CalecheMontreal is one of, if not the most interesting city you can visit in Canada. Unlike some other destinations, say at an island resort where your day-to-day experience on the trip is a lot of the same thing, in Montreal, your travel experience will vary depending on which side of the city you are in.
Montreal was traditionally divided into the French quarter to the east and the British quarter to the west of Mount Royal, the triplepeaked hill at the heart of the city from which its name was taken.
You can have a very European, old-world experience in Old Montreal, at Place Jacques Cartier, where you can sit for a café au lait at one of the restaurant terraces lining the streets offering Parisian alfresco dining. Another way to experience Old Montreal is on a caleche (horse-drawn carriage) ride through Rue Notre Dame, where naturally, the Basilique Notre Dame is located.
Place Jacques CartierMoving north from Old Montreal and at the heart of downtown Montreal is “The Main” or Boulevard Saint-Laurent, where street signs to the east have the suffix “-est,” and those to the west have the suffix “-ouest.” Should you choose to go east, you will find yourself at Quartier Latin. The vibe here is very young, artsy and intellectual as this is where the universities, cinema and theatre converge. There are many pubs, bars and cafés to soak up the creative atmosphere.
A staple in every culturally-diverse city, north of “The Main” is Montreal’s Chinatown. Move up to Plateau Mont Royal where there are even more bars and restaurants, then if you venture a bit further, you will find yourself in Little Italy. Along the way, you will stumble upon little discoveries, restaurants and teahouses featuring less common, more unexpected cuisines. Another discovery is the Reso or the underground city. Reso, from the French word reseau, meaning “network,” is a system of passages leading to malls, cinemas, museums, offices and metro stations under the city. To find the Reso, follow the blue signs at street level that show you where to descend.
When travelling to Montreal, check the weather before your trip. Montreal summers tend to be very hot and winters are really cold, so it is best to travel during late spring and early fall. When tipping in a restaurant, 15% of the pretax bill is acceptable. You might also want to consider purchasing a museum pass which allows you unlimited access to the bus and metro system for three days and, of course, free entry to 30 museums!