Montreal is the second largest city in Canada and one of the largest cities in all of North America (the 15th largest.) Come visit 'the second largest French-speaking city in the Western world after Paris,' and enjoy all that French culture has to offer. With between 60-70% of Montreal's residents speaking primarily French, prepare yourself for a fabulously French experience, without ever leaving North America. So brush up on your 'parlez vous francais,' because you'll definitely need it in Montreal.
Montreal actually dates all the way back to the 14th century, when it was home to the native aboriginals-mostly the Iroquois tribe. Montreal was officially settled in 1611 by the French explorer Samuel de Champlain as a fur trading station, and has retained its French character ever since.
Because Montreal is one of Canada's largest cities, there are many cheap flights to Montreal, and a variety of exciting activities to take part in. If you want all of the charm of old Europe on this side of North America, your first stop should definitely be Old Montreal. If picturesque views of shop and cafe-lined cobblestone streets are up your alley, then you'll definitely love this Parisian-inspired city. There are also wonderful restaurants including many French restaurants, bars and little alleys full of neat art and jewelry stores.
While you're in Old Montreal, it's a great idea to visit Notre-Dame Basilica, the oldest Catholic Church in the country. It first started as a small chapel built by Jesuits around 1683, but was later rebuilt by James O'Donell in Gothic style, between 1824 and 1829. Thousands of tourists come every year to see the larger-than-life, majestic Gothic building, colorful stained glass window murals and statues found within the church. In the evening time, there is also a light and sound show which better explains the history of Montreal and shows off the church's exquisite art.
Just a few minutes' walk from the downtown area is the Montreal Botanical Garden, a 'veritable living museum of plants from the four corners of the Earth.' This 185 acre garden is one of the most famous botanical gardens in the world, and home to over 20,000 types of plants and flowers. There are numerous themed gardens perfect for taking a stroll in, such as the Fist Nations gardens, Japanese Zen gardens and poisonous plant gardens. Take a few hours out of your busy day to take time and smell the flowers or spend the whole day just exploring the bounty of nature.
Come visit one of most famous museums in all of Canada, the Montreal Museum of Fine Art. With about 36,000 pieces of Canadian and international artwork, you'll see an exciting array of painting, sculptures, photographs and design art. Good news is that it's free to see the permanent collection at the museum, with a slight charge for rotating exhibits. Come see everything from Pre-Colombian artifacts to Bianconi's vase to a variety of works by artistic masters, such as Picasso and Renoir.
Another local treasure is the Jean-Talon market, an open-air, local market akin to a 'Farmers market.' Since 1933, it's given Montreal natives and visitors a chance to experience the European open-air market and purchase local produce, meats, cheeses, breads, flowers and handmade chocolates, among other eats and treats. It's a great place to stop and get the fixings for a picnic lunch, or a great place to browse around and just schmooze with the locals.
Montreal is also quite famous for its bustling night life, with most of the action taking place around St-Denis in Downtown Montreal. The bars and clubs are hot until the late hours of the night, with most closing between 2-4 a.m. It's definitely considered one of the best places to go out in all of Canada, and Montreal itself is also an extremely 'gay-friendly' city.
As the second largest city in all of Canada, Montreal lives up to its name with numerous exciting attractions and activities, that are sure to keep you occupied for days on end. Whether you're only starting to plan your vacation or you've already got dates and a specific itinerary in mind, take a look at flights to Montreal, and make your dream vacation already a reality.
Marché Bonsecours is an historical indoor market located in Old Montreal. It now hosts fine boutiques.
Montreal Botanical Gardens
The Jardins botanique de Montreal often offers splendid garden style themes.
La Ronde is an popular amusement park in Montreal that is operated by Six Flags. It is more precisely located on Notre-Dame Island (or Parc Jean-Drapeau) southeast of downtown Montreal.
|Local draught beer||$4.60|
|Apartment (1 bedroom) outside of centre||$562.82|
|Milk (1 liter)||$1.72|
|Apartment (1 bedroom) in city centre||$797.62|