"Not Paris, Not NYC, Not Toronto - just Montreal" Montreal by Tom_In_Madison
Montreal Travel Guide: 3,664 reviews and 6,825 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: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.
Insectarium de Montreal Located on grounds of the Botanical gardens. Insects from everywhere. See live bees building... more travel advice
More about the history of Montreal. This one had good audio-visual things to go along with the stories. 2 floors tall,... more travel advice
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