Do you want to maximize your days off and multiply your activities? Are you looking for a special outing to entertain your significant other, your friends, your family? Or are you the type of person who procrastinates when it comes to organizing year-end celebrations? Old Montreal has more than one trick up its sleeve! Here are a few suggestions of places that will open their doors to you even during the holidays.
Pincette, lobster bar, 94 Saint-Paul Street East
Between two hearty meals, a dose of freshness that could not be more welcome, which will also delight the grumpy ones who hate winter and already dream of the summer sun. At Pincette, there are plenty of choices: brunch, lunch, dinner or special Christmas and New Year's Day dishes. Our heart is set on raw sea bass, eggs Benedict with salmon, lobster ravioli, octopus and codfish accras.
3 Brasseurs, 105 Saint-Paul Street East
To feast with friends, this is the ideal place! In a warm and relaxed atmosphere, you can enjoy beers brewed on site, such as L'Ambrée de Noël, and generous plates, from burgers to flammekueches, steak-frites, fish and chips and tartiflette, served especially during the holidays. Of course, we leave the 3 Brasseurs with a few beers to drink at home or to offer as a gift.
The Keg Steakhouse, 25 Saint-Paul Street West
For carnivores, but also for their vegetarian friends. The menu at The Keg, founded in the 1970s in British Columbia, includes a few seasonal exclusives, such as the decadent mushroom-gruyère dip, the sirloin steak served with candied garlic butter and the asparagus with spicy hollandaise sauce. We're particularly fond of the dishes that have been on the menu since the very first location opened: the Caesar salad and the Billy Miner pie.
NELLi Bistro, 104 Saint-Paul Street West
In this spacious and comfortable space, it's good to take your time, from brunch to supper, including an aperitif at the natural wine bar. Foie gras, duck breast, oysters and grilled meats are on the NELLi's holiday menu, as well as inventive vegetarian options like eggplant confit and grilled celery root.
Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel, 400 Saint-Paul Street East
Notre-Dame Basilica, 110 Notre-Dame Street West
Of course, Montreal's churches hold the traditional Christmas mass. But you don't have to be a Christian to enjoy a visit to these places rich in art and history.
The Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours chapel, built in 1771, is the oldest stone chapel in the city! We can admire works by Ozias Leduc, as well as a statuette dating from the 17th century. We enrich our tour with the Bonsecours Experience. Armed with our smart phone, we discover this unique place, the historical characters who have marked the neighborhood and we enjoy works played on the Casavant organ.
Spectacular, the Notre-Dame Basilica has been located in Old Montreal since 1829, making it the first neo-gothic style church in the country. We love the self-guided tour, during which all the secrets of this magical place are revealed to us: the stained glass windows, the master paintings, the sculptures, the abundant gold leaf, the 7,000-pipe organ... A great way to learn more about the city's beginnings.
Center PHI, 407 Saint-Pierre Street
This must-see for art lovers offers visitors two grandiose works to admire outside, for as long as you like.
On the walls of the Centre PHI building, one can see Water Road, a poetic multimedia river. Projection, light, verses by the great Josephine Bacon and melodies by Kelly Nunes form a touching creation, a symbol of our common origins and our collective future.
And at the intersection of Bonsecours and Saint-Paul East, we go to The House of Murmurations, a public activation project in which movement, light and sound highlight the fabulous architecture of this historic building. The stone building, erected in 1770, was the home of Pierre du Calvet, a French Huguenot who became a Freemason. Masonic symbols can still be seen in the stone of the building.
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Photo: Marie-Jade Morneau