Why visit Montreal? Discover the other city of light

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Joel Fulleda


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The red of the maples in October, the white of the winter months, and the sparkles of the river in summer: these are the three faces of Montreal, the “francophone”. Three facets of a city to discover during a stay that is both rustic and sophisticated. Why visit Montreal? Between generous nature and urban vibes, it is a tasty blend of modernity and authenticity.

Why visit Montreal? For its history ...

At the beginning of Montreal, a people: the Iroquoians of the St. Lawrence. They resided on the archipelago when Jacques Quartier arrived in 1535. The explorer baptized the place “Mont Realis”, now Mont-Royal, the hill which dominates Montreal. 70 years later, Samuel de Champlain, founder of the city of Quebec, promises to build a new city on the Saint-Laurent river to make it a center of the catholic religion in “New-France”, ground of the Indians of the North of America.

Maple trees in the fall in Mont Royal Park

Culture bath

Montreal was born. The economic life of the village is then organized around the fur trade between the French and the locals. Conquered by the British in 1760, Montreal brings together a mosaic of cultures and is experiencing rapid industrialization. The future metropolis of Quebec remains deeply attached to its French-speaking roots. Why visit Montreal? Today, culture is one of the city's major attractions : headlining, the famous international jazz festival, in the heart of summer, which attracts many tourists. And the Montréal en lumière festival, a ray of winter sunshine.

The mythical St. Lawrence River

But what makes Montreal unique is its exceptional geographic location: an urban center on an island where nature reigns supreme, which is also crossed by one of the most beautiful rivers in the world: the St. Lawrence. Why visit Montreal? To enjoy its maritime atmosphere, nothing beats a stroll on the Quays of the Old Port. In summer, you can find the best improvised terraces in the city, the scene of artistic “happenings”. It is also the starting point for excursions on the river.

Botanical Garden

Old Montreal and Mount Royal Park

Montreal is conducive to long walks and discovery, with a historic touch, like in the Old Montreal district, which is full of museums to visit, boutiques to shop, art galleries and cafes. At Mount Royal Park, visitors generally find a cause for wonder: on this hill overlooking the city, we admire a preserved flora and fauna, along the hiking trails.

Mount Royal Park

Why visit Montreal? Shopping and the art of living!

If the island may seduce the Robinsons with its generous nature, it is nonetheless a formidable urban center with its essential shopping spots. Starting with rue Sainte-Catherine where fashion boutiques compete in creativity. In winter, the shopping fever spreads through the city's underground arteries and shopping becomes an activity in its own right: you enter the Underground City, a complex network of corridors linking museums, boutiques, cafes and department stores. The opportunity to bring back some memories, starting with the iconic maple syrup!

Montreal street scene

Montreal: the island of flavors

Why visit Montreal? Because good food is one of the pillars of Montreal life. From cheap taverns to three-star restaurants, you will find the most refined dishes from five continents, with an air of France that lingers in many brasseries. For gourmets to choose: Les Halles restaurant is a must for classic French cuisine, appreciated by visitors and locals alike. A whole different atmosphere reigns at Piment Rouge, an excellent address for lovers of Chinese cuisine. On the shelves of local specialties, cheese: meet at the Hamel cheese dairy to taste a selection of very famous goat cheeses.

Hotels and nightlife

You will find a range of hotels and accommodations in Montreal that will appeal to globetrotters looking for a cheap room as well as luxury travelers. But don't book at the last minute: the summer months are crowded with festival-goers and tourists from all over the world!

To go out at night, head to Place des Arts, in the heart of the Quartier des Spectacles of Montreal: it is the largest artistic and cultural complex in Canada. On the program: concerts, operas and musicals!

Pratical information

  • Saint-Martin Tourist Office : you will find a lot of information on the city's website.
  • Climate : the seasons are very marked in Montreal, the summers are hot (25-30 ° C) and the winters very harsh (down to -30 ° C). Best months to visit the largest city in Quebec: between May and October. The autumn landscapes are sublime. This is where we admire the magnificent red foliage of maple trees, during the Indian summer.
  • Silver : the currency is the Canadian dollar.
  • Passport and visa : no visa required for a stay of less than 6 months for holders of a French passport. Be careful if you are transiting through the United States by plane, you will need to apply for an electronic travel authorization which is filled out on the website of the US Department of State.


  • Getting to Montreal : The flight time between Paris and Montreal is 7h30. You land at Montreal-Trudeau airport, which is 45 minutes from downtown by shuttle. Two bus lines serve the city center very regularly.
  • Getting around Montreal : The metro and the bus are the two most practical means of getting around the island. Also consider renting a bike: some boroughs (such as Verdun) have beautiful cycle paths.
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