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Montreal

marche bonsecours montrealMontreal is a shopper's delight -- especially if you're in the market for haute couture, fine furs, or French pastries or wine. Many of the major boutiques and malls can be found downtown (both above- and underground), but there are intriguing streets and stores all over the city. Be prepared to pay a goods and services tax (GST) as well as a provincial tax (unlike some countries, Canada does not refund these taxes for international visitors).

Shopping Abroad: A Traveler's Guide

The historic Marche Bonsecours dates back to 1847 and today houses a number of boutiques offering local artisan goods such as jewelry, crafts and leather products. The building also hosts rotating exhibitions of contemporary arts and crafts. There are several restaurants and cafes here for shoppers who need a break.

Rue Ste-Catherine is the heart of the downtown shopping district, and the place to find big department stores and outposts of major international chains.

Two major areas to whip out your plastic include Rue Sherbrooke, which is known for its tony designer boutiques and gourmet restaurants, and Boulevard St-Laurent, whose shops, galleries and restaurants offer a more multicultural atmosphere. Another area worth seeking out is the funky Quartier Latin, anchored by Rue St-Denis, where you'll find trendy fashions and a wealth of restaurants.

Don't let bad weather keep you from hitting the shops -- if it's rainy or cold, just retreat into Montreal's Underground City, where you'll find passageways lined with more than 1,000 stores. Many aboveground shopping complexes and hotels connect to this massive network, and it's accessible from a number of Metro stations as well. Maps of the Metro network and Underground City are available at most Metro stations.

Foodies won't want to miss a visit to Atwater Market, where fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, fish, cheese and pastries make a feast for all the senses. The market has been serving Montrealers since 1933. Jean-Talon is a sister market in the Little Italy section of the city.
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