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Montreal: the perfect blend of traditional and modern.

If you’ve ‘done’ the US from N. Y. to L.A. and New Orleans to Chicago but are addicted to what only North America can offer, now’s the time to start discovering Canada. And what better place to begin than in Montreal, a fabulous city at any time of year. The city combines 'North American swagger and Euro-cool', reports BBC Travel, and has a 'cutting-edge culture that outshines its Canadian brethren'.

Visit Marché Jean-Talon, the city’s largest market, located in the heart of Little Italy, to get an idea of what life’s really like in this stylish city. The vast square contains an amazing number of market stalls that amount to several hundred and is surrounded by smart food shops where you can buy your Maple Syrup. If what you see whets your appetite, stalls produce fresh juices, crepes and fresh baguette sandwiches. If you’re looking for edible gifts, try the Québécois specialty store, Le Marché des Saveurs.

If you’ve over indulged, do your penance by hiking up Mont Royal, stopping at the Kondiaronk Lookout point for a perfect view of the city. At the top, Mount Royal Park, the work of New York Central Park designer Frederick Law Olmsted, is a vast, green area where locals cycle, jog, go horseback riding, and even cross-country skiing and tobogganing in winter. Visit the nearby Chalet du Mont Royal and the landmark 40m-high Cross of Montreal, which commemorates the city founder , Maisonneuve, who carried a wooden cross up the mountain in 1643 to thank God for sparing his village from flooding.

Back on ground level, you can explore the cobblestone alleys of Old Montreal and learn something of the history of the town at the Musée d’Archéologie etd’Histoire Pointe-à-Callière. Interactive exhibits include video monitors that allow visitors to ask questions of the ‘virtual’ figures from the 17th and 18th Centuries about their lives in the colony.

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