Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Montréal for families: 500 stair steps between the MBAM and the mountain top

I found my way to the top... of Mont-Royal

This summer, I was looking for a nice walk to enjoy the city and to stretch our legs after a visit to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MBAM). Found it!

Facing the main entrance to the MBAM (on Sherbrooke Street) is the Avenue du Musée. Part of it is carless and features a whimsical installation during the summer. This year, it's a labyrinth of flowers painted on the street. Last year, it was a series of bicycle reflectors attached to the pavement. All around, is the permanent sculpture garden featuring 22 artworks. (Torontonians will recognize one of the cows by Joe Fafard that we can see in downtown's financial district!).

Part of the sculpture garden is the spectacular Soleil (sun) by Dale Chihuly, which has to be stored every winter to protect its 1,200 pieces of glass! Every spring, it is reinstalled in front of the Michal & Renata Hornstein Pavilion. Watch the master piece being put back together on this cool timelaps clip

Then, walk up the Avenue du Musée to the end of the street, where you'll find a staircase. Go up, then turn right on Avenue des Pins. Cross the street and keep walking along Avenue des Pins, past Redpath Crescent. You'll see a paved path to your left with signs for Chemin Olmsted.

Follow the signs and the (several) staircases up until you reach the Chalet du Mont-Royal, where you'll be rewarded by a breathtaking view of Montréal. 

The chalet itself is a gorgeous, spacious, and underutilized building. A nice café taking advantage of the view would be lovely (but they have washrooms). You can buy snacks and water from machines, and frozen treats from vendors, and then sit on Muskoka chairs to enjoy the panorama.

It takes 30 minutes to walk from the museum to the Chalet du Mont-Royal... some 500 stair steps away.

Are you hungry?
You can have a generous all-day breakfast at Eggspectation, a whimsical big restaurant at 1313 de Maisonneuve West, or a big sandwich at the urban cafeteria Anton & James (1414 Stanley) which you could eat in the cute hidden garden on the west side of the presbyterian church of St. Andrew and St. Paul (just west of the Soleil), accessible through a little portal off Sherbrooke Street. 

Out of curiosity, I asked my Montreal colleague, Josée Noiseux, author of Humeurs de Paris and blogger of cool things in big cities, what would be her recommendation for a casual yummy stop before or after the walk and/or a visit to the MBAM, she pointed me to a lovely place I had totally missed! The cute Café Vasco Da Gama (1472 Peel Street), a small Portuguese delicatessen/cafeteria with a great menu.

(This post is a partial translation of my French article in L'Express de Toronto on Rodin's exhibition at the MBAM until October 18, 2015.)

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