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Old Montreal and Beyond

Yesterday, this space highlighted Marvelous Montreal. Today, we take a look at Old Montreal and beyond.

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Old Montreal embodies the many periods of Montreal’s history: the winding paths of the former French colony, 18th- and 19th-century architecture and the first Canadian skyscrapers. Architects came here from nearby Boston and other cities south of the Canadian border, so visitors will see a lot of American influence.

The center of Old Montreal is Place Jacques-Cartier, named for the explorer who founded the city. Walk to the top of the square to the monument of Admiral Horatio Nelson for superb views of the old port, then make your way down the festive sloping street past street artists, musicians, jugglers, mimes, face painters and other entertainers. Stop in a sidewalk cafe for lunch, a light snack, coffee or cocktail.

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Recommendations in the area include: Restaurant du Vieux Port (good and reasonably priced), or if you’re willing to spend a bit more, Auberge de Saint-Gabriel or the unique Jardin Nelson, with its beautiful gardens.

For a romantic five-star dinner, hail a taxi for Casino de Montreal on Notre-Dame Island. Dine at Restaurant Nuances, awarded the 5-Diamond Award by the Canadian and U.S. AAA/CAA associations.

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On one day of your visit hop on a bicycle at Caroule Montreal on Wheels and ask the shop’s owner to direct you on a flat 25-mile ride along the canals.

Break for lunch at Atwater Market, where you can pick up some cheese (La Fromagerie has more than 400 types of cheese from France and Quebec) and bread (from Premiere Moisson Bakery where the croissants also are tasty) and fresh vegetables. And that bottle of champagne you’re eyeing? As any Montrealer would tell you, “Et pourquoi pas?”

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