Are you craving to go to Europe but don’t want to leave the continent? Let’s try a piece of Europe just around the corner—Montreal. With its stunning architecture, trendy nightlife, and mouth-watering food scene, Montreal is a slice of Europe next door. That’s why when our good client in Brazil asked for a very unique destination for their incentive program, we proposed a trip to the “Belle Province,” where they were able to pack three fun-filled days in this exquisite city. With their Google translate in hand, everyone was functioning in French right off the bat.
We greeted our VIP guests (a group of 40 retail executives) at the Aéroport de Montréal: International Pierre-Elliott-Trudeau and whisked them to their hotel in the heart of Old Montreal. In a city of neighborhoods, with an abundant of first-rate hotels, we chose to book the group at the trendy boutique Hôtel Gault (a former cotton factory) for its intimate vibe.
After a hearty breakfast, we put the group in horse-drawn carriages for their short trip to downtown Montreal—a great place to get acquainted with the city, with its lively collection of bars, restaurants, theaters, art galleries, and department stores complemented with some spectacular historical churches dotted along the way. After our colorful city tour, the group was treated to a serving of the legendary poutine before heading to the world-famous Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, which is not only one of Canada’s oldest museums, but also has the best collection of Canadian art anywhere in the world. Poutine, French fries smothered in gravy and cheese curds, is undoubtedly the most famous grub throughout the province of Quebec. There are plenty of places to enjoy this dish in the city, but we took our special guests to Au Pied de Cochon, with its wide-ranging poutine options ranging from the high-end foie gras poutine to la Classique. In the end, the group got to sample many of the restaurant’s nearly 30 variety of the famous food.
After their excursion to the Museum, we had a group of very hungry guests on our hand and what better place for them to experience another Montreal tradition than Joe’s Beef, where they were able to sample some of the best locally-produced and hearty meat dishes the city has to offer including the smoke meat on rye for which the city is well known.
The group’s visit coincided with Montreal’s famous Jazz Festival. So, after lunch, they went for a stroll along the Rue St-Catherine, home to the city’s many excellent jazz bars. The entire St-Catherine Street seemed to have been turned into one nonstop jazz club, with plenty of free live performances, beer gardens, and street food. In the evening, we took the group to a famous jazz bar, Upstairs Bar and Grill for some hearty food complemented with good jazz.
We started our second day with a hike up to Parc du Mont-Royal, the city’s main park, and where the city got its name—a relaxing respite from the noise of the city. At Parc Mont-Royal, one can explore several different hiking paths, picnic sites in the open lawns, and even ski in the winter. But our ambitious goal was to make it to the top of Mont-Royal itself. Having made it there, we entered the Chalet Du Mont-Royal, where the group was rewarded with an unforgettable view of the city, the river, and the mountains beyond.
ou can’t be in Montreal very long without someone asking your opinion on the classic Montreal bagel—which is quite different from the New York-style bagels. The Montreal bagels are baked in a wood-fired oven, and are smaller, thinner, and sweeter than their New York counterparts. We took the group to the famous St-Viateaur Bagel & Café so that they could taste the difference for themselves—which turned out to be a huge success. The group watched in admiration the bakers at work. The group then headed to Boulevard St-Laurent to explore the area’s funky and eclectic shops.
Our active group was expecting excitement in this vibrant city. So, they were treated to an evening of cocktails at La Distillerie No. 1 followed by some heavy-duty clubbing in Quartier Latin.
We started off our final day with brunch in Mile End, an up-and-coming neighborhood in the city. The group got to have breakfast at Lawrence which offers a modern take on the traditional English breakfast, along with some excellent homemade scones and clotted cream.
No visit to Montreal is complete without fully exploring the old city, known as le Vieux-Montreal. A quaint and lively mix of churches, chapels, and cobblestones streets, this is where French settlers first built the town in 1642. Just the architecture and atmosphere here make the trip to the city well worth it. Strolling through the cobblestone streets we stopped at the most famous cathedral in Montreal—and all of Canada—the stunning Basilique Notre-Dame-de-Montréal, followed by a visit to la Musée d’Arachéologie et d’Historie (Montreal’s history museum) with its famed spooky archeological exhibition that shows the actual foundations of the city.
Finally, we were at the Old Port, where the group got to take one last view of the St. Lawrence River and thus came to an end a most fun filled three days for this group of world travelers.
For best recommendations on where to take your next group, let professionals at Global Management Services, Inc. do the research.