe you’ll want to try the all-night collage party at Monastiraki? And,… / Read More →

Nuit Blanche: Montréal’s all-nighter lets your wild side be your guide

A wild night out might include a zip line or an ice slide. Or rock climbing, rock concerts or underground adventures. Maybe a veritable gourmet buffet, nighttime acrobatics or a dance club ski lodge and spa. But what about all of those things, and much more, on one single night? It would have to be, by anyone’s measure, the wildest night of the year. Welcome to Montréal’s Nuit Blanche. Starting on Saturday, February 28 and wrapping up pretty much whenever you want it to wrap up in the morning hours of Sunday, March 1, this 12th edition of Montréal’s “white night” is practically incandescent with activities. Nuit Blanche puts an exclamation point on the city’s MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE winter festival, closing out the annual extravaganza with an all-night citywide party. Some 211 separate activities – 178 of which are absolutely free – will be spread out across three city districts: Old Montréal, most of downtown and the Plateau/Mile End. And don’t worry your head about transportation. Montréal’s metro system will be open all night long, and a free shuttle service (4 routes and 65 stops) connecting the aforementioned districts will run every 10 minutes from 8 pm to 3 am. But more importantly, the fun stuff. Montréal… / Read More →

Best #MTLMOMENTS from Montréal en Lumière and Nuit Blanche

This past week, Montréal en Lumière and Nuit Blanche illuminated the city with vibrant lights and unique cultural highlights. We sourced some of the best pictures from Montrealers and visitors who came out to enjoy the food, fun, art, night, and lights… The pulsating crowd in Quartier des Spectacles during Montréal en Lumière. (Photo by benkiraneahmed) The now famous slide during Montréal en Lumière. Watching the joy on children’s faces when they whiz down is enough to warm your heart for the rest of Nuit Blanche! (Photo by susanmossphotography) This penguin at the Biodome on Nuit Blanche needs no introduction. (Photo by clemmtl) The brave took to the ice during Montréal en Lumière even though the temperature dipped well below freezing. (Photo by votretourdumonde) A stunning photo of the Grande Roue in Quartiers des Spectacles. Must have used a tripod… (Photo by vesia514) Two vibrant panoramas of the festival- such a whimsical sight! (Photo by photojpl) A special menu of edible art at Globe for the Montréal en Lumière festival. (Photo by montrealglobe) Keeping cozy and warm while fueling up on a snack around a fire pit during Nuit Blanche. (Photo by chenyunlv) Intricate alien-like body paintings at Hotel Le Germain on Nuit Blanche…. / Read More →