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The Best of Montréal in 2 Days: Immersion into a Rich French Heritage

With the absolute essentials of historic Old Montréal and downtown Anglophone cultural institutions under your belt on Day 1, take a journey into French Montréal on your second day in Montréal. Residents here spend time outdoors all times of the year, and this itinerary nudges you in the same direction.

Start: Viau Métro station.

1. Jardin Botanique
These lush, romantic, year-round botanical gardens comprise 75 hectares (185 acres) of plants and flowers with 10 exhibition greenhouses. They offer up sophistication and relaxation to start the day.

Take the Métro to Sherbrooke and walk 1 block west to rue St-Denis, turning right (north).

2. Rue St-Denis and Plateau Mont-Royal
Rue St-Denis is the thumping central artery of Francophone Montréal, thick with cafes, bistros, offbeat shops, and lively nightspots. As you head north into Plateau Mont-Royal, famous for its outdoor winding staircases, there are no must-see sights, so wander at will and surrender to the heart of French Montréal’s color and vitality.

3. Quartier des Spectacles
What to do tonight? The Quartier des Spectacles is the entertainment district of the city. It’s walking distance from both Vieux-Montréal and downtown and includes the Place des Arts plaza. Ballet, opera, symphony orchestras—they are all here. Even if you don’t speak French, consider getting tickets for a French-language show for a fully immersive experience. Regular priced and same-day discount tickets are available at the high-tech ticketing center La Vitrine, at 2 Ste-Catherine est (tel 866/924-5538 or 514/285-4545). Last-minute bargains are also posted online at www.lavitrine.com; these deals are highlighted by a distinctive red dot.

Whether you get tickets or not, this area is still a good spot for finding a meal or strolling. If there’s a festival going on, chances are more than good that parts of it will be spilling over, for free, right here.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.