Montreal’s Quartier Latin is one of the main areas that tourists head to when they come to visit. Located in the Ville-Marie borough and bordered the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQUAM) and the Village Gai, this area is teeming with life. The main drag is found along lower rue Saint-Denis between Ste-Catherine and Sherbrooke. It’s got a decidedly Bohemian vibe and is lined with great restaurants, cafes, bistros, pubs, bookstores, boutiques as well as theatres and cinemas.
[PHOTO_134146] The area owes it name to the two universities in the area, following a Parisian tradition of identifying any student neighborhood by the main language needed for scholars to be successful – Latin. Montréal’s own Latin Quarter was established in 1895 when Laval University started up, eventually becoming the Université de Montréal. In 1920s the École Polytechnique de Montréal opened its doors.
When Université de Montréal moved north to Mount Royal in the 1940s, the Université de Quebéc was invited to the area and by the late 1960s UQAM was a permanent fixture . A large junior college, the CEGEP du Vieux- Montréal also moved in at at the same time guaranteeing the area would always have a large student population.
You won’t have any trouble finding a great cup of coffee in this neighborhood. Restaurants like Café Kilo, Café Croissant de Lune and Café Gitana are all great places to grab a coffee at breakfast or lunch. Java U is the Montreal version of Starbucks or Second Cup but with cheaper prices. Cheap eats are also easy to find since most of the restaurants are geared to a student budget. For one fantastic burger head to La Paryse, a small hole in the wall 1950s diner serving amazing salads, sandwiches, burgers and desserts. Frits Alors is the place to head to for Montreal’s signature dish of poutine served in a variety of ways. If you’re craving a chocolate, whether its truffles or a milk-shake, step into Juliette & Chocolat on Rue St. Denis.
[PHOTO_134147]With students filling the bars until the wee hours of the morning, there’s no shortages of great watering holes and places to party. Head over to the Jello Bar for great R&B music or grab a brew at the Nyks Pub & Grill, Les 3 Brasseurs. When the weather is decent, almost every restaurant has a terrace where you can people watch and grab a cold beer.
Québécoise films have garnered international praise and Montréal has a healthy film scene. The Cinémathèque québécoise holds evenings of films and special events. Next door is the National Film Board of Canada's CinéRobotheque, offering film workshops, cinematic evenings and other special events. Just around the corner is the The Grande Bibliothèque du Québec, a haven for reading and relaxing. This 5-storey building has 1,300 reading armchairs, 850 study seats 350 computer stations, 44 audio stations and 50 video stations –all with Internet connections. The Grande Bibliothèque also contains exhibition spaces and is a great place to check local artists. There are weekly events and shows at Théâtre Saint-Denis and Cinéma du Quartier Latin.
Montreal’s Quartier Latin is one cool place to hang.