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Sometimes it takes a week on the beach. Sometimes it takes a long yoga retreat. Sometimes it takes a series of therapy sessions. But sometimes, when your head is spinning and your body is exhausted, and you’re not sure where you are or what’s ahead – just one perfect day to yourself is all it takes to set you back on the right path again. And there’s no other city like Montreal to take you away from the daily grind and offer a fresh perspective on it all. Whether you’re a long-time local or a curious visitor, follow this guide for a refreshing and rejuvenating 24 hours in Quebec’s bohemian gem of a city.
Morning: Start your day browsing the fragrant, colourful stalls of Jean Talon Market. No matter what the season, this indoor-outdoor market is stuffed full of fresh fruit and veg, delicious fluffy pastries, local jams, cheeses and crusty loaves of bread. Have breakfast at the well-loved La Creperie – with this French snack in hand and the francophone locals all around, you’ll think you’ve died and gone to Paris.
Afternoon: Take a wander up Mont Royal, the mountain that stands guard over the city. The winding path all the way to the top is not too challenging, and the peace and tranquility of the woodland path is worth the walk. Within minutes, you’ll have left the traffic of downtown behind, and will be spotting squirrels and raccoons as you make your way to the lookout point. Be prepared for a stunning view of the Island of Montreal, the St. Lawrence river, and the rolling hills beyond. Before lunch, try a spot of hot yoga and one of the many downtown studios, you’ll work up an appetite and sweat away any trace of tension.
Evening: As afternoon slips into evening, grab a bixi (the city’s genius bikeshare program) and cycle a portion of the picturesque Lachine canal. Finish with a stroll through the cobbled streets of the Old Port, and make your way to Bota Bota, a floating spa anchored just offshore. Here you can enjoy a blissful massage, and a soak in the thermal baths which dot the deck, with a beautiful view of the sunset over Old Montreal.
Night: End your day with a late meditation class in the Plateau to cement your calmer, happier take on life. Treat yourself to dinner at Aux Vivres, a favourite with Montreal vegans and vegetarians, and then sip a well-deserved hot chocolate at Juliette et Chocolate, before slipping into bed, strong, serene, and ready to take on the world again.