Travel Blog

7 Feb

Romance for all in Montréal

Romantique restaurantBeautiful views, European charm, award-winning dining, entertainment that never sleeps… Montréal has got all the markers of a winning romantic weekend for any type of couple. This Valentine’s Day, whether you like things sporty, luxurious or classic (because long-stem roses never go out of style), here are five getaway ideas from us to you – with love.

400_coups_Le_5_services_625x400A classic kind of love

Wining and dining is a sure way to pretty much anyone’s heart. With hotel specials like the Valentine’s Day package at the beautiful Le Germain in Old Montréal, you’re already half way there. After picking up some chocolates at Maison Christian Faure and some flowers at the stand in Square Victoria, grab a horse-drawn carriage tour of Old Montréal across the street from Notre-Dame Basilica, where Céline Dion got married (it’ll set the mood). Next, book a tête-à-tête to sample the special V Day offerings at 400 Coups (a five-course meal featuring crab ravioli and foie gras mousse), Le Quindici (short ribs braised in wine, anyone?) or the warm, European flavoured Branzino. If you can’t choose, how about one on Friday, one on Saturday and the other on Sunday? Then stroll up from Old Montréal to downtown for a movie at Cinéma Banque Scotia on Sainte-Catherine Street. Next up: cuddling in the dark.

Parc_Jean-DrapeauLovely fresh air

Montréal in the winter is a play land for outdoor lovers. After a romantic meal at Chu Chai (vegetarian Thai at its most refined), Sushi Momo (all vegan, hyper creative sushi) or the causal Lola Rosa, right at the foot of the mountain, head on the night-time snowshoe excursion up the white-blanketed Mount Royal, organized especially for Valentine’s Day by Amis de la Montagne. The tour is in English on Friday, February 12, and in French on February 13; you’ll see city twinkle before you while sipping mulled wine and munching truffles hand-in-hand. If you bring your cross-country skis, head out to Parc Jean-Drapeau on Sunday for a beautiful half-day on the trails, where you’ll see the city from a whole new vantage point. Then, off to Strom Spa, to melt your muscles with a few rounds in the water treatments and a couple of glasses of bubbly.

Rhinoceros Centre PhiIndie lovers’ lane

Your love may be worthy of a greeting card, but you’re allergic to clichés. Montréal is perfect – it’s filled with offbeat ideas. Start with dinner on Friday, February 12 at the completely unique Foodlab, up on the top floor of the stunning Société des arts technologiques (SAT), followed by a performance in the immersive Satosphere by the Franco-Japanese duo Nonotak. Then, spend the rest of the weekend soaking up the city: shop for unique local designer ware at shops like Old Montréal’s Denis Gagnon, Rad Hourani, UI and Espace Pepin, or in Mile End, Unicorn, Citizen Vintage and Les Étoffes. Art-wise, check out contemporary creativity downtown at the Musée d’art contemporain, at the Belgo (it unites two dozens independents art galleries) or at Phi Centre, where you can take in indie music, exhibitions, films and shopping at the super cool Rhinocéros boutique. For evenings, saddle up to the bar at one of these amazing indie music hot spots.

Ritz-carlton-625x400Love on the Luxe

If your love shines like a diamond, a great place to start on Friday, February 12 is at the Ritz-Carlton Montréal, where Maison Boulud is putting on a special Valentine’s Day menu that will woo you with lobster, foie gras, scallops and chocolate mousse. Other options for fine dining are Toqué and Mercuri, both in Old Montréal. Keep the enchantment going with a little Mozart at the stunning Maison Symphonique, at Place des Arts. The next day, how some shopping? You’ll find unique Montreal-made fine jewellery at Birks or Ecksand, who specialize in engagement rings (just sayin’), and designer ware at Holt Renfrew and Ogilvy downtown, or along Laurier Street in Outremont, where you could stop by Leméac or Chez Lévêque for lunch. Spend the evening relishing the Valentine’s Day spa package at Bota Bota, where a three-course meal with live cello music follows the relaxation of the water circuit. For drinks, Le XO Lounge in the lush Hotel Le St. James is a beautiful context for some close contact and intimate conversation.

 New_city_GasYou Love the Nightlife

If your romance is the colour of flashing club lights, you’re in the right city. New York may have said it first, but Montreal never sleeps either! After lazing about till 3 p.m. in one of the city’s many lavish boutique hotels, get dolled up and head out for a twosome at a supper club, where dinner turns into a party. If you’re into a classy jazz flavour you won’t want to miss the V Day celebrations at Le Balcon; if you’re more into a 2/4 beat, there’s Newtown, Buonanotte, Moomba or the iconic Time Supper Club (located in a1930s bank building). Then it’s dance time: The massive New City Gas in Griffintown is always flying with international guests (Cosmic Gate spins February 12, while of February 13 it’s Benny Benassi and Timmy Trumpet). Downtown there’s Stereo, Circus and Club La Boom; in the Gay Village, good times live at Club Unity and the Sky Complex. And what could be more romantic than a 4 am poutine for two? Try La Banquise or Chez Claudette, two all-nighter spots well worth the cab ride.


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