Montreal :: It Doesn’t Get Any Better Than Queer Quebec
Originally named "Ville-Marie" (that's "City of Mary" for you Anglophone bitches), Montreal is a chic, sophisticated gay destination. Although it's the second-largest French-speaking city in the world (after Paris), you needn't worry about language barriers; most residents speak English, and getting around is pretty manageable. With triple-peaked Mount Royal in the background, the view of downtown Montreal is a beautiful sight to behold.
Le Village in a Nutshell
Speaking purely in terms of size, Montreal’s gay village is the largest in North America. Luckily for out-of-towners, it’s also easy to find; simply journey down Sainte Catherine Street - the major downtown artery - and you’ll soon see rainbow flags and (gay) "adult entertainment" shops right around Rue Berri. The Village stretches to Rue De Lorimier; in between you’ll find a plethora of bars, clubs, coffee shops, boutiques and restaurants, all serving the local and foreign LGBT community.
Planning Your "Autoroute"
For a city with a metro population of more than three million residents, Montreal is pretty easy to maneuver. If you are driving, you’ll find that there is usually street parking in The Village... although street signs are in French, so make sure you understand what they say or you could get ticketed or towed. If you fly to Montreal, there are plenty of taxis, and the Metro (subway system) will take you anywhere you need to go. The Beaudry Metro station is located smack dab in The Village.
Places to Stay: Great Deals in The Village
No matter what you’re looking for, you’ll be able to find a great place to stay in Montreal. The city’s home to a handful of inexpensive, quaint B&Bs as well as boutique hotels. Hotel Dorion is a cozy property if you’re on a budget- and it couldn’t be any closer to the action! Situated on Rue Dorion, you can get a standard room or upgrade your stay with a Jacuzzi or other amenities. Hotel Maritime Plaza is more expensive - and about two miles away from The Village - but it’s extremely gay-friendly and the service is always on-point!
Poutine, Peas and Resto Bars
If you like cruising with your meal, Le Drugstore is a treat for all of the senses. Part restaurant-part bar-part boutique, it’s a huge complex with hot waiters and waitresses, and hosts a large LGBT clientele. There’s a variety of menu options, but the best is a burger with a generous helping of poutine. Poutine - not a nickname for female anatomy - is a dish made up of French fries, topped with cheese and gravy, and a popular dish in Quebec. Some restaurants put ketchup or peas on top as well.
In fact, peas are served on top of many dishes in the Province, as sort of a garnish. A truly cosmopolitan city, Montreal - and specifically The Village - offers an eclectic mix of great cuisine, including Le Bato Thai, Restaurant La Strega (Italian) and Le Club Sandwich. More than just a great place to grab a sub, Le Club Sandwich is an institution, diner-style, complete with juke-boxes.
Next page :: Nightlife
When Night Falls Sainte Catherine Lets Her Hair Down
Montreal’s biggest and most popular gay club is Club Unity, on Sainte Catherine Street. And with three floors, there’s something for nearly everyone. On the bottom floor you’ll find a bar; one floor up are two more bars, plus a HUGE dance floor; the top floor is home to - you got it - more bars (two) and another dance floor, playing a different kind of music from below. True to its name, the crowd at Unity consists of men and women of various ages, types and preferences.
Parking is the best dance club for boys. Also located in The Village - off of Sainte Catherine - Parking offers great music, brought to you by the best local and international DJs. There are two dance floors, with disco on the main floor. Women can join the party on Wednesdays.
Worth a second mention, by night, Le Drugstore turns into a popular lesbian bar. And with three levels of drinking, dancing and debauchery, what’s not to love!?!
If you want to see nearly naked guys do the dancing for you, take a swing by Campus and get a lap dance from one of the hot (and more often than not, straight) male dancers. Leave the fag-hags at home though- women are not allowed most nights of the week.
After the club, if you’re looking for a late night "dip," there are a few bathhouses to choose from, all within stumbling distance of the gay clubs. Oasis and Sauna Centre Ville are a couple of the most popular with locals and tourists.
Beyond The Village
Of course there are beaucoup things to do outside of The Village. Montreal is a city bursting at the seams with museums, landmarks and classic architecture. Visitors who need a shopping fix can get lost at Eaton Centre. Located on Sainte Catherine, Eaton is the largest shopping mall in eastern Canada, serving more than one million visitors each week. Apple, Lacoste and Banana Republic are just a few of the retailers you’ll find here.
If you’re looking for a faster - but sometimes thrilling - way to burn through your money, venture over to the Casino De Montreal. Open 24 hours a day, the casino offers more than three thousand slot machine and more than 100 gaming tables. If you end up losing your spending money early, you can always stay and watch a cabaret show.
French, English and other influences fused harmoniously. If you’re looking for a uniquely Euro experience, but don’t want to leave North America, Montreal is an ideal destination.
For more information on gay-friendly destinations around the world, go to www.gaytravel.com