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Why go: In addition to the cobbled streets and old bistros, this Francophone city fosters some of North America’s most talented chefs, innovative musicians and a vibrant arts scene.
Where to stay: Big windows in Hôtel Gault's rooms overlook Old Montreal. The interior is modern with Italian furniture (Bertoia Bird chairs, Tolomeo lamps), neutral tones and heated bathroom floors, punctuated by cast-iron columns dating to the building's textile-factory days. Rooms from around $209; hotelgault.com.
Where to eat: Like its sister restaurant Joe Beef, David McMillan and Frédéric Morin's Liverpool House has a boisterous vibe and a menu of French- and Italian-style dishes such as mushroom-Gruyère tarts and osso bucco with ricotta gnocchi.