Montreal is a Francophile’s dream, an amazing slice of French culture in North America. Roughly 40 miles from the New York State border, it is rather easy to get to.
The city, once the center of French America, fell to the British during the French and Indians War. It is the second largest city in Canada.
The City is Quite French
Roughly 2/3rds of the population speaks French; but do not worry too much, a considerable portion of the population is bilingual. The strong anti-English Quebec nationalism of the 1960s and ’70’s has died down. Quebec was given a massive amount of autonomy, and everything is more-or-less happy, now.
Being in Canada, you will have to get familiar with Canadian money. But, they use a dollar system, too; so you should not be confused. You are responsible for checking the daily exchange rate between the US and Canadian dollar. They will accept American money in Montreal – particularly since the US Dollar is worth more – but you might get an unfair exchange allowance. It is recommended to use some Canadian currency.
Montreal is in Canada, so do not expect palm trees. Unless you are a snow bunny, you will probably want to visit during the summer. By November, it is common for temperatures to dip below freezing.
Technically, Montreal – on a per capita basis – has more restaurants than New York City.
Montreal is nothing if not a foodie city. Our culinary classics might be of the greasy kind, but that doesn’t make it’s all we’re good at! Montrealers love to treat themselves to a night out and have a good meal. In fact, Montreal technically has more restaurants per capita than New York City! – Tour Europe and Beyond
1) The Basilica of Notre Dame: (Click Here) is quite an ornate and gorgeous church in the heart of Old Montreal, built in the 19th century.
2) Visit the Montreal Botanical Gardens: (Click Here). Check out their botanical sculptures.
3) For something different, check out Habitat ’67: (Click Here) – Ugly or magnificent, you decide.
4) Montreal Biodome: (Click Here). Inside, you can take a break a break from the Montreal chill, and finally see something tropical.
5) Parc Jean-Drapeau – Two islands in the Saint Lawrence River. The former site of the 1967 World’s Fair. It is now a glorious park. (Click Here)
6) Montreal Insectarium – Definitely a different, out of the usual site. (Click Here). It’s inside the Botanical Gardens, so if you get creeped out, you can always walk outside.
7) Pointe-à-Callière Museunm – An archeology museum, where you can also discover the history of Montreal (Click Here).
8) Downtown Montreal – One of the greatest walks in North America: (Click Here).
But Montreal is not merely Quebecois French. There is an Irish community, a significant Jewish community, which boasts of better Jewish food than New York; and a notice Arab community – usually Lebanese Christian, so wonderfuL Arab restaurants are easy to find as well.
Montreal is in Quebec, the center of world maple syrup production; and indeed maple syrup looms large in Quebec’s identity. They even produce maple syrup sweetened soda. So when you are in Montreal, try some maple syrup sweetened Bec’s Soda. Also, check out their Maple Syrup Sugar Shacks.
Montreal is a great place to visit. Just be prepared for the weather.