07 Dec 2023

Time 5 minutes

Holiday Guide : Escapade in Old Montreal

Holiday Guide : Escapade in Old Montreal

The arrival of the winter season brings to Old Montreal a very special touch of magic, and for good reason; the historic quarter is once again enchanting visitors this year with its luminous decorations to dazzle one and all. From the Place Royale to the Place d’Armes, you will find spectacular paths of twinkling stars, as well as a host of other delights to enjoy, from Christmas legends and glasses of bubbly, to candlelit shows and snowshoe walks through all the yuletide splendour.

Start the day with some Christmas tradition

To kick off your visit, head to the Place Royale, where an impressive, scintillating tree of life proudly stands tall for all to admire. At the very same spot, the Pointe-à-Callière Museum comes alive with its Holidays on the Pointe program, where Christmas trees, log cabins and comfortable benches make for an atmosphere brimming with holiday cheer. It’s THE perfect place for photos with the family or a romantic outing for two.

Once you’ve enjoyed all the enchantment on offer here, warm yourself up inside the museum, located just opposite. Kids and grown-ups alike are welcome to participate in creative workshops held in connection with two of the museum’s must-see exhibitions: St. Lawrence River, Echoes from the Shores and Come Aboard! Pirates or Privateers? You will also have the exciting chance to meet Santas from all four corners of the globe, who will regale visitors with interpretations of their home country’s Christmas legends. While you’re there, stop by the Museum Shop to pick up some original gifts for your loved ones, including indigenous handicrafts, children’s books, as well as gift certificates that make for the perfect stocking stuffer.

A feast for the whole family

Come lunchtime, you will no doubt be famished after a full morning of discovery, so make your way to Osco! Restaurant, situated just a few blocks to the north, on Saint-Antoine Street West. Enjoy a complimentary glass of midday bubbly – offered throughout the whole month of December – and then let yourself be tempted by one of Chef Lucas Hadengue’s delectable creations, like the pesto gnocchi with sautéed oyster mushrooms. Kids will definitely not feel left out thanks to a menu put together specially for them: the butter and parmesan pasta or the grilled chicken with fries are guaranteed to be a hit with the little ones.

In the mood for a festive dinner outside the traditional box? Head to Gandhi, where a menu spotlighting sumptuous Indian specialties awaits, including butter chicken, tarka dhal, and a selection of curries. Enchanting decor and Indian music mix beautifully here to create a unique and warm atmosphere in which to take your taste buds on a trip they won’t forget. Speaking of travelling, why not stop over in Poland by sampling some of the flavourful dishes on offer at Stash Café, where classics like bigos and placki are sure to delight.

Once your belly is nice and full, stroll on over to Photo Service, where you can take a photography workshop to learn how best to immortalize the stunning light decorations you will encounter throughout your escapade in Old Montreal. Next stop, Place d’Armes, to admire the majestic and scintillating stars shining bright in the middle of this architecturally rich central square. Just across the street, the baristas at the Marché Saint-Laurent will welcome you in from the cold with a delicious cup of coffee or a warming hot chocolate. While there, get a little gift shopping done thanks to a variety of creations by local Quebecois artisans and designers, including a selection of posters and cashmere tuques.

And why not take advantage of your visit to the old quarter by getting away from all the holiday hustle and bustle with a well-earned massage? At Rainspa, situated on the 3rd floor of the Hôtel Place d’Armes, enjoy a 90-minute massage for the price of 60 minutes, as well as a glass of bubbly to unwind even more. You would have to be crazy to deprive yourself of a visit to this little haven of pure relaxation.

The Candlelight musical experience comes to the Notre-Dame Basilica

After having relaxed to the max, set course for the Notre-Dame Basilica so as not to miss the Candlelight experience, a spectacular musical event held in a dreamlike setting lit by the soft glow of too many candles to count. On your way there, be sure to take a moment or two to admire the constellation of scintillating stars set up throughout the Place d’Armes. For this holiday season, the Candlelight concerts will feature music from The Nutcracker, masterfully performed by a string quartet, a pianist and a soprano. Once you’ve been gently and melodiously transported, make your way along legendary Old Montreal thoroughfare, Saint-Paul Street West, adorned all about with its splendid and glittering decorations. Here, you can get some great gift shopping done while admiring the magnificent storefront windows set up in true yuletide style.

Recharge your batteries after an exhilarating day

If you have no desire to go back home after a day of exploring the neighbourhood, and you wish to extend your stay, we understand perfectly. Your timing couldn’t be better since the InterContinental Montreal is now offering up the opportunity to experience all the charm of a cozy chalet at the hotel. Featuring snowshoes with which to easily explore the historic quarter, personalized winter hats to keep you warm as you go, as well as some delicious ice wine to greet you upon your return, this is the perfect way to continue your unforgettable escapade in Old Montreal.

To discover more scintillating streets, delightful restaurants and festive shopping options, please consult the other neighbourhood guides at your disposal!

Photos: Sara Megan

NOTA BENE: Your establishment could be mentioned here but isn’t? Don’t hesitate to write to us at info@sdcvieuxmontreal.com and it would be our pleasure to include it.