If you can't get to Paris, you can always try Montreal. It's a little colder, but a lot closer if you're in the US. You never know if you'll be greeted with French or English in Canada's second largest city, but that's half the allure. A mix of old-world charm and cutting-edge design make it a perfect escape when you're craving a little Europe but have no time for jet lag.
Old is quaint, but nice, new, and chic is better when deciding where to rest your head. Especially when that means ultramodern double fireplaces!
When fingers point to where the meat-focused food trend began, they usually head north to Montreal. Famous for its savory, knife-necessary concoctions, save your Canadian dollars for a top-notch meal.
While Tongue! gets a lot of play, we recommend trying something less glorious but equally delicious. Au Pied de Cochon manages to be modern and warm with wood and tile walls in a long and narrow space, creating coziness without chichiness.
Source: Flickr User kaszeta
Or, Mont Royal in Canadian. The view from the top is spectacular any time of the year. Montreal native Phil Kallos says it's a "233-meter high mountain (about 764 feet) at the center of the city, with several lookout points that could be construed as romantic." If a 22-year-old guy says it "could be construed as romantic," then it definitely is.
Phil also recommends Lac des Castors (Beaver Lake), which in the Winter becomes an ice-skating pond.
Source: Flickr User Manticore66669
I mean don't tell any locals that's what you're doing, but go ahead and soak up North America's most French-like city. There are no freedom fries here, only poutine. Which isn't French at all, but c'est la vie.
Start the day with a cafe au lait and pan au chocolat, and then walk the cobblestone streets of Old Port, ride bikes along Lachine Canal and cross its many bridges, and start drinking wine around — what? — noon. It's 6:00 p.m. in Paris!
Source: Flickr User PnP!
With Montreal-based Arcade Fire winning the Grammy for Best Album, the city may have passed its indie crown to the next big thing, but that doesn't mean innovative isn't lurking in the underground.
Catch a show at local favorites like La Sala Rossa or Orange Divan; ditch the club scene for low-fi techno and electronica at Velvet Speakeasy, a cozy dungeon that specializes in seduction; relax to local jazz at laid-back Else's; or go big, bold, and symphonic at Place des Arts, which hosts an array of concerts and will soon be the brand new home to the Montreal Symphony Orchestra.