Montreal, Quebec, Canada
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Exploring Montreal

Lively, cultural, historic, and the heart of French-speaking Canada, Montreal is a delight to visit on holiday or business. Old Montreal, comprising the Old Port and the waterfront Old Town, is a favourite with tourists, and the soaring skyscrapers of the downtown district attest to the city’s place as one of Canada’s strongest economic hubs. Party central is found in the Quartier Latin and the adjacent Le Village, with their restaurants, nightclubs, bars, trendy boutiques, and pubs. North of the downtown district is the see-and-be-seen Plateau quarter with its quaint buildings, theatres, multi-cultural communities, and summer festivals.

Montreal’s strategic setting on an island in the estuary of the St Lawrence River was originally home to an Iroquois Indian settlement, and is still a hub for trade in the present day as well as being famous for its parks, green spaces, and huge variety of festivals, ranging from ethnic fairs to massive international events. Downtown and Old Montreal are best explored on foot, and the city’s metro, commuter rail, and bus systems take care of travel to the remainder of its interesting districts. Fans of outdoor activities can enjoy cross-country skiing and ice-skating in winter, and watery activities, such as kayaking, boating, and river-surfing, are all popular.

Sights nearby

Montreal buzzes from dawn to past midnight, and its decidedly French flavor is an added attraction, especially in its restaurants and stylish shopping areas. Its historic Old Town holds heritage buildings dating from the 17th century onward, in addition to first-rate museums. Hotels close to the action include the Hotel Espresso and the Delta Montreal.

Old Montreal
Old Montreal tells the 350-year-old history of the city right up to the present day through its cobbled streets, heritage buildings, traditional street market, the Victorian Gothic Basilica of Notre Dame, and the Vieux Port area, now a riverside green space holding attractions such as the Cirque du Soleil, the Science Centre, the Labyrinth, and the Clock Tower. Pedestrianised Place Jacques Cartier is home to street theatre, musicians, good restaurants, and art galleries.

Parc di Mont-Royal
For the best view of the cityscape, head for this park, set on the hill that gave the city its name. The urban green space is huge and beautiful, holds innumerable walking trails taking in its more remote, peaceful corners, and is great for a tour by rented bicycle.

Rosemont – La Petite Patrie
These two quarters comprise Little Italy and Little Vietnam, and are packed with local stores, vibrant life, and Italian and Vietnamese restaurants, making them a must-visit for gourmet tourists. Shopaholics will adore the Jean-Talon outdoor market, one of the largest and most-loved markets in the city.

Eating and drinking and shopping nearby

Montreal is culinary heaven for its mix of gastronomies and eateries covering everything from French, Asian, and European cuisine to Jewish deli delights, ethnic specialties, and traditional Quebecois dishes. From budget level fast foods and local café-restaurants to high-end fine dining, there’s a meal to suit every budget and taste.

Many restaurants operate a bring-your-own-wine service, allowing savings on the admittedly high-taxed imported wines. For shopping trips around town, Boulevard St Laurent gives a riot of stores selling everything you’ll ever need, while luxury boutiques are found on Rue St Denis. Collectors and those searching for a unique souvenir should head for Rue Amherst in the city’s Gay Village.

Public transport

Montreal’s efficient metro system is the best public transport option for getting around the downtown districts, although the non-air-conditioned trains can be stuffy in summer and signage and announcements are given in French only. For exploring further, the commuter rail system covers the city and its far-flung suburbs, and taxis are easily available albeit expensive. The public bus system is comprehensive, but the French signage can be confusing for non-French speakers.

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