Thursday, January 29, 2015

Memorial Day Runaway: Montreal

Where the smell of smoked meat wafts through the streets

A quick jaunt to Montréal — home to wine, foie gras, and free health care — is the best way to visit a Francophone land without crossing an ocean.

Jump on the Amtrak train from Penn Station (cheap) or a flight from JFK (quick). If you grab the train, take off Friday (or, better yet, Thursday) as the ride's 10 hours of Adirondack beauty seriously cuts into your tourism time.
Penn Station, 33rd St. (8th Ave.). $70 each way here.

Check in to the gorgeous Auberge du Vieux Port right across from the quayside Promenade, perfect for a stretch-your-legs stroll. Of course, an in-room massage would do the trick, too.
From $250 here. 97 Rue de la Commune Est (Rue Saint Gabriel), Old Port (514-876-0081).

No trip to Montréal is complete without a pilgrimage to Schwartz's, the king of smoked meat. And Le Gros Jambon offers superb Québécois diner food, including smoked meat pizza and a Coca-Cola burger.
3895 St-Laurent (Rue Napoleon), Plateau. (514-842-4813)
286 Rue Notre-Dame Ouest (Rue Saint Alexis), Old Montréal. (514-508-3872)

The chef behind Au Pied de Cochon, an infamous palace of excess, once tried to kill Anthony Bourdain with an overdose of foie gras. Best bets: foie gras poutine and the duck in a can.
536 Avenue Duluth Est (Avenue de Chateaubriand), The Plateau. (514-281-1114)

Pick up one of the city's billion BIXI public bikes — only $15 for 72-hour access — and head down to the famous Atwater Market. There, snare some picnic snacks from Fromagerie Atwater and Charcuterie de Tours.
Atwater Market, Avenue Atwater, (Avenue Greene), Lachine.

Hop back on your BIXI and aim for Mount Royal Park, which is like a giant slice of Central Park, only on a mountain. (After all, it was designed by our own Frederick Olmsted.) Ascend one of the many lookouts and summits for your picnic-perfect panorama.

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