Thursday, February 16, 2012

Montreal en lumière, February 16-26

Today is the start of the 13th edition of Montreal en lumière, the 11-day festival that features hundreds of gastronomic and wine tasting activities, shows, exhibits, concerts and a free outdoor illuminated site.

The last few years had been staged at Old Montreal, but this year brings a return to the Quartier des spectacles with a new outdoor site with numerous activities, installations and splashy uses of illumination. They will also be bringing the fine dining experience outdoors with a number of stopovers with culinary offerings from this year's featured regions Wallonia and Brussels.

A major part of Montreal en lumière is the 9th edition of the Nuit blanche à Montréal, which will take place during the night of Saturday, February 25 into early Sunday, February 26. Mostly free, there are 170 activities available including museum visits, poetry, film, music, song, skating, artists' workshops, art galleries, and even winter swimming.

The 2012 Montreal en lumière continues to Sunday February 26 at the the Quartier des spectacles and throughout Montreal.


Finally: it’s MEL time!

Finally-it’s here! Today, winter and the city come alive, thanks to an incredible array of marvelous performances spanning every genre, delectable gourmet dishes laid out on every table, and free large-scale outdoor activities lighting up every corner of frosty February. To help you get the most out of this marathon of winter pleasure, here’s a brief glimpse of what awaits us at MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE, from today through Sunday, February 26:

The Free Outdoor Site opens at 5 p.m.

We remind everyone that the new MEL free outdoor site now extends from De Bleury to Saint-Urbain and De Maisonneuve to Ste. Catherine, and is mainly divided into two large sections, the Place des Festivals and the Place des Arts esplanade. It’s easy to find: just head to the new multicoloured heart of the Quartier des Spectacles, alive with activity as soon as the sun goes down!


Grand opening soiree

  • Activity - La meute aux mille regards, on the Place des Festivals, 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.

  • Activity - L’ombre de soi, RBC Stage, 6 p.m.

  • Mega-projection: À propos de Sternon the east wall of the Maison du Festival Rio Tinto Alcan, 6:30 p.m., 7:15 p.m. (but 7:30 p.m. other evenings) and 9 p.m.

  • StefieShock, RBC Stage, 8 p.m.

  • Payz Play Supa Deejays and VJ MA”, Bell DJs and VJs and dancing in the RBC Dome, 9:15 p.m.

  • As well as the FrançoisBourassa Duo with guest in jazz club Le Balmoral, at 9 p.m., 10 p.m. and 11 p.m.

  • À propos de Stern Mega-Projection
    … the Maison du Festival Rio Tinto Alcan comes to life!

    Presented three times every evening of the festival: 6:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m. (tonight exceptionally at 7:15 p.m.) and 9 p.m.

    Mega-projection À propos de Stern promises to be the most popular of our free activities, and doubtlessly the most spectacular. this audiovisual spectacle created by Geodesik and Marc Leclair will bring the east wall of the Maison du Festival Rio Tinto Alcan to life, transforming, distorting, transfiguring and deconstructing the building with video-mapping techniques. In practical terms, the façade will come to life with spectacular projections creating movement, characters reminiscent of those created by Magritte, as well as from Alice in Wonderland and Star Wars, and droll, hilarious or even psychedelic scenarios. Get set for a stunning and innovative visual adventure that promises to be a real eyeful!
    Take a Bite of MEL!

    Now, our guests can also treat themselves to fine food on the site while they celebrate! Whether arriving on the site right after work or school, or later in the evening, guests can create a meal with selections from different kiosks and enjoy it at a show, in the Loblaws Spheres, waiting to hit the Urban Slide again, or anywhere else on the site! Here’s a glimpse of what awaits us over this long weekend:

  • RBC Dome: Urban cocktails, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. (excluding today and February 19, 22 and 26) with tapas by caterer Vincent Lafleur and the wines of Washington State and Oregon

  • Bistro Le Balmoral on the outdoor site: simmering homemade soup you can have your way (mixed vegetables, chicken, rice, barley…)

  • Bistro de glace SAQ: in the heart of the site, next to a spinning DJ, it’s the ideal spot to meet and hoist a glass! Illuminated seating, “ice effect” décor, bottle-juggling classes, duck or wapiti sausages and marshmallows to grill, “Boulettes de Liège”, flambé cocktails…

  • Grumman 78 (February 16 to 19): menudo soup, foie gras tacos, feta tacos, paprika quesadilla with mushrooms…

  • Maison du chocolat: featuring chocolate delights created by two renowned artisan chocolatiers: LaurentGerbaud of Brussels and his bars sprinkled with spices, exotic fruits and nuts, and François Deremiens of Wallonia with his delicate pralines and little chocolate bonbons.

  • Place Loblaws

  • LoblawsSpheres: a magnificent oasis where guests can warm up, relax, visit food kiosks, discover and purchase Québécois products and enjoy free tastings. It’s the ideal spot to recharge your batteries before plunging back into the party!

  • Baraque à frites: a characteristically Belgian mini-trailer serving up delicious foods from Frites Alors!

  • AmarulaBar and entertainment: fold yourself into the warm South African ambience of the Amarula Bar, featuring the Tam-Tam Amarula,. The menu features cafés à l’Amarula and a shooter in a chocolate cone (also on the weekend from 3-3:30 p.m.).

  • Belgian waffles: whether you like them Brussels or Liège style, they’re sure to tempt your taste buds!

  • And finally, join us for beverages at Rickard’s BarCafé Jura, Porto Cabral and the Lait Milk Bar. And don’t forget that the site offers ample opportunities to sample delicious Belgian spéculoos biscuits and hot non-alcoholic cranberry drinks.

  • MEL for the entire family!

    As always, MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE is the perfect event for the family fun! A ton of activities await young and old alike throughout the duration of the festival, including the new Winter Ferris Wheelluminous interactive installations, the gigantic Milk Urban Slide, activities in the Milk Family Fun Zone (giant-sized parlour games, a photo studio photo, portrait-taking…), activities and entertainment on the site, the Sun Life Financial “Les Radieux” illuminated characters, the RBC Hurray for Hockey Tent, etc. And let’s not forget that the young’uns will also love being on the site! And don’t forget to come on down for autograph sessions in the RBC Dome on Saturdays, starring heroes of children’s music (Henri Godon, February 18 and Les Petites Tounes, February 25) and on Sundays, starring RBC Olympic athletes (February 19, Benoit St-Amand, luge hockey gold medalist in the Paralympic Games, and February 26, Christine Robinson, water-polo).

    Opening hours of the Free Outdoor Site

    February 16-26 (except Monday and Tuesday): 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.
    Saturday: noon to 11 p.m. (Nuit blanche, February 25: noon to 3 a.m.)
    Sunday: noon to 6 p.m.

    An artistic program packed with possibilities!

    The MEL artistic program once again offers something to satisfy even the most demanding winter warrior! Here’s a brief glimpse:

    Toots Thielemans Opening concert - He’s the perfectly magnificent Belgian ambassador for the MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE opening concert! Mr. Thielemans already knows our city well, having played here many times, starting with his inaugural visit to the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal in 1986. Since then, he’s played here with the idol of his youth, Larry Adler, as well as with John Scofield, Michel Donato, Dave Brubeck, Pat Metheny, Paolo Fresu and, on a number of occasions, with brilliant pianist and composer Kenny Werner, a regular accompanist of Toots. For this unique evening, the old confederates assemble once more as a duo, for a performance dedicated to musical excellence! Tonight, 8 p.m., Théâtre Maisonneuve, PdA. Presented by RBC in collaboration with CBC-Radio-Canada.

    My Little Cheap Dictaphone. Opening act: Hôtel Morphée - Two-time winners at the 2010 Octaves de la musique (Rock and Best Album for The Tragic Tale of a Genius), this Liège quartet is blowing up in francophone Europe. The group brought their overseas success to Montreal last year, with a Brit pop-rock sound that borrows as liberally from opera as from Tom Waits or Arcade Fire! Not it’s our turn to dig the hot Belgian group of the moment, and we simply cannot wait! Opening the evening, last year’s winners of the Prix des FrancoFolies at the Festival international de la chanson de Granby, Hôtel Morphée. Les Primeurs Financière Sun LifeFebruary 17, 8 p.m., L’Astral.

    Été 67. Opening act: The Experimental Tropic Blues Band - Whatever the season or year, the time is always right for Été 67, THE best Belgian group in the world! Their Passer la frontière album respects no musical borders, doling out a healthy dose of Americana, with the tense beauty of the Strokes, the warm folk-rock of Neil Young, and the language of Brel: an intelligent, redoubtable pop. Also, The Experimental Tropic Blues Band, pride of Liège, fire out the furious rock’n'roll punk blues captured on their latest album, Liquid Love, produced by Jon Spencer! Les Primeurs Financière Sun LifeFebruary 18, 8 p.m., L’Astral.

    Diane Tell After her jazzy tribute to Boris Vian, Diane Tell, longtime resident of the Basque coast and a star in France, returns to us to present her brand new album, Rideaux ouverts, recorded in Montreal, co-produced with Serge Fortin and featuring other Quebec musicians. Famed for her immortal track Si j’étais un homme, Tell is back with all the gentle strength and nuance we know and love. We can’t wait! Les Primeurs Financière Sun Life,February 20, 8 p.m., L’Astral.

    Stromae. Opening act: Karim Ouellet. - A debut album-featuring the super-smash Alors on danse-and the word on everyone’s lips is “phenomenon.” And that was confirmed last summer in Métropolis. Born in Brussels of Rwandan extraction, Stromae returns with a near-perfect presentation of the hip-hop-electro-chanson cocktail that sets every crowd dancing. The evening opens with another lovely surprise, this time straight out of the Québécois scene: Karim Ouellet and his debut album PlumeFebruary 23, 8 p.m., Métropolis. Presented in collaboration with CKOI 96.9.

    Tickets are available at the venue or site of the show, from the Admission and Ticketmaster networks (514-790‑1245 or 1‑800-361‑4595; or Place des Arts (514-842-2112 or 1-866-842-2112; and Club Soda box office (1225 St.Laurent Blvd;

    A Festival of delights in the MEL gastronomy program

    The Festival’s gastronomy program boasts an incredible diversity of activities guaranteed to excite the most refined palate. With the spotlight on the Wallonia-Brussels regionsSeattle (and the wine-growing regions of Oregon and Washington State) and the Outaouais, fans can titillate their taste buds through 11 days and nights, enjoying the Air France Festival’s 50 Finest Tables, our Special Events or activities at Jean-Talon Market. Here are some of the activities from the gourmet program:

    Calling all chocoholics! - Thursday, February 16 and Friday, February 17, starting at 6 p.m. - Au Petit Extra is pleased to welcome Gaétan Tessier, co-owner of ChocoMotive, a chocolate economuseum in Montebello that uses only organic fair trade chocolate from Peru. This artisan chocolatier will take you on a mesmerizing taste trip with an all-chocolate meal! Au Petit Extra.

    Beer at BU?! - Thursday, February 16 to Monday, February 20 and from Thursday, February 23 to Sunday, February 26, starting at 5 p.m. - Hold the wine! BU is paying homage to Belgium’s beverage of choice: beer. Throughout the festival, BU will be swapping its usual happy hour wines with beer trios, placing selections from Belgium, Italy, and Quebec in a friendly battle. Tapas will also be served to quench your grumbles. BU.

    Horizontal tasting of Washington State wines - Thursday, February 16 to Saturday, February 26 (closed on Mondays), starting at 5:30 p.m. - The Continental Bistro offers a horizontal wine tasting featuring typical grape varieties from Washington State, such as shiraz and pinot noir, as well as European wines of the same varieties. A West Coast style meal will complement the tasting.Continental Bistro.

    Our Chef’s 2012 Culinary Creations! - Sunday, February 19 and Monday, February 20, starting at 6 p.m. - Come chase your winter blues away at Ferreira Café! For two consecutive nights, chef Marino Tavares invites you to discover the pleasures of Portuguese cuisine through a warm, sunny, and savoury five-course meal. Ferreira Café.

    Sapristi! - Monday, February 20 to Wednesday, February 22, starting at 5 p.m. - Drawing on his experience in instant cooking and his love of all things authentic, Nicolas will be showcasing his talents for three sumptuous evenings in La Fabrique’s open kitchen. The chef, who has a penchant for natural wines and local, organic products, will be joined by Jean-Baptiste and Stéphanie’s entire team to cook up a five-course meal! La Fabrique.

    Le Tartuffe Plus One! - Thursday, February 16 and Friday, February 17, starting at 5 p.m. - L’Autre Version is proud to welcome chef Gérard Fisher from restaurant Le Tartuffe. For the occasion, we will be preparing a six-course meal elaborated using fresh local products from the Outaouais, a region brilliantly represented by our guest. L’Autre Version.

    Art on Your Plate : a Tribute to “Les Automatistes” - Thursday, February 16 ; Friday, February 17 and 24; and Saturday, February 18 and 25, starting at 5:30 p.m. - Having been raised on contemporary art, chef Antonin Mousseau-Rivard offers a colourful menu inspired by the works of Mousseau and Borduas. Discover the painters who have been a past and present influence on the chef as you journey to a place where art is everywhere, including your plate. Le Contemporain.

    Mussels and Fries and Beer (Oh My)! - Thursday, February 16 to Saturday, February 18 and Wednesday, February 22 to Saturday, February 25, starting at 5:30 p.m. - David Ferguson is mad about mussels. To prove it, he offers an evening of beer and mussel pairings, served with a side of fries. Choose among the chef’s mussel preparations, from a craft beer complementing your selection will be suggested to you. A toast to Quebec and Belgium! Le Jolifou.

    Sold-out activities

    The three Honorary President’s Dinners with Yves Mattagne, at Toqué!, as well as the Presenting: Quebec Chefs and Cheeses and many activities in the Air France Festival’s Finest Tables are sold out. For more information and to plan out your own personal gourmet “menu”, please visit

    Changes to the program

    Bistro Beaver Hall

    Gourmet evening with Danny St-Pierre and Philippe Wouters moved to Friday, February 24, starting at 6 p.m. (one evening only)

    All-you-can-eat Mussels and Fries! additional dates: February 16 to 18 andFebruary 22, 23 and 25, from 5:30 p.m.
    Cinéma Excentris - Sensuality and Indulgence: chocolate for all the senses! -cancelled

    Europea - Belgian Chocolate and Waffles! - February 16, 17 and 20-24 -cancelled

    L’Inconnu - Grunge Night! February 17 and 18 - cancelled

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