The Ecomusee du fier monde commemorates the humble, middle-income people who actually did the heavy lifting in creating Montreal, and all cities. It's not about the rich and famous--they have their own museums and monuments.
Originally an indoor bath-house (when many didn't have private bathrooms), it dates to the 1920s. After renovations, it became home to the museum in 1996. There are exhibits on the lives of ordinary Canadians, including clothes, furniture, and a plaque with a moving story of the tough conditions workers faced in the 19th century.
I stopped in this area, near central bus station ( Berri stop on metro). I had to catch a bus to the airport and the bus ran every half hour..so i had a couple of hours to kill, so dropped my stuff at lockers in bus terminal ( see transportation tip) and then walked outside bus station. Walked a block and turned right from side entrance( or front entrance ) of bus station. Immediately you see the quaint litle stores and cafes......It was very cold though when i walked around and windy.. so was not very comfortable with the cold wind, probably great in the fall and spring.....probably really nice too in the snow as the shops are very cozy and the restaurants too. The street here is called St Denis street.
The Quartier Latin, as it's called, got its name from the large student population who has called this area of the city home since the 19th Century, as it was once compulsory for all students to study Latin. Today, this section of the city is quite Bohemian and home to some of its hippest bars, clubs, and shops.
We explored this part of Montreal quite by accident one afternoon when we got off at the wrong stop on the Metro and were almost instantly caught in a violent rainstorm. With no place to hide, we ran for shelter under the marquis of a huge and very modern movie theatre. The Bistro a JoJo (1627 rue St. Denis) caught our eye across the street . After a mad, soaking dash we enjoyed a lovely couple of hours in this super-cool blues club, drinking wine and listening to music and friendly conversation.
When the rain stopped, we walked down the street to find all sorts of art studios, galleries, and boutiques, all unique unto themselves. Our favorite was La Capoterie, a sex shop tastefully offering all sorts wares from condoms to lubricants, books and bachelor party jokes. The friendly, French saleswoman was more than happy to describe the recommended use of each item right down to offering samples of her favorite lubricants! Refreshing stuff for the people from Puritanical New England.
This street also has scores of great-looking music clubs, bars, and coffee houses and is a fun place to walk around and explore, rain or shine.
For me, St Denis is the nicest street of Montreal! A lot of nice houses with outside stairs, a lot of cafés with terraces and a young population thanks to the university close by. It is also a cultural area with theater, etc..
Rue St. Denis is the heart of the Latin Quarter. The road is filled with great little boutiques and cafes that could take you hours to go through. What I really like is walking around the distinctive Montreal exterior staircases that line the street. At night this place really has an energy to it as the locals fill up the cafes. This is surely one of the coolest places that I've been to anywhere.
The Latin Quarter owes its name to the presence of the Université de Montréal in the 1920s and that you would learn to speak latin. In the 1940s the university moved out and headed for a new campus. In the late 1960s UQAM was born and established itself as well as a large junior college, the CEGEP du Vieux-Montreal.
When you visit the Latin Quarter in Montreal you shouldn't expect to hear salsa music on every street corner. In fact, the designation "le Quartier latin" or Latin Quarter originated with the area's strong ties to the Catholic Church and the latin language with which the church was identified.
Today it is an eclectic mix of restaurants, shops and theaters primarily servicing the large student population from The University of Quebec at Montreal. During the day it is a colorful and nearly frenetic visual feast with wall murals, unorganized signage and block after block of the distinctive Montreal exterior staircases.
At night, however, the energy definitely stems from it's inhabitants and visitors. The crush is mainly under thirty, mostly students but also a fair number from what might be considered "the fringe". Despite being frequently jostled and feeling less than comfortable we returned several times at night to experience this very unique neighborhood.
I gotta admit, the beer and burger is not really high on my list, but if you're looking for a good pub atmosphere in Montreal, check out the Quartier Latin.
When I was there, they had shut down the streets to traffic, and the streets were flooded with people and street performers and such.
I just loved all the architecture there, check out the lighting on the buildings here!
St.Denis cuts north/south through the hip Plateau district, lined with shops and outdoor terrasses. If you started at the corner of St.Catherine Street, it could possibly take you a day to get up to Mont-Royal Avenue. That's because you'll find so many little cafes to duck into, cute boutiques and locals everywhere!
St.Laurent, also known as 'The Main', is the historical divider between the French on the East and the English and immigrants on the West. That line is no longer so clear, but the diversity of class and culture still runs along the boulevard. The blocks alternate between 99-cent pizza places, upscale Italian restaurants, Jewish delis and exclusive night clubs. I was once told that any item you could possibly imagine would be for sale *somewhere* on St.Laurent.
Neighbourhood with a lot of cafes, bars, restaurant and theater. It could be described as trendy, bohemian or grungy without being wrong. Main streets are St-Denis, St-Laurent (Sherbrooke trhough Rachel), Ste-Catherine (St-Laurent through berri) and Prince Arthur (interesting pedestrian street if not a little too touristy in some sense). Must see: Place des Arts (large terrace great to listen to street musicians and catch some sun; also the site for some special events like Jazz festival, francopholies, ...), St-Denis' cafes, UQAM and its Judith Jasmin pavillion recycled from an old church, St-Louis square and Prince Arthur pedestrian street, cinematheque quebecoise (movies museum) and National Film board on the corner of De Maisonneuve and St-Denis st (sit in a big chair, put yor headphones on and whatch a movie at the touch of the screen!), Bibliotheque Nationale and Just for Laugh museum. To spend the night and so enjoy what this region have best to offers: Bacci for their pool tables, Cafe Campus for the polliwog, Cafe Sarajevo, Dome (mega dance club), Foufounes electriques (punk mecca which means electrics buttocks), L'Ile Noire Pub (great hangout with imported beer and whiskey), Jello bar (this place defines 'lounge'), Cheval Blanc (they brew their own beers), Le Swimming for it's second floor indoor terrace, the Shed Cafe and the St-Sulpice. Note that some prostitutes hang out at night around the corner of St-Laurent and St-Catherine st or near the corner of St-Denis and Rene-Levesque st. There's also some sex-shop and porno theaters around there. It's totally safe at any hour but I wouldn't walk around with the kids...
Carre St. Louis (St. Louis square)
A charming 19th century style ice cream shop lies in the middle of the park which is filled with monuments, waterfalls and tons of people just hanging out and having picnics. The surrounding houses are very quaint, very brightly colored! Spend a bit of time there and then head off on a walking tour of the Greek Quarter very close by. Tons of greek restaurants in cobblestone roads lie there and you should be able to come upon Schwartz's smoked meat shop (3895 St-Laurent, 842-4813)- this is a Montreal classic! On your way in or out of the Carre, try a cute restaurant down the street called Le Triskell, a creperie!
Rue St-Denis is the place to stroll about and window shop. Most things (including the contents of this very funky goth/medieval shop) were pretty pricey, but they are fun to look at.
There is always something amazing going on here, particularly the International Jazz Festival.