If you enjoy the escapism that Netflix's hit series Emily in Paris provides, you'll be happy to know there's more where that came from. No, we're not talking about a second season — although Netflix has announced that there is going to be one. Rather, Montreal is the closest thing to Paris in Canada.
By simply exploring our enchanting city, and with the help of a little imagination, you can instantly transport yourself to France, Emily-style.
Some activities will have to wait until lockdown lifts. But it really only takes a walk around to feel like you've travelled to one of Europe's most romantic, fashionable and delicious destinations.
Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount Royal
Address: 3800, chemin Queen Mary
Why It Feels Like Paris: Anyone who's been to Europe knows there are more old cathedrals than days on your trip.
Saint Joseph's Oratory, built in 1904, is "the largest shrine dedicated to Saint Joseph in the world," and with its 97-metre dome, it's worth seeing. In fact, it's impossible not to see because it's the highest point in Montreal.
It's also a Roman Catholic minor basilica just like the famous Sacré-Coeur in Paris, which boasts its own domes and which is also the highest point in town.
Address: 378, rue St-Paul O.
Why It Feels Like Paris: Owner Lysanne Pepin told MTL Blog the idea for the alleyway setup came from visits to European markets. The magical and elegant vibes have Paris written all over them. It's also right in the heart of Old Montreal, which has that historical Parisian charm to it.
The Montreal Tower
Address: 3200, rue Viau
Why It Feels Like Paris: You can't think of Paris without thinking of the Eiffel Tower. The Montreal Tower may not look much like it, but both architectural marvels are emblematic of their home cities. And, in both cities, locals have been known to roll their eyes as they complain about these "eyesores" — so we at least have that in common.
La Fontaine Park
Address: 3819, avenue Calixa-Lavallée
Why It Feels Like Paris: Fountains are a thing in Parisian parks, and Montreal's Parc La Fontaine puts its fountain in its name, not to mention that it's a beautiful 40-hectare green space with two linked ponds and waterfalls.
Plus, it's in the Plateau, home to French immigrants and architecture, making it the perfect place to bring a charcuterie board, as you enjoy a picnic on the grass while wearing a beret.
Address: 355, place Royale
Why It Feels Like Paris: What trip to Paris would be complete without macarons? Sweet, light colourful little bursts of meringue and icing sugar.
Christian Faure, the chef, was actually born in France and trained in France, having worked in multiple Paris patisseries. This location of Maison Christian Faure is in the Old Port, which will make the experience all the more Parisian.
Address: 3927, rue Saint-Denis
Why It Feels Like Paris: This Parisian-style bistro on Rue Saint-Denis is a Montreal classic, having been in business since 1980. Reviewers rave about the food, the service and the French ambiance. It's a little taste of Paris.
La Croissanterie Figaro
Address: 5200, rue Hutchison
Why It Feels Like Paris: This Outremont restaurant and café is an ideal spot to people-watch as you sip on a café au lait, just as you might in Paris. The website says it "will give you the impression of being in a pretty little 'coin perdu de Paris'" and reviewers agree.
"Beautiful terrasse and the inside feels like a Paris café. Croissants are die for, especially the almond cream or paste ones," wrote G V on Foursquare.
Address: Rue Saint-Denis and Avenue Laval
Why It Feels Like Paris: The Project for Public Spaces called this square in the Plateau "the closest thing to a European neighbourhood square you'll find this side of the Atlantic." We can't help but agree!
Address: 5134, boulevard Saint-Laurent
Why It Feels Like Paris: To be "in Paris," you need traditional French bread, and you need it to be fresh.
"After living in Paris, I learned what great bread should taste like so I'm a bit of bread snob now [...]. I have been hunting everywhere and I can say that Guillaume is my little bakery heaven in Montreal," wrote Min C., a reviewer on Yelp.
It's really as simple as that.
Address: 316, avenue du Mont-Royal E.
Why It Feels Like Paris: You know the scene when Emily basically has an orgasm in her mouth from trying a pastry? We dare you not to have the same reaction at Pâtisserie Au Kouign Amann.
They're best known for Kouign-amann, a classic cake from Brittany, France, but Yelp reviewers say their croissants are some of the best in the city.
Address: 3700, boulevard Saint-Laurent
Why It Feels Like Paris: Writers are drawn to Paris. Great American novelists, including Hemingway and Fitzgerald, flocked there in the 1920s. And we can't forget the French natives... Do names like Voltaire, Balzac, Victor Hugo and Proust ring a bell?
Take in some of that literary culture at French-language indie bookstore Gallimard.
Address: 1676, rue Ontario E.
Why It Feels Like Paris: Who goes to Paris without seeing a cabaret? This venue offers a wide variety of shows, including burlesque. But whichever act you see, it'll feel like a Paris cabaret.
Montreal City Hall
Address: 275, rue Notre-Dame E.
Why It Feels Like Paris: City Hall has been called "one of the best examples of the Second Empire style in Canada," a style of architecture also known as Napoleon III style.
According to Canada's Historic Places website, it was likely "modelled on some of the great public buildings built in Paris in the previous two decades."
The Palais Garnier, for instance, is a Paris opera house built in the same style of architecture. In fact, Napoleon III was the one who commissioned the building.
Can you spot similarities between the two structures?