I'm planning an upcoming trip to these cities, flying in and out of Montreal from the U.S. My questions are as follows:
1. Do I really need a car? It seems feasable to get around Montreal by taking the metro, etc. Do I need to drive to QC. ? My concern is that a car will just sit most of the time, except transporting me from one place to another. Any ideas?
2. Where to stay in Montreal? I'd like to be in a hotel that is within walking distance (at night) of nice (not seedy) restaurants, bars, etc. Do I want downtown?
3. In Quebec City, I know I want to be in the old town, but what is the difference between upper and lower, in terms of meeting the same criteria as #2?
1. You don't need a car in Montreal at all. I live here and don't have a car. Public transport will get you where you need to go anywhere in the city. Unless you're planning trips through the countryside, just get a tourist pass (3 days) or weekly pass and hop on and off the bus and Metro. You can find info about the public transport system here.
You can also take a bus or train to Quebec City (bus is cheaper and there's 1 every hour all day). Search here for fares and times. The bus station in Montreal is located at Berri-UQAM Metro stop and in Quebec City it's just down the street from Old Quebec.
2. Downtown is a good place to stay--its central and there's a Metro line that runs through it. You can also stay in Outremont, the Plateau, Old Montreal, or out in the more suburban sectors (although it'll take you longer to get around). Here's a list of hotels, but I expect they're on the pricy side. You can try to look up B&Bs/Guest Houses/Auberges around those areas--probably get a much better deal and a place with a lot more character.
3. Both upper and lower (called Cartier Petit Champlain) town in Quebec City are within the walls--making it more expensive than outside the walls. Honestly, there's little difference between upper and lower except for a huge drop (you can walk it or take the Funiculaire). There are tons of hotels in and around the walls--take a look here to start.
We've also stayed at:
B&B Centreville - beautiful and the owner is lovely, but a little bit of a walk to get into town (maybe 25 minutes or so)
À la Découverte - Close to everything, beautiful, elegant, but a little more pricy
Château des Tourelles - beautiful, wood decor, with a roof-top terrace and great breakfasts, about a 20-minute walk down St. Jean Street into the old town
Ask away if you'd like to know more. I love Quebec City--we go every year.
Oh--and take a look at the Wiki Guide here on TP for more info. It may help you, too!
[ Edit: Edited on Jul 1, 2008, at 6:32 AM by tway ]
Thanks so much, tway!
A few more questions: If I want to get to Ile d'Orleans, Montmorency Falls, or anywhere else off the beaten path, is there bus/train service to these type of areas,(I think that's the only reason I would need a car) or am I trying to squeeze too much into 3 days at each place?
Thank you for the bus schedule link.
How long does it take by train to get from Montreal to Quebec City?
I greatly appreciate your help--thanks!
Ile d'Orleans is an island with 1 bridge and 1 road in and out. No trains! You may be able to get a bus, or perhaps a taxi from Quebec City, but there's no public transport around the island at all. That said, you can rent a bike there somewhere and go around. It's some 67 or so km around, if I remember right, although much of it is farmland except for the parts around the bridge. Definitely go, if you can--it's like time stopped there. They have chocolate shops, kir vineyards, quaint shops, and on and on. Lovely!
Montmerency Falls isn't too far from Quebec City, either. I assume there's a bus, but I don't know. It's lovely, too--lots of walking around and up and over the falls. Very pretty views. I'd guess the Quebec City tourist site may help you here.
Oh! And they're having the HUGE 400th anniversary celebrations in Quebec City this year. Activities all year long!
As for the train, it's comparable to the bus--maybe 2 1/2 to 3 hours. More expensive though. Try and see--maybe there'll be a sale!
Enjoy your trip!