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Urban art, an extraordinary garden, a gourmet and gastronomic break, a rum tasting… Montreal in summer, island and port, is a multi-faceted place for the curious who wish to take time out on this side of the Atlantic.
From May to September, in the heart of summer, the city slowly recovers from the rigors of winter, and opens wide its immense terrain for exploration. Architectural marvels, natural spaces in the midst of buildings, all bordered by the immutable St. Lawrence River; Montreal is rich in singularities and contrasting panoramas. Let me tell you more about this baroque and unusual destination with my travel tips and things to do in Montreal in summer !
3 little tours for a 360-degree view
I believe that the best way to understand a city is to start your visit from above. And for that, there’s nothing better than a cabin perched 60 meters above the ground to envelop the grandiose Montreal landscape.
For twenty minutes or so, Canada’s largest observation wheel dominates the city, giving you the feeling of caressing Mount Royal and its three peaks, Grosse Montagne, Outremont and Mont Westmount. To the south are the historic buildings and elaborate cornice houses of Old Montreal, and Place Jacques-Cartier, named after the famous French navigator who was the first European to sail up the river.
Encountering urban art, another activity “Montreal in summer”
Back on land for an artistic itinerary through the city. Among the many initiatives on offer, the Art Public itineraries bring together more than twenty urban walks to discover the works of 558 artists. Ranging from 30 minutes to 2 hours in length, these encounters with the world of the arts take place both during the day and at night.
For example, the Ruelle des Fortifications at the World Trade Centre, the equivalent of the World Trade on this side of the American continent, offers the chance to see an authentic concrete segment of the Berlin Wall, offered to the city as a witness to history and exhibited on the very spot where Montreal’s fortifications once stood. A great way to travel the world and go back in time without taking a plane.
200 works in a flowery tribute to the living
After Shanghai, Japan, France and the United States, among others, the exhibition Mosaïculture ou l’art du massif fleuri returns to Montreal for an edition focused on the fragility of life. Nearly 200 two- and three-dimensional creations are presented to visitors. They will have required over 6 million plants chosen for their colors or the beauty of their foliage.
In this magnificent garden, where men will have worked for over 9 months, bears, walruses and elephants become living, monumental sculptures in 20 thematic tableaux, expressing the importance of life and biodiversity. I recommend that you don’t miss this exhibition during your stay in Montreal.
Between chocolate and cupcake, the gourmet snack break
Juliette has been a chocolate lover since childhood. When she was just 22, she opened the country’s first chocolate bar in Montreal to convert all those who hadn’t yet fallen in love with sweet treats. Over the years, the offer has grown. Juliette et Chocolat is more than just a store: it invites young and old alike to enjoy brownies, cookies, fondues and other chocolatey treats in one of the ten restaurants scattered around the city.
Isabelle opened her sweet tooth boutique on Promenade Fleury in Montreal’s Ahuntsic district, where she imagines and creates chic and refined shortbread and cupcakes. Surrounded by her team, she creates artisanal pastries using fresh, tasty ingredients. I can’t wait to see them!
In this business like no other, Sweet Isabelle makes personalized cakes for birthdays, weddings and anniversaries. And to top it all off, you can bring your own photo, which will be printed on a sheet of sugar using edible inks! In this friendly workshop, children and parents can learn together how to decorate the cupcakes they’ll be enjoying as soon as they’re made.
From Charentes to Montreal
It’s in a stretch of Rosemont just two blocks from Montreal’s family-friendly Petite Patrie neighborhood that Stéphane and Lilian, the distiller, have set up their still from the Charente region of France. It was also in France, among the vines of Franche-Comté, that he learned the secrets of double distillation, and that the idea was born to put his art at the service of Quebec’s terroir.
White rum, spiced rum with cranberry, Kampot pepper and cardamom, rhubarb gin, whisky, pastis, the Montreal distillery offers a 2-hour tour to discover the history of these two enthusiasts and learn how to taste some amazing eaux-de-vie. And I’ve a feeling that’s not too much to ask, given the work on taste that the two partners make a point of honing.
A show for every taste
A six-hall complex, Place des Arts is home to a symphony house, a theater and a national opera house, and offers an exceptional variety of programming in all disciplines: classical music, contemporary dance, pop, jazz, rock, chanson francophone and comedy. Producing and hosting artists from all over the world, Place des Arts brings culture to life in all its forms, with performances ranging from the grandiose to the intimate.
Chef Jérôme Ferrer’s Maison Européa is a restaurant like no other. Voted Restaurant of the Year in all Canadian provinces and territories in 2018, he is dedicated to showcasing the country’s culinary wealth and highlighting the products of local artisans and producers. From the brasserie to the gourmet table, the chef explores, surprises, transports…
What about a crab cake with candied lemon peel, a medallion of foie gras au torchon on puffed rice and sparkling candy, or an immersion in New Brunswick oysters and their soft foam from the Eastern Maritimes? For the pleasure of dining in this exceptional restaurant, I strongly recommend you make a reservation.
It was my list of things to do in Montreal in summer ! Enjoy guys !