Monday, 31 January 2011

Guests coming to Montreal? Here is a no-fail plan!

I recently had friends from out of town come to Montreal and I had to figure exactly what to do. If it were the summer, it could have been a little bit easier, with the Jazz Fest, the Piknik Electronic and just walking around and visiting, you can do so much in the summer without using too much brain power, but in the winter, it becomes a little more difficult. So, I had to think of an excellent plan. I'm going to share my plan with you, so if you even need to entertain guests in the winter, you can use these guidelines.

Here is a Friday-Saturday and Sunday day plan. It worked for us and I'm sure it can work for you.

FRIDAY: Off to Tremblant for the day - You can go skiing in the morning and then some apres-ski at the Scandinave to then end up eating some supper at the Forge or the Shack. Going to the Scandinave in the winter is a wonderful experience. Hot baths and then you throw yourself in the river. Crazy? Yes. Very crazy. After Tremblant, we ended up going to Igloofest in the evening and then for some drinking at Burgundy Lion on Notre-Dame. Easy plan, not difficult, but many happy people! Snowshoeing, skating or dog sledding are also a couple activities you can do at Tremblant if skiing just ain't your thing, or if you wake up too late on Friday morning. Sleepin in is priceless.

SATURDAY: Visit Old Montreal and Downtown Montreal. Go take a nice walk on St-Paul and on De la Commune. You can even go visit the little shops or art galleries on St-Paul to warm up if you're a little cold. Depending on how long you want to walk, you can stop at Van Houtte or Olive and Gourmando on St-Paul to get a nice warm cup of coco.  If it's snowing, the street is so beautiful. People are friendly, it's not overpacked, and the architecture if just stunning. You can visit the Notre-Dame Basilica. It's just breathtaking.  I hadn't been in YEARS and I had forgotten how absolutely WOW this place was. Then, you can head to Downtown Montreal, show your guests the Underground City, do a little shopping. And then, What is Montreal without some poutine?? There are so many great poutine places in the city, but a favorite of mine is the Green Spot on Notre-Dame. Been going there since I'm a child and I'm telling you, the gravy on those fries is just insane. So, after eating some poutine, you can rest a little, take a power nap to get ready for a wild night out! Late supper will also be in order, I would chose something in Old Montreal - either Le Local, Vallier, Grange, Holders and then out to Santos, Garde-Manger, Velvet or Confesionnal, you know your gang better, pick the place that would best suit em!

SUNDAY: Take your guests out for a great brunch. I tried to get in to L'Avenue, but the line-up was too long so I headed to Les Folies. But I do suggest you try to get to the plateau or to a great brunch spot. Then you can head to the Olympic Stadium, you can either go to the top or just visit around. After that, you can head to the Chalet du Mont-Royal lookout. So beautiful. Try to even get there at sunset and the city is just wonderful. The views are just You can even get into the Chalet to warm up before you head back to you car. I need to say that for this trip to be easy, you need a car. But if you don't have one, I'm sure you can figure out how to get around. So, anyways, after the lookout, you can head to the Oratory. It's right next door! It's quite the sight to see. Sit down, relax, pray for those you love and admire it.

Now, you can always change the plans around and bring them to a Jazz Bar on  Bishop (Upstairs Jazz Bar) or even to Griffintown Cafe on Friday night, for some live blues. Chances are instead of going to Igloofest, you will need to find a different Friday activity. You can do the whole clubbing scene, but why not show them something different. Live music is always fun. Try to find a different activity on Friday and Saturday.

You know, you can even do these activities with your friends and be a tourist in your own city!  It's actually really fun! As I mentioned in one of my first posts "Discovering your city", I LOVE being a tourist in my own city!

As my last words of wisdom, if ever you have people over, have some kind of itinerary, no need to make a complete plan, but if you have an idea what to do, then you don't spend too much time thinking and waiting around.

Enjoy the city!

N.

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