Travel Guide North America Canada Quebec Montreal



Mont-Royal view

Mont-Royal view

© Utrecht

Montreal, the largest city in the French-speaking province of Quebec, provides a bridge between the cultures of Europe and the cultures of North America. It is a vibrant mix of French, English and immigrant cultures. Montreal is the party capital of Canada, and has the most fashionable and hip population. It also offers amazing historical and cultural sites, as well as the famous Montreal Smoked Meat sandwiches.




  • Downtown - Skyscrapers, shopping, museums, and the Parc du Mont-Royal.
  • Old Montreal - the most popular area for travellers to walk around, including the Notre-Dame Basilica, cobblestone streets and nice museums.
  • Parc Jean-Drapeau - The islands of Île Sainte-Helene and Île Notre-Dame and the Montreal Casino.
  • Mont Royal
  • Little Italy
  • Quartier Latin - Restaurants, boutiques, cafes, pubs near UQAM in the Quartier Latin, gay bars and clubs in Le Village, and the working-class neighbourhood of Sainte-Marie.
  • The Village
  • St. Michel/Villeray
  • Little Burgandy
  • Hochelaga
  • Mile End - Bagels, restaurants, coffee shops, the Rialto Theatre, and boutiques.
  • The Plateau Trendy area north of downtown and east of Parc du Mont-Royal.
  • West Island



Sights and Activities

  • Vieux-Port (Old Port) - A large waterfront green space with attractions such as Cirque du Soleil, the Montreal Science Center, the Labyrinth, the Clock Tower, and a large outdoor audio-visual stage which is the site for the Canada Day fireworks.
  • Place Jacques-Cartier - Pedestrian street filled with street artists and musicians, and there are numerous fine restaurants and private art galleries nearby. edit
  • Bonsecours Market (Marché Bonsecours)
Basilique Notre-Dame

Basilique Notre-Dame

© Utrecht

  • Notre-Dame Basilica (Basilique Notre-Dame) - Probably the city's most spectacular church, a gem of Victorian Gothic. Service is at 5:00pm daily and on Sunday morning. Entrance is free for worship, but donations are suggested. During service, the organ music is not to be missed. While it shouldn't have to be mentioned, tourists should be respectful during services. Note that photography is not allowed during services. Guided tours offered. Entrance fee is $5.
  • Marguerite-Bourgeoys Museum and Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel
  • Pointe-à-Callière - A modern museum built over the ruins of Montreal's first settlement, Pointe à Callière
  • Montréal Science Centre
  • Centre d'histoire de Montréal - Covering the history of Montreal from its founding in 1535.
  • Parc Jean-Drapeau - site of the 1967 World's Fair, now devoted to green spaces and a large outdoor concert venue. The Gilles Villeneuve racing circuit, home of the Montreal Formula 1 Grand Prix. An artificial beach, a huge outdoor pool complex, and the Montreal Casino are also located on or around the park.



Events and Festivals

Montreal Jazz Festival Parade

Montreal Jazz Festival Parade

© Taffski

  • The Montreal International Jazz Festival is the largest jazz festival in the world, a title it earned in 2004 according to the Guinness World Record book. The first one was in 1980 and since then it kept on growing and growing until its current proportions. It is held in the summer season, usually at the beginning of July and every year features over 3,000 artists from several dozens of countries. There are a whopping 650+ concerts and welcomes no less than 2.5 million visitors, of which about a third are tourists, some of them planning their holiday around this incredible event. The festival takes place at 10 free outdoor stages and 10 indoor concert halls. As the free outdoor shows are scattered around the city, much of the city comes to a complete stop during those days, as frequently 100,000 people attend one of the free shows, and sometimes even twice that many!
  • Montreal's Just for Laughs (Juste Pour Rire) brings comedic talent from around the world for a few weeks of hilarity in July. A number of outdoor events are held, which include live comedy, circus acts with clowns and acrobats, sideshow antics, street dancing... and so much more! Held at Place des Festivals, this comedy festival has been going for 30 years and is a majorly successful event of 3 weeks, 250 shows and 400 comedians.
  • Pointe-à-Callière's Port Symphonies (February) - Over the past 20 years, Pointe-à-Callière's Port Symphonies have become a true Montréal tradition, filling the air with the joyful sounds of this unusual outdoor concert. Each year, a composer is invited to create a piece of music from the horns of ships overwintering in the Old Port, near the Museum. Train whistles, drums and a variety of other "instruments" join in, delighting crowds of enthusiastic listeners.
  • Montreal Folk Fest on the Canal (June) - This outdoor folk festival is an arts celebration of traditional, folk, roots and blues. It's a relaxed atmosphere for beautiful music in a lovely setting. It's free admission and the schedules are packed full of prefessional-grade good times with some of Montreal's best singers and songwriters.
  • Les FrancoFolies de Montréal - This large music festival is held in downtown Montreal, and attracts over 500,000 visitors! Annually, it is held from late July to Early August. It focuses on popular music in the French language and French performers. For two weeks, anything from rock, pop, hip-hop and punk is performed and as it's been going for over 20 years now, it's considered to be the largest musical event in the French-speaking world. Address: Downtown Montreal
  • Formula One - The race weekend brings fans from near and far to Quebec for non-stop partying and celebration. Rue Ste Catherine gets jam-packed with racing fans making it great fun to be around and an exciting place to witness the Grand Prix.
  • The Fête des neiges de Montréal (Jan 19th - Feb 10th 2013) - This annual event is a big Winter festival which is great for all the family! Outdoor activities, such as, boot/ice hockey, tube slide, zip-line and skating are held. Other entertainment, for example, comedy, international film viewings, trampoline performers, acrobatics is provided at Parc Jean-Drapeau, as well as amazing snow sculptors in action.
  • Magic of Lanterns (September - November) - In the Botanical Gardens every year, 700 beautifully crafted traditional Chinese lanterns are put on display in the gardens. You can walk through the gardens and see the lit displays. Each year has a theme that's inspired by the Chinese culture. Address: Montréal Botanical Garden, 4101, rue Sherbrooke Est, Montréal (Québec)
  • Italian Week (August 7th-16th) - This ten day event celebrates and promotes the Italian-Canadian community and their passions. Sports, fashion, food, drink, music, arts, all Italian heritage is explored whch gets about 500,000 visitors a year! Address: Little Italy, Boul. St-Laurent, Montréal
Montréal skyline

Montréal skyline

© Utrecht




The coldest month of the year is January which has an average daily temperature of -10.4 °C, though because of "wind chill", it can feel much colder. The "wind chill" will be included in the weather forecast, indicating how cold it feels outside. The warmest month is July, which has an average daily high of 26.3 °C; lower night-time temperatures make the average 20.9 °C. High humidity is common in the summer. In spring and autumn, rainfall averages between 55 and 94 millimetres a month. Some snow in spring and autumn is normal. Similarly, late heat waves as well as "Indian summers" are a regular feature of the climate.

Information on weather norms in Montreal can be found at the Environment Canada website at Montreal Weather Averages.



Getting There

By Plane

Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (airport code: YUL), formerly called Dorval Airport - a name still in use by many locals, in the City of Dorval serves all international and domestic passenger traffic. Trudeau airport is approximately 20 kilometres from downtown Montreal.

From the airport to downtown, the Montreal public transportation service provides bus service from the airport on route 204. The fare is $2.75. Take the eastbound bus to Dorval Circle, then the 211 to Lionel-Groulx Metro station. There is also bus service on route "209 Sources" Monday to Friday, and route "356 Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue" night bus. All three routes can take passengers to and from the Dorval bus terminus and train station which is within walking distance of the VIA's Dorval station. A shuttle bus runs between the airport and VIA's Dorval station. In 2010, STM introduced the 747 – Express Aéroport route which operates seven days a week all year long. The route has nine stops in each direction, including transfer stops at Lionel-Groulx metro station, Central Station, and Berri-UQAM metro station. The service runs every 10-12 minutes from 8:30am to 8:00pm, every 30 minutes from 5:30am to 8:30am and from 8:00pm to 1:00am, and every hour from 2:00am to 5:00am. Check the STM website for more route information.
To add, there are also plenty of taxis available, as well as rental cars. Several companies offer cars from about 35 Canadian dollar for the smallest car, including Hertz, Avis, Budget and Alamo/National.

For more information on the airport, check out the Airports of Montreal homepage.

By Train

Most intercity trains arrive at Gare Central (Central Station) in downtown Montreal. Services include the Via Rail service between Windsor and Quebec City, including trains from Toronto, and service from Ottawa. Amtrak provides service to and from New York: the Adirondack travels this way via Albany.

The Gare Central is connected to the Montreal Metro system, providing easy links to spots in the city.

Basilique Notre-Dame

Basilique Notre-Dame

© Utrecht

By Car

There are several highways connecting Montreal with other Canadian cities, like Ottawa, Quebec City and Toronto. From Toronto, take Highway 401 east. It takes about 6 hours. Ottawa is just about 2 hours away. From Quebec City, it's about 3 hours west on either Autoroute 40 or Autoroute 20. Even New York City and Boston are just about 6.5 to 7.5 hours away, depending on traffic, so easily doable in a day.

By Bus

Check Greyhound and Coach Canada for options to and from Montreal. Megabus, Adirondack Trailways and Orléans Express are other options.



Getting Around

By Public Transit

The STM operates buses and subway (Metro) as well as commuter trains within Montreal. The subway is called the Metro, and has 68 stations and four lines, covering most of the downtown core and beyond. Cost for buses or metro is $2.75, and requires exact change, or tickets. Tickets can provide a substantial savings, as 6 tickets cost $11.75 - for a ride rate of $1.96 per ride. Weekly and monthly passes are available for $19.00 and $65.00 respectively. Weekly passes run from Monday to Sunday. Monthly passes are good from the 1st of the month until the last day.

There is also a tourist card that allows unlimited access to the bus and metro network for one day for $9.00 or three consecutive days for $17.00. The cards can be purchased in advance, and then you just scratch off the day that you want to use the card. Get more information from the Tourist card information from the STM website.

When boarding buses, board by the front door and pay your fare in cash or ticket, or show the driver your pass. When exiting, exit by any door. Travellers will enter the Metro stations and pay the fare prior to descending to the Metro station. No proof of payment is required on exiting.

If travelling by different bus routes, or moving from the bus to the Metro or Metro to bus, you will need a transfer. A transfer is a temporary transit voucher, valid for 90 minutes, entitling a passenger to board more than one STM vehicle in order to complete a trip. However, it does not allow its holder to carry out a return trip or temporarily interrupt their trip to resume it later on the same bus route. Obtain a transfer when paying your fare initially.

One of the interesting things about the STM Metro is that each station was designed by a different architect, and Montreal takes much pride in both the architecture and art within the stations. Read more about the art in the Metro at the STM Art page.

By Car

Driving (SAAQ) in Montreal can be a challenge for many North American motorists. Although turning right on a red light is allowed across the rest of Quebec (except at intersections where a sign indicates this is not permitted), right turns on red are strictly prohibited on the island of Montreal. The stop lights at most of downtown intersections are on the opposite side of the intersection, not at the stop line as in some of Europe.

The use of road salt to keep roads ice-free during severe winters takes its toll on the roadways, which are either heavily potholed or subject to perpetual construction. Downtown traffic is dense. Street parking can be difficult. Parking meters are in use seven days a week in most districts (M-F 09:00-21:00, Sa 09:00-18:00, Su 13:00-18:00), including statutory holidays. The standard parking ticket cost is $52. Parking tickets may be appealed in court only by the owner of the car that was subject to the infraction, so if a rented car is ticketed, the person who rented may be unable to contest the charge. Car parking downtown is expensive at around $3 an hour at parking meters or $25 per day at commercial parking lots. Parking signs are all in French, and will describe a day and hour (based on 24-hr clock) along with conditions for parking. Many arterial roads prohibit parking on one side during rush hour, and vehicles are subject to $150 fine plus towing costs and other fees. Montreal does not paint curbs red next to fire hydrants, but it is still illegal to park there.

There are also many private and public parking lots, and their prices vary widely. There may even be $15–20 differences between two parking lots just a few blocks from each other.

During the winter months, heavy snowfalls are common. In the aftermath of a snowstorm, an intensively-prepared "déneigement" (snow removal) process begins with intimidatingly large snow plows and trucks clearing, chewing up, and transporting away the snow. If you leave your car parked on a street, pay close attention to any orange "no parking" signs that will appear on roads to be cleared. Tow trucks will sound a loud 2-tone horn siren just before clearing. This is an announcement that a street is about to be cleared and that all parked cars will be cited/and or towed if they are not moved. For this reason it's important to be able to check your vehicle at least once daily after a snowfall. It is best to use indoor or underground parking if snow clearing is likely.

Many downtown streets are one way, which can complicate getting around. If you see a sign at an intersection that has direction arrows in a green circle, that means those are the only directions you are allowed to turn. Left turns are allowed on a green light provided there are no other signs prohibiting. Visitors should be familiar with the flashing green light, which indicates a protected left-turn (priority), which is equivalent to a green arrow in other parts of the world. Some signals are green arrows that flash, this is the same meaning. Autoroutes (expressways or freeways) can be challenging for visitors, as most signs are French, but most symbols are the same as in English Canada and the United States.

Some of the options to rent a car include the following companies:

By Foot

Walking is a favoured way to get around the densely packed downtown and the narrow streets of Old Montreal, especially during the warmer months. However, beware during winter months, as sidewalks can be icy and extremely hazardous after winter snow and ice storms. Winter boots with good grip are essential for surviving pavements that have not been cleared. Beware also (as much as you can) of thawing ice falling from overhanging balconies and roofs. But you can always take the stairs down to Montreal's famous "Underground City" (Montréal souterrain), called RÉSO, a network of pedestrian corridors connecting Métro (subway) stations, shopping centres, and office complexes.

Jaywalking is widespread and rarely punished. However, drivers will usually not stop or even slow down if a pedestrian steps out in front of them, even at marked crosswalks. At an intersection, however, a pedestrian will have right of passage before turning traffic and most drivers respect this. Despite Montreal drivers' poor reputation for aggressiveness, they generally respect pedestrians.

Rue Sainte-Catherine is Montreal's main commercial artery and busiest pedestrian thoroughfare. The "Underground City" and the Green Line (or line 1) of Montreal's Metro is easily accessible from all the major office complexes, shopping malls, department stores, and theatre complexes that line it. Smaller chain stores and restaurants also vie for valuable commercial space. Well-kept historic churches with green space provide quiet oasis and contrast with the giant neon signs of strip clubs. Major hotels can generally be found one or two blocks north and south of Sainte-Catherine in the downtown core. Bars, restaurants, and dance clubs cluster within a block of Sainte-Catherine around Crescent and Bishop, catering to a mostly English-speaking clientele. Rue Saint-Denis, farther east, and the Gay Village between Berri and de Lormier, even more to the east, are mostly French-speaking. McGill College Boulevard in the downtown core from Saine-Catherine offers an open view of Mount Royal to the north and an impressive view of the Place Ville-Marie skyscraper to the south. Keep your head up and beware of following the flow of the crowd on this street: throngs of pedestrians often walk across cross streets against red lights, risking life and limb.

Rue Prince-Arthur, east of Saint-Laurent, is for pedestrians only. Another pedestrian-only locale is Montreal's Chinatown, on Rue de la Gauchtière Est between Saint-Urbain and Saint-Laurent. A good trick for navigating downtown Montreal is to remember that streets slope up toward Mount Royal, which is just north of downtown and easy to see from most locations.

The districts surrounding downtown Montreal are especially delightful on foot. To the south is Old Montreal (Le Vieux-Montréal) (its narrow streets and buildings dating from the 17th and 18th centuries really can make you feel like you're in Old Europe) and the Old Port (Le Vieux-Port), a waterfront strolling park with exhibits and boat tours, is very popular with the locals. To the north, the Golden Square Mile and the McGill University Campus is wedged between Mount Royal and Sherbrooke Street on the southern slope of the mountain. Old Victorian mansions and townhouses can be found along the sloping streets, many now housing McGill University's offices and libraries. Just west of downtown is affluent Westmount, a perfect example of 19th-century English-style homes and gardens (inhabited to a great extent by English-speaking people) climbing the slopes of Mount Royal's western part (the higher you climb, the larger the old mansions). Just east and northeast of downtown are the mostly French-speaking Gay Village (Le Village Gai) and Plateau (Plateau Mont-Royal) districts. Street after street displays turn-of-the-19th-century row duplexes and triplexes, replete with famous Montreal outdoor staircases, overflowing front gardens (or snow-covered gables, depending on the time of year), and tiny shops tucked into every nook and cranny. For people who like to see a culture where it lives, Le Plateau is the place to wander about in.

Mount Royal (Mont-Royal) is also accessible from the urban core on foot. Fit pedestrians can climb Rue Peel to the southern edge of the park. A series of renovated staircases will take you directly to the Chalet near the top of the mountain, with its classic view of the downtown core. A more leisurely climb to the top awaits those on Olmsted Road (6.5 km), a wide, gently sloping bike and footpath accessible from the Plateau in Parc Jeanne-Mance (also known as Fletcher's Field). Smaller footpaths serendipitously branch off from this road. A cross-country ski path also winds to the top in the wintertime. Mount Royal's park was designed by Frederick Olmsted, a landscape architect who lived from 1822 to 1903 and was also responsible for the design of Central Park in New York City and the Emerald Necklace in Boston.

By Bike

Cycling is the best way to visit the city, especially its central neighbourhoods like the Plateau Mont-Royal; it is a very popular mode of transportation once the coldest winter weather is over. The city is criss-crossed by 660 km of cycle paths, including some which cross the St. Lawrence onto the Island of Montreal. By far the nicest path is the Lachine Canal path that stretches from Lachine, along Lac St-Louis, down to Old Montreal along the canal. You can cross over to the South Shore either on the Jacques Cartier Bridge, Île Notre-Dame, or via the Estacade ice bridge from Île des Sœurs.

Even if you are on a bike path, beware of drivers especially if they are turning, as lines of visibility at intersections are not well enforced in the city. Generally Montreal drivers in the central neighbourhoods are used to sharing the road with bikes and so are courteous, there are always a few, usually from outlying neighbourhoods, who give all drivers a bad name. Some downtown bike paths are separated from the road by parked cars, which decreases visibility, both yours and the driver's. The often crowded bike path on rue Rachel one is the worst for this, however the Plateau part of the path will be renovated soon to make it safer and greener. If one is comfortable driving in Montreal, one generally can feel comfortable biking there as well. Montreal pedestrians are known for not waiting for a light to change if there are no cars coming; cyclists are a bit like that too and often treat the many stop signs on residential streets more as yield signs than as stop signs. Wearing a helmet is not required under the law, though, for children especially, it's better to be safe than sorry.

The Bixi system is a public bike-share system. Rated the best in the world, it was designed and developed in Montreal and has since been exported to many cities around the world including London, UK and Sydney, Australia. Major credit cards are accepted. The Bixi was conceived for local active transit but is accessible to tourists as well. For a flat $5 fee, you can use Bixi bikes as much as you like for 24 hours provided you don't use a particular bixi bike for more than 30 minutes at a time before returning it to a docking station. After returning the bike to a docking station, you can get another bike (even at the same station) after a 2-minute waiting period. There are over 400 Bixi stations with over 5000 bikes around the city concentrated in the downtown and central neighbourhoods like the Plateau (though its expanding all the time). The tourist information centre has maps of the stations. Helmets and locks are not provided. You could use your own lock, but there is usually a station not more than a block away on a commercial strip so returning the Bixi to the nearest stand is always the safest and most cost-effective choice. Stations fill up and empty quickly; you may have to bike to the next station to find an empty docking spot. If you have a smart phone, there is an app that shows you real-time the nearest stations, how many bikes are docked, or whether there is a free docking spot available.

Skate and bike rental shops are common, particularly in the Old Port and the Plateau. Visit La Maison des Cyclistes (the cyclists' house) at 1251 rue Rachel Est for all info on cycling in Montreal.




Montreal is a culinary-lover's delight. From local fares like poutine (french fries [preferrably home-cut], curd cheese, and gravy) to dining out at the Ritz, Montreal offers something for everyone's plate.

Montreal Eatery Icons

With bars that stay open till 3:00am, Montreal's streets are filled with hungry post-partiers weekdays and weekends alike. Although many turn to traditional fast-food fare, Montreal's greasy-spoon staples often have line-ups that stretch outside - even at 4:00am. Among the favourites:

  • Schwartz's - home of the best smoked meat on the island, located on St. Laurent street. Don't be fooled by its delicatessen interior and cracked plastic stools - Schwartz's serves up mile-high sandwhiches with lots of peppery bits and a dollop of mustard. Try the strawberry cheesecake - as close to new York as you can get.
  • Le Milsa - One of Montreal's best dining experiences. If you're quiet hungry, and would enjoy a Brazilian dance show in the heart of downtown Montreal, Le Milsa is definately the place to go. Le Milsa serves 10 different cuts of meat, served on skewers, on demand. An experience not to be forgotten.
  • Montreal Pool Room - for hotdogs steamé and home-made fries, located on St. Laurent street. The floor is orignal - cracked and caked from almost a century of salt-crusted boots. A little dark and a little dingy, the Pool Room serves up what are arguably known as the best hot dogs. Go for the food and say for the pool - and still have money for the taxi ride home.
  • La Belle Province - or The Beautiful Province, more commonly called "La Belle Pro". You'll find one almost everywhere you turn, where paper-capped workers put hot dogs, poutine, fries, souvlaki, hamburgers "all dress'", pogos, and more together in an absolute frenzy. Take a quick look at the yellowed menu and get in line - your dinner will be served up on a plastic tray before you even get out your wallet.

Little Italy

Located on St. Laurent just south of Jean-Talon, Little Italy is the heart and soul of Montreal's extensive Italian community. Along with the all-season Jean-Talon Market and Milano's Italian Grocery, this part of the island offers up traditional Italian fare - sometimes the only place an authentic Italian will venture to eat Italian food that isn't mama's cooking. Some prima choices:

  • Pizza Napoletana - where strangers happily share tables, on Mozart street. Reserve early or wait a long time in line for some of the most excellent pizza and pasta in the city. Bring your own wine and get to know your neighbours at a packed, one-end-of-the-room-to-the-other table. Desserts offer up Tartufo and almond cake, among other treats.
  • Casa Napoli - the godfather of St. Laurent street, on St. Laurent. Stone walls and stone-faced waiters give Casa Napoli a distinctly warm and cave-like Amalfi feel. Both the food and wine menus offer up delicious, expensive fare - well worth the price, if you're looking to indulge. The walls are lined with photos of celebs who've tasted the wares - from Stalone to Pacino and more.
  • Rugantino - affordable and incomparably delicious, on St. Laurent at St. Viateur. Daily table d'hôte menus give you a vast choice of entrées, main meals and desserts - and the chef is always ready to tweak this and switch that to suit your fancy. The affordable wine list and classic white-table-cloth décor add to the illusion that you're a big spender, but the bill will say otherwise.


Montrealers' eclectic tastes extend to sushi of all kinds - from 5-star luxury to all-you-can eat sushi buffets. Located here and there throughout the city, sushi bars cater to everyone with menus that usually include terriyaki options for non-believers.

  • Sho-dan - where they know your name if you go twice, on Metcalf at de Maisonneuve. Along sashimi, sushi and traditional maki rolls like California and the multi-coloured and multi-layered Rainbow, Shodan has an additional menu of house specialties, including Sushi Pizza and Romeo and Juliet - made with strawberries and blueberries and covered in a creamy honey sauce. Ask about new sushis not on the menu, or saved for regulars - always a nice surprise. It's all white tablecloths and napkins, but the staff are friendly and casual.
  • Maiko - traditional sushi in trendy Outremont, on Bernard at Parc. Don't let the fish tanks fool you - the sushi here is fresh, unique and made right at the bar. Try a fried-chicken cone or one of many house specialties - or opt for the tâble d'hôte and try a little of everything. Book the knees-bent-under-the-table room with rice-paper doors to get away from the Saturday-night crowds.
  • Sushi Mou-shi - all you can eat and bring your own wine, on Decarie. Start with the miso soup and order rounds all day long. It's a popular place and you'll wait between courses on the weekends, but take your pick and keep them coming - all for one price. Nothing fancy, but very decent, fresh sushi with seaweed that's crispy. And, it bears saying again, all for the one price.


© Utrecht


Bernard and Laurier streets offer up some of the trendier, more upscale restaurants around. From French to fusion to Brazilian and steak-frites, Outremont will make the extra you spend well worth the investment. Be sure to stop by Bilboquet on Bernard, if you still have room, for the best ice cream around - made in-house with real inredients (no syrups here) by the resident artisan glacier and offered in lord-knows-how-many flavours and counting.

  • Paris-Beurre - a Parisian Bistro, on Van Horne. Classic French fare served up in traditional sauces - decadent from start to finish. Sample the rabbit, duck, steak bavette, foie gras and more - and leave the tiniest bit of room for dessert. Top it all off with your pick from the wine list and le tour est joué.
  • La Croissanterie Figaro - the genuine thing, on Hutchison at Fairmont. Typical Parisian tables and chairs, like old sewing tables with classic weaved benches, fill the inside - and spill out onto the sidewalk in the summer. The decor is so Parisian you'd swear you're right there - wood panelling, posters, big brass espresso machines, an enormous oven - the whole bit. Choose a simple sandwhich or an eclectic salad - or go for their famous croissants, including the melt-on-your-plate chocolate-rum concoction. Perfect with a perfectly made cappucino or espresso.
  • Senzala - a bit of Brazil, on Bernard (also on de la Roche). With a cosy main dining room and a candle-lit terrace in the summer, Senzala offers tasty Brazilian plates with ingredients to tempt your palate and your vocabulary. Opt for the Bobo de Camarao (shrimp and manioc with coco milk) or the Feijoada (beef, pork and sausage stewed with black beans, garlic and spices) - or a meal made with traditional yucca. Weekends also feature unique breakfasts that will tide you over till supper.


The trendy place for new-generation hippies, the Plateau offers everything from tapas bars to beer restaurants to French cuisine, Portuguese restaurants, tea rooms, and more. Walk up and down St. Denis - with a stop along Mount Royal - to take in a little of this and a dash of that.

  • L'Express - look for the name in tiles on the sidewalk, on St. Denis. Arguably the place to eat in the Plateau, l'Express offers up French cuising with a twist. Try an entrée of bone marrow with coarse sea salt, then head on to ravioli maison, duck breast with chanterelles, or a simple croque monsieur. Sit at the bar and watch the room behind you in the vast mirror.
  • Bière et Compagnie - where the beer menu is bigger than the food menu, on St. Denis at Marie-Anne. Give yourself 15 minutes to get to know the beer menu, where you'll find selections from around the world on tap or bottled. Then pick one of the famous moules-frites (mussles and fries), with your choice of home-made mayo. Or opt for one of the many meals flavoured with beer from the extensive bar. Lounge music, cathedral ceilings and remnants of towering church windows give the place a gothic feel to go with the dark and delicious menu.




The legal age to purchase alcohol in Quebec is 18 and the Québécois are now much more rigid in enforcing this age limit. All retail alcohol sales stop at 23:00 and bars and clubs stop serving at 03:00.

Quality wine and liquor (but only a small selection of imported beers) can only be purchased at SAQ shops, most of which are open until 18:00 Sunday to Wednesdays and 20:00 or 21:00 on other days; the smaller SAQ Express outlets are open daily from 11:00 to 22:00. Beer and a small selection of lower-quality wine are also sold at convenience stores (dépanneurs) and grocery stores. Some supermarkets have partnered with the SAQ to offer a few selection bottles, so if you are caught outside business hours or are in a hurry, places like IGA Extra and Métro generally offer a better variety of wine than the local dépanneur.

The selection of beer to be found in grocery stores and even the humble corner store have exploded in the last decade in and around greater Montreal. Two micro-breweries in particular are world-class: McAuslan (brands include St-Ambroise and Griffon) and Unibroue (Belgian-style ales such as Blanche de Chambly, Maudite, La Fin du Monde, and simpler, more affordable U lagers). Boréale makes a good, if unspectacular range of brews, while Rickard's and Alexander Keith's domestics are gaining popularity among locals. Most stores also sell a few major imports such as Stella Artois, Sapporo, Guinness, Leffe and of course, Heineken.

Montreal has three main strips for bar-hopping. Rue Crescent, in the western part of downtown, caters mostly to Anglophones and tourists. It tends to be trendy and expensive. On the edge of the bar-heavy Plateau, Boulevard Saint-Laurent gets extremely busy when McGill and Concordia students are back in town for a new session. Between rue Sherbrooke and avenue des Pins you'll find trendy clubs and bars with more of a Francophone clientele. Farther up St-Laurent, it's relatively downscale and linguistically mixed. Rue Saint-Denis, between rue Sherbrooke and de Maisonneuve, is the strip with the strongest Francophone feel. There are also many good bars away from the main strips, like on Avenue Mont-Royal, and even nowadays on Rue Masson et Rue Ontario in the eastern part of town. You should never have to line up to go have a drink, because there's virtually an unlimited choice. Depending on the day of the week, the best events vary. For example, on Tuesday you should go to Les Foufounes Électriques for cheap beer and a unique experience in a Montréal institution.




For the budget traveller, Montreal offers youth hostels with dorms or private rooms and budget bed and breakfasts (sometimes with very skimpy breakfasts). The densest collection of budget hotels are in the Latin Quarter, in the streets east of Berri-UQAM metro and the intercity bus station. Old Montreal has a couple of quality hostels, but you'll pay more to be there. Montreal is also the city with the most Couch Surfing members, so it is easy to find a hospitable local host for a few nights.

Mid-range options include Downtown chain hotels to "gîtes", guest houses that range from a single room in an apartment to elegant historic homes with three to five rooms. Gîtes are usually found in the more residential neighbourhoods like the Plateau.

On the upper-end, four and five-star luxury and boutique hotels are mostly concentrated in Old Montreal and Downtown.

Montreal is home to four major universities and numerous smaller schools. Students routinely sublet apartments in the summer months.

You can use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)




As Montreal is in the province of Quebec, which has its own immigration policies, those wishing to work in Montreal will have to go through two processes, once with the Quebec government, then finally with the Canadian government. If you are employed with a foreign company which has a Montreal office, you can seek a transfer. You can also seek a job with a Montreal employer and they can sponsor you for a temporary work visa. If you are a skilled worker (see CIC website) you can immigrate based on your own skills.

French language ability is a requirement for most jobs, as businesses are required by provincial law to greet and serve clients in French. Jobs that do not require prior French language ability are mostly IT jobs, and academic jobs at Montreal's two Anglophone universities. The Quebec provincial government provides free French language courses for newly-arrived expatriates and immigrants who speak little to no French, and you are highly advised to sign up for one of these courses as soon as you arrive to aid your integration into society.

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) allows skilled U.S. and Mexican professionals to obtain a Canadian work visa provided they are qualified in certain professions. The American Consular Services website provides an up-to-date list of qualifying professions.

If you are a U.S. citizen aged 18–30 and a full-time student, you can obtain a Canadian work visa valid for six months through BUNAC. Students from France, Britain, New Zealand, and Australia can also benefit from BUNAC work programs. As well, if you obtain a degree from a Canadian university, you are eligible to remain in Montreal and work for up to one year.

For anyone else, the Immigration Canada (CIC) website explains a number of ways foreigners can legally work in Canada.

Student jobs include babysitting, painting during the summer, and moving furniture in June. McGill and Montreal universities are always in search of research subjects and so are Montreal's many biotech firms. Montreal also has many call centres, which constantly seek to hire new employees and offer flexible working hours.




Keep connected


Internet usage is wide-spread in Canada. Wi-fi is available in many locations in larger cities, sometimes free and sometimes at a cost. You will find Wi-Fi in coffee stores, some restaurants and also hotels and motels more and more offer this service for free, but with a code usually. Internet cafes are common along major streets, and and in larger cities, charge between $3 and $4 for an hour, usually in 20-minute increments.


See also International Telephone Calls

The country calling code to Canada is: 1. To make an international call from Canada, the code is: 011. Emergency services can be reached by dialling 911. This number will give you free access to Police, Fire and Ambulance services and can be used from landlines, phone booths and cell phones.

The populous areas of Canada along the border with the USA have excellent cellular and wired telecommunications, meaning that travellers are never fair from an international phone call home, a WIFI connection or an internet cafe. Depending on the mobile phone provider, coverage could be either CDMA and GSM coverage. Travellers wishing to purchase SIM cards for GSM phones should look for Rogers Wireless, Telus Mobility and Bell Mobility, which all offer nationwide availability.


Postal service is provided by Canada Post, a crown corporation owned by the government but run as an independent business. Most post offices keep hours from 9:00am to 5:00pm though in bigger places longer hourse might be available.

To format the envelope of a letter sent within Canada, put the destination address on the centre of its envelope, with a stamp, postal indicia, meter label, or frank mark on the top-right corner of the envelope to acknowledge payment of postage. A return address, although it is not required, can be put on the top-left corner of the envelope in smaller type than the destination address.

The lettermail service allows the mailing of a letter. The basic rate is currently set at $0.63 for one standard letter (30 grams or less). The rates for lettermail are based or weight and size and determine whether the article falls into the aforementioned standard format, or in the oversize one. The rate is the same for a postcard. Mail sent internationally is known as letterpost. It can only contain paper documents. The rate for a standard letter is of $1.10 if sent to the United States, and $1.85 if sent to any other destination. Oversize or overweight letters may be charged a higher fee. Larger parcels can be shipped via Canada post both domestically and internationally, the rate is dependent on the weight and destination. [1]

Federal Express, TNT, UPS or DHL also provide interntional shipping from Canada and are usually very quick and reliable though might cost a little more compared to Canada Post.


Quick Facts


  • Latitude: 45.545447
  • Longitude: -73.639076

Accommodation in Montreal

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Montreal searchable right here on Travellerspoint.


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Montreal Travel Helpers

  • Laurence1991

    I'm a Canadian now living in Prague, but I've lived in Montreal for the last 5 years and worked in a hostel so I know about all the sightseeing places as well as the cool bars and cafés, the places where to get a nice view and so on ...
    Feel free to ask :D !!

    Ask Laurence1991 a question about Montreal

This is version 101. Last edited at 20:26 on Aug 23, 19 by Utrecht. 138 articles link to this page.

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