An unforgettable bachelorette in Montréal
by Jessica McGovern
Ladies! Hands up if you think planning bachelorette party is all about kinky headbands and copious amounts of alcohol….
Well, it’s time for you to update your idea of a girl’s day out because here in Montréal, we’ve got a hundred other things you can do to make this a day t0 remember for your bride-to-be. And hey, if naughty headgear and brightly coloured cocktails are your thing, then never fear – we’ve got those too!
For a day perfect for female foodies, start with a sunrise breakfast cruise with Bateau Mouche, then hook up with the in-the-know guides at Montréal Craft Beer Tours, VDM’s Montréal Food Tours or Round Table Tours, where you can learn about some of Montréal’s trendiest neighborhoods while tasting everything from local chocolate to craft beer. If you’re starting to feel full, mix it up with a cocktail class at Ateliers Saveurs, or one of the city’s fantastic cooking classes such as the macarons workshops at The Lincoln Apartment Bakery or a pasta class at Mezza Luna. Or get into a festive mood with a little pedal-pushing on a party bike with Vélo Festif‘s beer and picnic combo tour of the Plateau or a nightlife ride down Mont-Royal Avenue. Finish your culinary journey at one of Montréal’s many gourmet restaurants (we like the charming Chambre à Part), then, if the gourmet day hasn’t gotten the better of you, slip into something sexy for late night drinks and dancing at an intimate Montréal natural winebar or a cocktail bar and toast your stomachs and your stamina!
If you’re here to splash out, then get some good walking shoes on and put your credit card in an easy-to-access pocket! The Plateau neighborhood is a great place to discover unique, indie boutiques; be sure to cover Boulevard Saint-Laurent and rue Saint-Denis, quaint Avenue Laurier West, and bohemian Avenue Mont Royal, or, for hight-street brands and everything-under-one-roof malls, check out Saint Catherine street downtown (You could spend a half day alone in the Eaton Centre). If you and your posse would like some expert style advice, make an appointment with the complimentary Personal Shopper available at Holt Renfrew, and when you’ve found the perfect outfit, get your makeup done at The Bay beauty counters. If you happen to be in the city on a Thursday, you should bring your well-dressed entourage to ‘Fashion Thursdays’ at the Omni Hotel, the go-to spot for Montréal’s fashionistas, where champagne cocktails are half price 5-7pm (shopping is a thirsty business!) And finally, if you’re intent on picking up some of those ‘naughty accessories’ then you can’t go wrong at the adult boutiques on St Catherine in The Village!
If you’ve come to Montréal for a spot of culture and the arts, you’ve come to the right place. This is a city full of high end design spaces and seriously affordable art. You could spend an entire day perusing the collections and drinking tea at the Montréal Museum of Fine Art and Contemporary Art Museum, or at local gems like Centre Phi and Arsenal but we highly recommend you also make time for the Espace pour la Vie district in the east of the city, which is home to the fantastic Planetarium, the beautiful botanical gardens and greenhouses, as well as the olympic stadium (great photo op) and the BioDome, a giant dome full of the flora and fauna of four different eco-systems. If you’re dreaming of building your own art collection, then take a wander along Sherbrooke street close to the Fine Art museum for sophisticated private galleries, and then dig through the eclectic antique stores of Notre Dame street. In the evening, get your glitziest outfits on and take in a performance and a celebratory glass of bubbly at the Montréal Symphony Orchestra.
If you and the girls are intent on getting some blissful downtime during this bachelorette celebration, you’ll want to schedule a gentle yoga class at Moksha, before soaking in the nordic baths of one of the city’s world-class spas (we love Bota Bota, a floating spa in the Old Port; the extremely peaceful Spa Scandinave; and the ethereal Spa Eastman.) Buff those nails with luxurious mani-pedis and a bite to eat at Victoria Park in the classy Westmount neighborhood, then make your way to The Plateau neighborhood for a head-turning blow-out at one of Montréal’s most famous salons, Helmet. Now that you look and feel gorgeous, book a pin-up photoshoot with Montréal Glamour Parties, where photographer Marisa Parisela will have you all in corsets and stilettos, snapping permanent reminders of your pampered selves.
If you’re group is more about hiking boots than high heels then you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to organizing an unforgettable, action-packed itinerary. To start, you’ll need appropriate transport, so get to Dyad, where they’ll get you all set up with electric bikes or scooters to whizz around the city in style. To get to know Montréal a bit better (and get those competitive juices flowing) check out Guidatour or VDm Global DMC, who offer scavenger hunts, as well as regular walking tours (and ghost tours!) of the city’s diverse neighborhoods. Once you’ve got the lay of the land, scoot over to the Old Port, where you can get your adrenaline pumping with a zipline ride over the water, then put those forearms to the test with a spot of indoor climbing at Horizon Roc. Not tired yet? How about a taste of Montréal’s favourite winter passtime – any time of year. Atrium Le 1000 offers a huge indoor ice skating rink that will have you humming the tune to ‘Frozen’ and dreaming of Olympic glory as you glide by your girlfriends. And how to finish a day like that? Well, if you’re lucky enough to be in town on the day of one of Montréal’s legendary fireworks shows (every Wednesday and Saturday June-July) then the best way to soak up the magic is on the water – book a fireworks boat tour with Le Petit Navire and prepare to be as dazzled as a fiancée with a brand new diamond.
Jessica McGovern is a journalist, editor, and teacher with published work around the world in newspapers, magazines, blogs and Websites.
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