5 Things We Love About Montreal
Montreal, Canada -- I fell in love with Montreal the moment I stepped off the plane. People were so friendly, the city is beautiful, and I can't wait to go back. Here are 5 of the things that made me fall so hard (other than Osheaga, of course).
1. Hotel Gault
Beautiful outside and in, Hotel Gault is a boutique hotel in the heart of Old Montreal. With only 30 rooms, I appreciated the amenities - free WiFi, a gym, conference room, and most importantly, 24/7 room service. I stayed in a loft room, which introduced me to the chic minimalist industrial interiors that I would later see at Garde-Manger, Quai 417, and New City Gas, among others. In the elevator, a photo of M.I.A. backstage at Osheaga 2007, was a constant, anticipatory reminder of the festivities ahead.
2. Festival Mode Design
On my first day in Montreal, I found myself on Avenue McGill College in downtown Montreal, where the Festival Mode Design was in full swing. The centerpiece, a runway show in the middle of the street, was surrounded by fashion exhibits, pop-up art installations, a DJ... you name it.
3. Quai 417This was hands-down my favorite shop in Montreal, run by Marie Claude Gravel, who also curates the collection, and her niece Stephanie. The selection of clothes and accessories at Quai 417 is, as described by Marie, for a woman with a rock n' roll edge, without going over the top. The shop stocks an international selection of brands, none of which I'd heard of, but all of which I loved. As I tried things on, Marie and Stephanie offered helpful tips for different ways to style the clothes. They were also the ones who suggested I catch Lou Doillon at Osheaga, which proved to be a valuable tip.
Garde Manger was Safa Jinje's top restaurant recommendation for Montreal, and even though reservations get booked over a month in advance, I was lucky enough to snag a seat at the bar. It was here that I got my first taste of poutine, one of Montreal's signature dishes, consisting of fries, gravy, cheese, and whatever other accoutrements the chef chooses to add, in this case, lobster. My only regret is that it was the first poutine I tried all weekend; after trying it at the festival, I really appreciated how amazing the one at Garde Manger really was.
5. Montreal NightlifeWhen it comes to the nightlife, I only saw the tip of the iceberg, but New City Gas was among my favorites. The décor is based around the industrial features of the massive building in which it resides, and the walls feature a rotating selection of art. Depending on the time you visit, the energy level at New City Gas can range from chill afterwork watering hole, to music venue, to nightclub. My one qualm? Veuve Clicquot branding is plastered all over the venue - from the murals on the outdoor patio to the furniture and foosball table - yet they don't offer it by the glass. What gives?
Other highlights included Flyjin, an Asian restaurant/speakeasy located under Quai 417, and the many happy hours we tried, including one at the Royal Merchant - a dozen oysters and a glass of champagne for $25.
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See Also:7 Trends we Spotted at Osheaga
Video: On the Ground at Osheaga 2013
Photos: Osheaga's Rainy Interlude