Our B&B was in an area known as the Latin Quarter, apparently known for its interesting houses and for being the traditional centre of French nationalism. So, with those thoughts, I rather expected to find buildings in the French style.
I wouldn’t say that the outcome disappointed me, but the buildings we found were generally what seems to be called “Victorian” (though Australia, also with a British background in that period, does not have buildings in this style). The photos illustrate what seemed to be some reasonably typical examples of the style: multi storeyed with attics, elevated staircases, fairly ornate trim. They were colourful and interesting and yes, the area does warrant visiting if you have any interest in architecture – though the buildings seemed to me to be entirely a “North American’ style!
If you're seeking out interesting neighbourhoods in Montreal (which is really, in my opinion, what Montreal is all about), then you'll probably come across "the Latin Quarter" or "le Quartier Latin".
Not to be confused with the Montreal pub of the same name, one might assume that the Latin Quarter is an ethnic community of... well... Latins! Whether it be Latin American, or Spanish/Italian, you know what I'm talking about.
But the reality is that the name "Latin Quarter" has nothing to do with any Latin community. The name of this neighbourhood was actually taken from the Parisien neighbourhood of the same name because, like the Quartier Latin in Paris, the Quartier Latin in Montreal has several universities. Paris' Quartier Latin was called such because university students in the Middle Ages would be heard speaking Latin.
But back to Montreal - the Latin Quarter is a unique neighbourhood full of theatres, cafes, boutiques and general artsy ambiance. If you're looking for the hip, eccentric and cosmopolitan side to Montreal, you'll find it here. The Latin Quarter can be found along the lower end of Rue St-Denis.
Favorite thing: Relax in the Carré St-Louis. The Square is ideally located between the Quartier Latin strip of shops, nightclubs, and bistros and the area of large cafés on Rue Prince Arthur and the ethnic delights of the Boulevard St-Laurant. It was very well maintained and lushly planted. Some of the best residential architecture in Montréal surrounds the square, the photo shows three houses which are often on postcards or promotional ads. Also explore the nearby quaint residential area along Avenue Laval and Rue Cherrier.
This beautiful pedestrian area located between St-Laurent and the Carré St-Louis (bordering St-Denis street) host restaurants (a lot of them Greek, with terraces and bring your own wine), bars and dance clubs, street vendors.
Red Light district, St-Laurent and Ste-Catherine.
It is worth to visit this funny area where you will find prostitutes, transvestites, punks and skinheads, drunks and beggars, sex shops and slizzy hotels. Safe enough except for VD.
While there, drop by the Montreal Pool Room (St-Laurent, south of Ste-Catherine) for 'un roteux et une graisseuse' (translation=a steamed hotdog and greasy french fries) while enjoying a pool game with the folks.
St-Denis street and the Quartier Latin.
This is where you will find numerous restaurants, terraces, little stores and boutiques, etc...
One of the hot spot in Montreal where you will find something to do even at 3 AM in the morning. Even your friendly drug vendor, your accommodating prostitute or undercover cop, etc...
Favorite thing: Check out the Quartier Latin (Latin Quarter). So-named after the Paris district with many students, the Latin Quarter is surrounded by the UQAM (Université de Québec a Montréal) campus and buzzes with student life. Along rue St-Denis are terrasses, interesting shops, and coffeehouses, all housed in quaint 1860s rowhouses. At night, the scene explodes with jazz clubs and an unbeatable restaurant scene. Head to the Berri-UQAM metro station and walk north up St-Denis to the Square St-Louis to see its most interesting and exuberant part.
Favorite thing: Check out rue Prince-Arthur. The portion of this street extending between Square St-Louis and Avenue St-Laurant has been bricked over and pedestrianised. It is now lined with wonderful ethnic restaurants and large terrases (street cafés). The side-streets off Prince-Arthur all feature lovely examples of Montreal's Victorian architecture.
Stroll up St. Denis to Square Stl Louis & Prince Arthur Street on a warm summer evening. You will feel like you are in a European city. Sidewalk cafes, street musicians, interesting shops everywhere.
Fondest memory: Eating out at Jardin de Panos in the outdoor courtyard with a large group of friends, and being caught in a downpour. Lots of wine, lots of laughter, lots of fun!