Canadian Grand Prix: A guide to Montreal

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After a two week break, Formula 1 is back and, this time, it’s travelled across the pond to Montreal, Canada.

Canada is famed for its spectacular landscape, and Montreal is no exception.

The city is where a mixture of cultures and cuisines are fused together to create one amazing experience awaiting for those who are fortunate enough to visit.

“I’m always struck by the unbridled creativity of this city. You see it in the magnificent inventions being stirred up in restaurant kitchens, in the barroom and on stage, and you even see it walking down the street with incredible urban art lurking in unexpected places. The dual French-English mix adds dynamism to the city as does its unique mash-up of European and North American culture. Most captivating of all are the people themselves. Montréalers embody joie de vivre. They eat well, throw great parties and are happy to share their city,”

Regis St Louis, Writer

What to see in Montreal

Montreal has many areas to explore. There’s the downtown district, old town, Quartier Latin and The Village, to name just a few.

The old town is where you will find a stunning 19th-century church. Unsurprisingly, it is one of the city’s most famous landmarks, made even more notable for being the host to Celine Dion’s wedding in 1994. The church is named Notre-Dame Basilica and is visually pleasing if a gaudy spectacle of carved wood, paintings, gilded sculptures and stained-glass windows. It was built in 1829, on the site of a former church, and has since been welcoming visitors.

Vieux-Port de Montreal is another must to see when you’re in the city. The old port is now a haven for tourists as well as locals, the area running for 2.5 km along the River St Lawrence. The area has transformed since its industrial days and now dozens of tours depart from the former docs to take you along the river. If you would prefer to stay on dry land, then the former port is littered with bars, restaurants, parkland and even a science center which is perfect for learning and getting hands on with some spectacular exhibitions.

Marche Jean-Talon is a market area located in ‘Little Italy’ and represents Montreal’s diverse culture perfectly. Goods from Europe, Canada and the United States of America can all be found at the market, with items including exotic flowers, fruits, vegetables and baked goods. All are sold by delis and cafes with tiny, pretty patios. If you are after true local cuisine, then head to Le Marché des Saveurs du Québec – a store that is purely dedicated to Quebecois food and drink. Rumour has it that their smoked meats and cheese are particularly good.

It perhaps comes as no surprise that the food and drink in Montreal are among the best in the world.

Top Places to Eat

Cafe Parvis is a top French-themed bistro choice in the city. Hidden behind the hustle and bustle of the front line, this picturesque restaurant is characterised by its oversized windows and vintage fixtures. The food is brilliant, and Cafe Parvis is famous for its unusual pizza topping combinations and whacky salads. Definitely, a place to try!

Differently, Barroco features a host of cuisine from around the globe. From paella to roast duck, Barroco serves up delicious food in the realms of its stone-walled eatery. The restaurant also has a rather good cocktail menu, so be sure to look at that too.

There are many incredible places to eat in the city, thanks to its enormous cafe culture. A great discovery is always just a stone’s throw away. Montreal also has a good range of bars and nightclubs, making a good setting for a fantastic night out after you have had a first class meal!

Transport

One of the best ways to explore the city is by bike. The scenery is spectacular and, by bike, you get to take everything in. There are multiple options for how long you can hire them for, from just one hour to the duration of your whole stay. The city is also regarded as very safe cyclists.

A hop-on-hop-off bus is also a popular choice for transport in Montreal. You can purchase an all-day ticket for a reasonable price which enables you to jump on and off the bus as many times as you wish.

To get to and from the track, there’s a three-day pass on offer to make getting to and from your hotel as simple as can be. The trains often have F1-themed artwork on them too. The subway in the city is also incredibly reliable, so I have been told that you can’t go wrong there.

Montreal is a fascinating city, where several cultures merge to create one amazing location. The race is one of the best on the calendar, and its surroundings live up to the critical acclaim the track has received.

 

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