Skyline of Montreal, Quebec (PhotoDisc)

Skyline and bridge in Old Montreal, Quebec (Tourisme Montreal)

Downtown viewed from the Mount Royal lookout, Montreal, Quebec (Tourisme Montreal)

Skyline of Old Montreal, Quebec (Tourisme Montreal)

Notre-Dame Basilica in Montreal, Quebec (Lacy Morris)

Fruits at Atwater Market in Montreal, Quebec (Lacy Morris)

Port and skyline, Montreal, Quebec (Tourisme Montreal/Stephan Poulin)

Lake Geneva in Montreux, Switzerland (PhotoDisc)

Montreal at night, Canada (iStockphoto)

Montreal, Canada (Hemera)

Montreal skyline and Saint Lawrence River at dusk, Quebec, Canada (iStockphoto)

Montreal at dawn, Quebec, Canada (iStockphoto)

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What to do in Montreal

Dubbed the “Poor Man’s Paris,” Montreal is more than just a French-speaking city for the wayfarer on a budget. It’s an effortless blend of cultures where nearly everyone is bilingual, with a love of life—work to live, not live to work—and a near-constant thirst for a good glass of wine. French food markets pepper the landscape—boulangeries sell fresh-baked baguettes and pain au chocolat , fromageries showcase creamy Quebec-made cheeses, and butchers offer pates and sausages. It’s no surprise that a community that’s normally two glasses in by 9 p.m. has quite the active arts scene—it’s the birthplace of Cirque du Soleil, the new face of indie music, and home to some impressive architecture. Don’t leave town before strolling the Notre-Dame Basilica—perhaps most well known for housing the near-royal nuptials of beloved Canadian Celine Dion.

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Traveler Reviews of Montreal


Lacy rates Montreal
I've traveled a lot and there are few cities that capture my heart the way Montreal did. It is a spectacular city, so beautiful and friendly. Old Montreal is so scenic, especially during Christmas. There are Christmas lights twinkling, a fresh layer of snow almost daily, and a local scene where wearing fur is not only fashionable but necessary. It gets cold! Every restaurant is a cozy little nook with less than 10 tables. It seems like locals really slow down and enjoy life at a slower pace. They linger over bottles of wine and good conversation. Theatre is a big event here, and locals come out in droves to mingle with tourists. The markets are a daily event around here. Instead of stocking up at Costco, locals browse through the markets almost daily. You can get everything from gourmet cheeses to Christmas trees to candy.
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Pete rates Montreal
I'm not sure if it was the time of year (August) or the fact I didn't do as much pre-visit research as I should have but I did not have the best experience in Montreal. I found the main drag, Saint Catherine's street, to be a bit seedy and dirty. Also, the entrances to the underground shopping areas are not obvious and if you don't know about them you can (and I did) completely miss them. The historic area is very nice and I would urge people to head there over other areas. There's some great restaurants and there are some interesting shops mixed in with the overabundance of touristy t-shirt shops.
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