"Not Paris, Not NYC, Not Toronto - just Montreal" Montreal by Tom_In_Madison

Montreal Travel Guide: 3,699 reviews and 6,896 photos

Montreal in the middle of May. Lilacs were in bloom, and hockey talk was still on the radio, but down to about 80% of the sportscast. I heard it was French, but didn’t know it would be this French—which was good. The last thing I wanted was another American-like city with a string of McDonalds, Pizza Huts and Starbucks.

This must be one of the most international cities there is. Seems like a little NY, even more international flavor than London. Almost everyone I met spoke English, but French was out of their mouths first. A ‘bon jour’ from them, one ‘Bon jour’ from me, a little hesitation, and the next phrases from them were in English. C’mon, was my French that bad?? Must have been the tape I learned it from. Other languages were clearly evident, Asians, Eastern Europeans and Middle Easterners abounded. (Why do Americans have to be the loudest ones on every block??-ugh)

Montreal has a great deal of museums, most affordable and all affordable with a museum pass—more on that later. The architecture is gorgeous, the old town is made up of buildings from 1700’s. Notre Dame Cathedral here is out of this world, rivals the one in Paris--almost. A group of violinists and cellists were practicing while I was there, it was beautiful setting, I wish I had taken in the concert. The chocolat is very evident by the many chocolat shops that abound. The boulangeries display bakery that are simply works of arts, and taste as good as they look.

A walk along Rue McGill College(?) with their rows of tulips with the flower part the size of your hand was really beautiful. The statue which you either love or hate (I loved) is along this spot too. There are a few sidewalk cafes that would be a really great spot for a coffee or a relaxing lunch. One end has a nice water fountain and it ends near McGill University at the foot of Mount Royale. A really pretty boulevard at the time I was there in mid-May.

The subway system is real easy to use, and affordable with a weekly pass (that only starts on Monday and runs until Sunday-check my tips). One use tickets are $2.75. Buses and trains are affordable, slightly more than the US (because gas is more expensive?), and can get you to Toronto or Quebec or many other spots quickly. It’s 3 hours by bus to Quebec, C$63 r/t.

There is a little Italy with a few Italian shops(that close too early), and a 2-3 block Chinatown that is mostly restaurants. 2 big markets sell fruit, veggies & plants. I stayed one block from Jean Talon Marché and went here on the way to the subway everyday, loved it. Exchange rate now is about a 10% discount for the American dollar, but with the 15% tax on seemingly everything, it comes out about even. Prices on pretty much everything here are about the same as you’d pay in the States in a big city, like Chicago.

Tips to come, still ‘working on my pages’ as they say.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Nice subway system, plentiful museums, gorgeous and tasty French bakeries and chocolatiers
  • Cons:the good exchange rate for Americans is gone now.
  • In a nutshell:Smaller, politer, cleaner, cheaper, shorter, prettier, more French Canadien version of NYC.
  • Last visit to Montreal: May 2006
  • Intro Updated May 20, 2006
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Reviews (23)

Comments (9)

  • MD2nd's Profile Photo
    Jun 23, 2011 at 12:30 AM

    Interesting tip on Biosphere (you wrote Water) Museum, and how water is affected & affects everything around it! Yes, I thought it looked like solar thermal collectors (at Muhr lake).

  • Massawippi's Profile Photo
    Jan 14, 2010 at 2:14 PM

    Great page on Montréal. I'll make that my tip, ha ha !

  • deecat's Profile Photo
    Mar 19, 2007 at 10:09 AM

    A very helpful page about Montreal, especially the excellent information about the Aerobus, subway, & museum pass. Great narratives about museums, Botanical garden, and Cathedral. Superior photos too.

  • Dabs's Profile Photo
    Jan 11, 2007 at 12:43 PM

    Doesn't Montreal in September sound lovely?

  • discobunny's Profile Photo
    Dec 3, 2006 at 5:21 AM

    C'est Tre bien!! very nice! d*

  • alza's Profile Photo
    Nov 21, 2006 at 4:00 PM

    salut beauregard! Never been to Kilo but I know a good place just reading good writing about it. It's on my list for this weekend. Yes!Première Moisson makes great stuff! I go to Ducs de Lorraine @Côte-des-Neiges & Queen Mary for éclairs...

  • Camping_Girl's Profile Photo
    Sep 23, 2006 at 10:19 PM

    Hi Tom! Great pics & tips of Montreal! Still on my list of places to go..... Thanks for stopping by my homepage! =:>)

  • Sep 23, 2006 at 7:01 PM

    Bon Soir Monsieur Tom! My family is from Montreal. I like your page! :)

  • dejavu2gb's Profile Photo
    Aug 15, 2006 at 6:11 AM

    Nice page on Montreal!! I love your beer keeping cool invention!! hahaha... thanks for the advice on beer prices!! I will be back to visit before my planned trip to Montreal.


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