Short on ideas for outings this holiday season? Check out these suggestions for places to discover in the historic quarter between Christmas and New Year’s Day that are sure to become some of your very favourites of 2024!
To begin your adventure in Old Montreal properly fuelled up, head to Crêperie Chez Suzette, an unmissable address that has been going strong since 1996. Here, you will find a variety of crêpes to choose from that will get your mouth watering with a mere glance at the menu. La traditionnelle, stuffed with goat cheese, honey and almonds, as well as the Argenteuil, with fresh asparagus, béchamel sauce and pine nuts, are just two from the impressive list on offer, featuring something to please every palate.
New illuminations to admire
After breakfast, be sure not to miss the new constellation of nine scintillating stars highlighting the Lucien-Saulnier building, a cherished historical landmark situated at 155 Notre-Dame Street East. Also known as the “Old Palace”, this stone building previously housed the second main courthouse in Montreal’s history. The new illuminations here provide a link between the present Montreal Courthouse and the Place Vauquelin while adding to all the enchantment of the holiday season, whether observed as a cluster or one by brilliant one.
Just across the way, enjoy the splendid winter scene you will find laid out before you: the signature structure of the Place Jacques-Cartier, a luminous portico standing proudly between the river and the city. On your way towards the lights, a quick stop at the Marché Place Jacques-Cartier kiosk is an absolute must. Open every day until January 7th, the selection of maple-based products here will definitely please any and all sweet teeth: maple taffy on snow, maple waffles, hot maple cider (without alcohol), maple hot chocolate, as well as a variety of other delectable treats to sample while taking in the enchanting and luminous atmosphere. You can even enjoy your sweet time-out while comfortably sitting back in an Adirondack chair, thanks to the winter rest area conveniently set up at Place Jacques-Cartier between snow-cleared trails.
Should you find yourself getting a little peckish after strolling through all the yuletide magic, look no further than John Michael’s Pub. This is the perfect spot to sink your teeth into a juicy hamburger – Angus beef or vegetarian – or that Montreal classic, the smoked meat sandwich. On the side, opt for a fresh salad, sweet potato fries, onion rings, or, for all the seafood lovers out there, deliciously golden fried calamari.
Fun between Christmas and New Year’s Day
Looking for activities to enjoy with the whole family? The Château Ramezay is opening its doors wide with a festive event that is sure to please young and old alike. This season, you are cordially invited to delve into the origins of holiday traditions with their special program, Around the Fireplace… Holiday Traditions. Decorate your own greeting cards inspired by the Landscapes of Quebec exhibition, and immortalize your visit by having a photo taken featuring a wintry backdrop complete with period accessories, from arrow sashes to snowshoes. In addition, until January 7th, the fireplace mantels of the Château Ramezay will be decorated in a very special way: get yourself a Christmas stocking to hang and then come and pick it up after New Year’s Day to see if Santa Claus has left a surprise inside just for you!
For a tasty little something in keeping with the crêpes theme established earlier at breakfast (we have to practice for Candlemas, after all!), go for one of our absolute favorites, the crème brûlée crêpe at Muru Crêpe. This decadent dessert involves a crêpe served in a cone with a delectable crème brûlée placed on top. Gently break the delicate, sugary crust to find a hidden treasure of strawberries, puffed rice and whipped cream within. Both silky smooth and crispy, this little creation is, simply put, irresistible. To satisfy that sweet tooth in another heavenly way, Beaver Tails will never let you down. These delicious fried dough delights done in a variety of ways, from their classic with cinnamon to cream cheese, are the perfect accompaniment to any visit to Old Montreal. Once again, irresistible.
New year, new look? Le Cartel, located in the William Gray Hotel, proposes a selection of unique and striking clothing featuring artwork by over 50 local and international artists. We adore the Sherpa vest, offered in three colors and perfect for keeping you both warm and stylish at the same time. If you happen to find yourself on the corner of Saint-Amable and Saint-Vincent, you have no choice but to get yourself a coffee at the legendary Café Olimpico. Among its many tasty treats, this Montreal institution features Caffe Crema, a crema-based dessert with a dense and creamy mousse that is, as far we’re concerned, outrageously delicious.
If you’re more on the lookout for something along the lines of cooking or mixology classes, you’re in luck. Ateliers & Saveurs proposes a variety of recipes to cook up yourself in Old Montreal, which you will of course have the pleasure of sampling immediately afterwards. Opt for the “fancy tapas” course, including beef yakitori, melted cheese, honey, and roasted sesame, or go for the “menu gourmand” with its new features sure to impress your guests like codfish back, yellow carrot mousseline and smoked bell pepper coulis with thyme. If it’s the mixology side of things you’re interested in, the “tendance cocktail” course is ideal for shaking and stirring up your very favourite cocktails (again, followed by sampling!) In this course, you will have the pleasure of concocting three special cocktails, which will then be beautifully paired with three tapas, courtesy of the chef.
Looking to push the limits of mixology? Head to L’infâme Tittle Tattle Bar, where those limits are pushed in the most playful ways. Here, you are invited to sample cocktails inspired by secret messages that visitors write on a card which is then placed in a transparent container hung from the ceiling. One extra reason to stop by this establishment: Loyd Von Rose, the founder, famously appeared on that TV show loved by mixologists far and wide, Drink Masters.
Not too keen on going home after a day filled to the brim with discovery and pleasure? Extend your stay in Old Montreal with a night (or more!) at the Auberge du Vieux-Port. The timing is right since the hotel is inviting you to take advantage of their Boxing Day special to get 40% off your stay until January 7th. This cozy and inviting boutique hotel, previously a 19th-century warehouse, was ranked second among the 25 best hotels in Canada by Tripadvisor in 2023. In other words: definitely worth the visit!
To discover more scintillating streets, superb restaurants and festive shopping options, we invite you to delve deeper into our Old Montreal Holiday Guide!
Photos : Sara Megan - Muru Crêpe - Michel Pinault
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