Three Hours in Montreal

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Eclectic Try to make time for a stroll along Boulevard St.-Laurent

The second largest francophone metropolis in the world, Montreal offers plenty of opportunities for joie de vivre. With a buzzing culinary culture, green spaces galore and a vibrant arts scene, it's a city you'll want to linger in. But if you're in town on business, with only brief snatches between meetings, here's how to max your time.

One hour: Start outside the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in the downtown area's elegant Sherbrooke Street. Admire its elegant, neoclassical facade before heading east and strolling through the grounds of McGill University (one of Canada's oldest) to University Street. From there, wind your way around Pine Avenue and Park for a 15-minute walk to the fringes of Mount Royal Park, the city's green lung.

Two hours: Hail a taxi and head to the hip Le Plateau neighborhood, filled with characterful bars, cafés and restaurants. On Rachel Street East, refuel with a plate of poutine and a thirst-quenching microbrewery beer at La Banquise,

Three hours: Head south down Boulevard St.-Laurent, where the city's immigrant and French and English communities merge, and browse the strip's eclectic fashion, design and food stores. After shopping, savor a glass of wine at Café Méliès,, in the avant-garde eXcentris, a strikingly designed performing-arts center and cinema.