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Romantic Montréal

Hand-Holding in Plateau Mont-Royal
Romantic Montréal
From a late-night stroll on the cobblestone streets of Old Montréal to candlelit dinners in French bistros, the city abounds with opportunities to play the romance card.
By Marie-Eve Vallieres, AFAR Local Expert
Photo by Marie-Eve Vallieres
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    Hand-Holding in Plateau Mont-Royal
    Hand-Holding in Plateau Mont-Royal
    The borough of Plateau Mont-Royal is pretty much a living postcard of Montréal’s essence, with picturesque side streets, wood-paneled cafés, and tiny restaurants where you cannot help but feel lucky when you manage to score a table. Stroll hand in hand through the neighborhood, picking up bits of French in this francophone community—it only increases the romantic vibe. Wandering along avenue Laval or through the Place St-Louis and Parc Lafontaine, or enjoying a meal at the locals-approved restaurants of avenue du Mont-Royal, are excellent ways to spend a romantic afternoon or evening.
    Photo by Marie-Eve Vallieres
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    Intimate Dinners in French Bistros
    Intimate Dinners in French Bistros
    In addition to French Canadian citizens, Montréal is home to a thriving expat community from France as well, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that the city has many brasseries and bistros helmed by French chefs and sommeliers. Indeed, eating out in a bistro here is the next best thing to actually crossing the pond, considering that most menus include staples like perfectly seasoned tartares, tender duck confit, and fondant au chocolat. Plateau Mont-Royal is where you'll find many of the classic eateries, including the ever-popular L’Express on rue St-Denis and the neighborhood gem Les Héritiers on Mont-Royal East. Neighboring Outremont increasingly has its own restaurant scene where trendier options like Provisions can be found.
    Photo by Thomas Sbampato/age fotostock
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    Out on the Town in Montréal’s Top Cocktail Bars
    Out on the Town in Montréal’s Top Cocktail Bars
    Montréal is home to a vast selection of drinking options, from a speakeasy like the Atwater Cocktail Club to the trendy Terrasses Bonsecours. One go-to place for locals is La Distillerie (which now has three locations), where cocktails are inventive and change seasonally and most are served in a mason jar. A few fancy cocktail bars have opened in the last few years as well, with experienced mixologists who create unique, refined concoctions that are certain to satisfy even the most sophisticated aficionado. From the Caribbean-inspired Agrikol to Old Montréal's Barroco, with a supper-club ambience, there's a bar for every mood, however you want to toast love.
    Photo courtesy of the Atwater Cocktail Club
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    Old-School Romance in Old Montréal
    Old-School Romance in Old Montréal
    Old Montréal could fool visitors into believing they've traveled halfway across the world. It's a scenic and romantic area for couples to explore. Cobblestone streets and centuries-old buildings abound thanks to Montréal’s heritage as a wealthy French fur-trading post, and you'll find picturesque chapels as well. Stop by the Bonsecours Market, then wander the Place Jacques-Cartier—lovely in every season—before finishing the day with a meal at Le Club Chasse et Pêche. As you pass landmarks dating back to the days of New France (rue St-Paul and the Château Ramezay), cuddly strolls in the New World just don’t get quainter than this, especially if you add a horse-drawn carriage ride to the plan.
    Photo by Nicolas Ruel
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    Montréal, Museum City
    Montréal, Museum City
    Montréal was named one of the world's design capitals by UNESCO in 2006, an honor acknowledging just how important arts and culture are to the city. Couples with an interest in cultural outings will enjoy the world-class exhibitions at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the rule-defying works at the Musée d'Art Contemporain de Montréal (Montreal Contemporary Art Museum), and the envelope-pushing pieces at the gallery DHC/ART. These institutions perfectly reflect the essence of the city and its history, and offer the thrill of discovering classic or daring artworks with someone special—giving you plenty to talk about over a romantic dinner afterward.
    Photo courtesy of Jean-François Hamelin/Tourism Québec
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    <em>Bella Italia</em> in Montréal
    Bella Italia in Montréal
    Montréal's French-inflected neighborhoods are certainly romantic, but its Little Italy doesn't do a bad job of putting you in the mood for love, either. With alluring restaurants, fantastic cappuccino, a lively Italian expat community, and bookstores filled with Italian tomes, the area is as close to Italy as visitors can get in Canada. All the staples one would expect have been here since the 19th century: boccie parks, family-run trattorias, church frescoes, and tempting aromas. Don't miss the Jean-Talon Market, where residents stock up on provisions.
    Photo by Marie-Eve Vallieres
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    Come Fly with Me
    Come Fly with Me
    Some couples will go to great lengths to demonstrate their love—or in this case, great heights. Montréal’s skyline is best seen, cocktail in hand, at the festive Terrasses Bonsecours, Old Montréal and Mount Royal spread out below. A bit farther east stands the iconic Olympic Tower, which scores two big points on the romance charts: unobstructed views of the entire city and a perfect platform for seeing the sunset thanks to its western orientation. Or if an early start to the day is more your style, trek up Mount Royal just in time for sunrise, which seems to align perfectly with the mountains.
    Photo courtesy of Robin Edgar/Tourism Québec