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Montreal Travel Guide

About Montreal

With its alluring fusion of cobblestone streets, flashy skyscrapers, European chic and North American swagger, Montreal is unlike any other city on the continent.

Canada’s largest French-speaking city is happy to dish out a dose of old-world charm amid its grand heritage buildings and 18th- and 19th-century narrow lanes. But it’s a progressive city too: a creative hub, where swanky boutique hotels radiate contemporary cool, and a slew of flashy new skyscrapers are competing to make their mark on the skyline. This is a sophisticated riverside metropolis, crammed with cosmopolitan eateries, hyper-cool shops and a cornucopia of festivals.

When it comes to sightseeing, there’s plenty to gawp at. Enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride (calèche) along the St Laurence River in Old Montreal and amble down to the buzzing harbour front. Stroll to Plateau Mont-Royal, where wrought-iron staircases, designer fashion boutiques, a thriving arts scene and snazzy nightspots pepper its funky streets. Pop over to Mile End, home to Jewish, Greek and Italian communities, and a hipster magnet thanks to its quirky restaurants, cafés, shops and bars.

Le Village Gai is one of North America’s largest gay districts, where you can dine alfresco in the summer when rue Sainte-Catherine becomes pedestrianised. Sip a cappuccino in Little Italy, home to the Jean-Talon Market, or escape from the urban hustle to Pôle des Rapides, a 21km (12-mile) park where you can enjoy a lazy cruise along the Lachine Canal.

Foodies go bananas for Montreal’s finger-licking cuisine. The city claims to have the largest number of eateries per capita in North America, and its markets are something to truly savour – tuck into delicious specialities like crepes and fried squid and ubiquitous maple syrup products. The food truck phenomenon has taken Montreal by storm too, with an eclectic mix of vendors dishing up everything from dim sum to schnitzel.

Up for a party? Montreal’s festival vibe is second-to-none, from world-class jamming at the International Jazz Festival to chuckles by the bucket load at the Just for Laughs Festival. And don’t miss the crazily chilly line-up of outdoor shows at winter festival Montréal en Lumière.

Key facts

Population:
1649519
Latitude:
45.512365
Longitude:
-73.554394

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Featured Hotels

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Château Versailles

This Agatha Christie-esque hotel is ideal for anyone looking for a quiet Montreal hotel. Converted from posh townhouses, the interior features antique fixtures, delightful rooms and an overall classy atmosphere. You won’t be able to find a better location, right in the city’s heart and at the base of Mount Royal. Pampered pooches are welcome, as are well-behaved children. In addition to the usual services, the hotel also offers hourly baby-sitting.

Hotel Le Germain

This Montreal hotel has 101 designer rooms. Everything is eye pleasing from the minimalist furniture to the low-lit hallways. If you own an iPad and appreciate nice shoes this trendy hotel should tick your boxes. Rooms are loft style and have superior cotton sheets goose down duvets and – ladies will appreciate this - Aveda bathroom products.

Le Place D’Armes

Listed as a boutique hotel with 135 rooms, visitors often choose this hotel as it has lots of personality with its stylish interior design and Old Montreal location. Brick walls, walk-in rain showers, plush goose down duvets and pillows and contemporary decor make the rooms warm and interesting, plus the 3,000sq ft Rainspa featuring a traditional Middle Eastern hammam.

Le Relais Lyonnais

Clean, great location and with nicely decorated rooms, Le Relais is the perfect base for visitors looking for affordable accommodation. Rooms are simple and comfortable with modern interior design and reception staff are more than happy to hand out maps. The hotel is next to Berri-UQAM Metro station, which is extremely convenient for car-less tourists.

Hotel Quartier des Spectacles

Taking its name from the entertainment district where it's based, Hotel Quartier des Spectacles' exposed brickwork, hardwood floors and simple yet spaciously designed rooms makes it one of the most appealing budget options in the downtown area. Recently renovated, the four-story centennial building currently doesn't offer disabled access.

Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth

Due to reopen in June 2017 following a C$140 million refurbishment project, this Montreal landmark has hosted a fair few celebrities, and was the headquarters of John and Yoko’s famous ‘bed in’. Its central location and métro link up is ideal for disoriented travellers. Services are top of the range with a beauty parlour, health club and indoor pool.