The Plateau-Mont-Royal district, known simply as (Le) Plateau, is the arbiter of taste when it comes to hip things in the city. While Downtown has its business centers, office towers and skyscrapers, the main streets of the low-rise Plateau are lined with cafés, boutiques, galleries and restaurants.
Built mostly in the late 19th and early 20th century, the Plateau is a neighborhood of row houses many of which feature Montreal’s trademark curved exterior stairs. Originally a working-class area, the neighborhood gradually became the hottest thing in Montreal (and, to some extent, in North America) by attracting countless bohemians who were in turn following writers, musicians, poets and other “creative workers”. Thankfully, Montreal's financial type contigent is small, so the neighborhood became only moderately more expensive.
The Boulevard St-Laurent (also known as “the main”) deserves a special mention as a sort of an open-air museum of immigration. Strolling the boulevard up from Rue Sherbrooke, one gets to see the fruits of labor of countless arrivals from Poland, Portugal, Italy and (for more recent arrivals) Asia and Latin America -- it suffices to take note of the restaurants, stores, bank and building names. Boulevard St-Laurent is a symbol of a true Montreal mix: neither exclusively “franco-” nor too “anglo-”, peppered with flavors and colors of every corner of the globe -- perhaps, just a little too commercialized for our liking but intriguing and stimulating nonetheless.
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