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Montreal for Travelers

Updated on October 5, 2014

La Belle Montreal

Montreal is a multicultural city that blends its French accent with many ethnic communities, and charms visitors with its Euro-Canadian super ambiance.

Many people call it "Paris without the jet lag".

Better yet, la belle ville is fully bilingual, as most of its residents switch effortlessly between French and English.

One of the Montreal's greatest treats is strolling through its neighborhoods. This city has an eclectic assortment of streets and boroughs for you to discover: Plateau Mont Royal, the Mile End, the Village, Wesmount and the Old Port among many others.

Perhaps the most rewarding way to explore it all is to just throw yourself into the mix and let the crowds carry you along.

The Most European City in North America - Mont Royal, Mont Real or Montreal?

Montreal from Mont Royal
Montreal from Mont Royal

Montreal takes its name from Mont Royal which is a small mountain in the middle of the city.

The same place this picture was taken from.

Montreal in 2 Minutes - Le joie de vivre

Montreal is famous for its International Jazz Festival, Just For Laughs and Formula 1 Grand Prix, but there is a lot more to it. Watch!

Bixi Montreal
Bixi Montreal

Bike The City

Rent a Bixi

Montreal locals are crazy about bicycling, there are designated bike lanes on many of the streets and wonderful bike paths.

Just recently, Bixi, a public bike system has set numerous bike stations all over the city. The service is accessible to everyone, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from May to November. 24-hour access is available for $7 and 1-year subscription is just $82. The best deal in town!

So rent a bicycle, go down to old Montreal and follow the bike paths along the Lachine Canal. There are bike paths that cross the entire island. If you have a lot of energy, bike up Mont Royal as well.

Montreal Metro
Montreal Metro

Montreal by Metro

The best way to get around

Montreal's metro system is currently Canada's longest subway system. The word métro comes from Paris and it is short for "chemin de fer métropolitain".

It has 68 stations on four lines. The trains run every day from 5:30 am to about 1:00 am. Every station has a different style, layout, and decoration which helps visitors to easily find the right stop.

The metro is fast, safe, cheap, and reliable. The map on the right shows you the most interesting stops to visit. ---->

Montreal Laminated Map

Streetwise Montreal Map - Laminated City Center Street Map of Montreal, Canada - Folding pocket size travel map with metro map
Streetwise Montreal Map - Laminated City Center Street Map of Montreal, Canada - Folding pocket size travel map with metro map

This map offers the ultimate guide to navigating one of North America’s most beautiful cities, covering everything from the Parc Maisonneuve to Le Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, the only Formula One Grand Prix race track located in the heart of a metropolis. The Metro system is fast and takes you virtually all over the city, enabling you to forgo a car if you choose. Hotels, sites, university and government locations are clearly indicated and fully indexed.

Plateau Mont Royal
Plateau Mont Royal

Plateau Mont Royal

Sophisticated and friendly

The Plateau is the best window to view the real Montreal. Here you'll find a predominantly francophone community featuring an eclectic mix of artists, students, yuppies, and young families, spiced with a healthy dose of other cultures and languages to raise the diversity quotient that much higher. Round it off with a wealth of interesting shops, cafes, pubs and bars, not to forget black-box theatres, art galleries and gourmet shops, and you've got a free-spirited, creative atmosphere where all walks of life converge.

Mont-Royal & Sherbrooke

Highlights: rue Saint Denis, rue Mont Royal, rue Saint Laurent, parc La Fontaine.

Strolling Along Its Streets

Parc Lafontaine - Pack a picnic and relax!

Montreal Tamtams
Montreal Tamtams

Les Tamtams

Drum jamming at the park

It happens every Sunday from May to September, from noon to sundown. It's on the west side of Avenue Parc near Mont Royal street.

Mont Royal

Take Bus 11 West. Get off at Rue Mont-Royal and Ave. Parc. Walk up South on Avenue du Parc until you reach the George-Etienne Cartier Statue (angel statue).

Place des Arts

Take Bus 80 North. Get off at the corner of Parc Ave. and Rue Rachel and walk across Parc Ave. towards the angel statue.

Secret Montreal

Secret Montreal: The Unique Guide to Montreal's Secret Sites, Sounds and Taste (Secret Guides)
Secret Montreal: The Unique Guide to Montreal's Secret Sites, Sounds and Taste (Secret Guides)

"I found this little guide to be really useful. As a newcomer to the city, it showed me places that I would have never found on my own. It's really the best book to get if you're visiting the city or even if you're a long time Montrealer. As a tourist, you'll see things that you wouldn't have known existed, and as a Montrealer, you'll discover new, enchanting places. This is really a gem of a book."

The Mile End
The Mile End

The Mile End

A culinary delight

Between Outremont and the Plateau is a micro-neighbourhood that has played a big role in the history of Montreal immigration: Mile End. It is bordered by four major thoroughfares: St. Laurent Boulevard, Park Avenue, Fairmount Avenue, and Bernard Street.

The name comes from the time this cozy village was located at one mile from Montreal city limits. The original inhabitants were mainly Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe, but over time, the population has become more diversified. Small Jewish and Portuguese grocery stores, bagel factories and Greek restaurants are still well established there.

Discover Montreal

Lonely Planet Montreal & Quebec City (City Guide)
Lonely Planet Montreal & Quebec City (City Guide)

"This guide does a great job of letting you know about activities off the beaten path. For example, every Sunday in the summer there is a drum jam by the University in a park by the hill (it's called the tam tam jam). No other guide book discussed it, but this one did."

Montreal Bagels
Montreal Bagels

The Montreal Bagels

Perhaps the best in the world?

They are Montreal landmarks and a "must see" attraction, especially on a Sunday morning where it seems every one is standing in line to taste the morning's fresh bagels.

Two of the city's most famous bagel factories, the Fairmount and St. Viateur bagel shops, are located on the streets of the same names, right in the heart of the Mile End. The Montreal bagels are made by hand and baked in wood-fired ovens. They are smaller, sweeter and denser than regular bagels. Some of the local favorites are: poppyseed, sesame, garlic, onion and cinnamon raisin.


From Laurier station South (Berri & Guilford), take Bus 51 West. Get off at Avenue du Parc and walk North on until you reach Fairmount St. or St-Viateur St.

Old Montreal

Le Vieux Port

The historical part of the city. Montreal was founded in 1642 and it was originally named Ville-Marie. Various fortifications were built around the city and commerce took off. In 1763, Montreal, together with the rest of Nouvelle France, passed into British hands. The British decided to allow French culture to continue in the city, which meant that the original French architecture and flavor of the old city still remain to this day.

I suggest you wander the narrow streets lined with quaint shops and cafes, you don't need to be going anywhere in particular. One can browse in the stores inside Bonsecours Market, have a cup of coffee at the Place Jacques-Cartier, take a carriage ride along the Rue de la Commune, or go window-shopping along the the cobblestones of Rue Saint Paul.

The Old Port is another wonderful place to just stroll about. The piers offer boat tours and trips to the islands. The vi

Bring Your Own Wine

Apportez votre vin

BYOW means "Bring Your Own Wine" and tells you a restaurant allows you to bring your own wine to their restaurant.

Restaurants in other North American cities charge you a corkage fee on the wine you bring.

Not in Montreal.

Even though the course prices are a little bit higher in these restos (as we call them here), there will be no fee for bringing your wine bottles.

There are many BYOW restaurants in the area to choose from, and despite the consistent line-ups and inability to make a reservation, l'Academie is perhaps the best around. This French-Italian resto has good food, atmosphere and service; mussels and desserts are customers' favorite. Can't beat the reasonable prices and large portions. Don't forget to bring you own bottles (BYOB), but if you do, go to the liquor store next door. Bon apetit!

Mont-Royal & Sherbrooke

From Sherbrooke, walk to St-Denis St. and turn right (North), keep walking until you get to Duluth St. From Mont Royal, walk to St-Denis St. and turn left (South), keep walking until you reach Duluth St.

Connect to The City

Check Out This Brew Pub

Dieu du Ciel

La brasserie Dieu du Ciel is perhaps the best non-traditional pub in town! Beer lovers can choose from an amazing array of unique beers brewed by Quebec artisanal breweries (Peche Mortel, Rose d'Hibiscus, Gaelique, Aphrodisiaque and many others).

The atmosphere is so great. Lots of dark woods and crannies and soft light. Service is friendly and efficient and you can order the beers in different glass sizes to optimize your tastings. They also have Quebec cheeses and munchies (such as nachos).

A beer heaven, reminiscent of Belgium.


Walk west on Laurier ave. until you reach St. Laurent street, then one more block and you are there at 29 Laurier Ave.West.

Up for a specialty beer?

Unibroue: Belgium Beers from Quebec

Unibroue gives us an impressive Canadian rendition of some of the best Belgian styles beers (witbier, strong ale, kriek ale, golden ale, lambic, etc). Unibroue made history by becoming the first North American beer maker to use a brewing method inspired by the two-centuries-old tradition developed by Trappist monks in Belgium.

Every beer has its own personality, thus a unique name inspired in the local history and folklore: Maudite, Fin du Monde, Blanche de Chambly, Raftman, Quelque Chose, Don de Dieu, Trois Pistoles among many others. Over the years, Unibroue has remained faithful to its origins even as it has grown to become an icon of the brewing world. You'll be surprised to find out who its current owner is.

Have You Been There?

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    • profile image

      Lindrus 6 years ago

      Montreal is such a fascinating and fun city! Loved my visit there. And thanks for your lens.

    • jadehorseshoe profile image

      jadehorseshoe 6 years ago

      Another VERY Useful Lens!

    • profile image

      iwrite4cash 6 years ago

      I have not had the pleasure yet. but hopefully someday soon! Great lens fellow Squid!

    • traveller27 profile image

      traveller27 6 years ago

      It's been a long time since I've been to Old Montreal - definitely would like to go back.

    • profile image

      TravelingRae 6 years ago

      I grew up near Montreal and have been back a few times to visit. Having traveled the breadth of Canada, I can confirm that it is a unique city. My favourite place to take new visitors to Montreal is the Biodôme. When I went to visit my family last fall, I craved foods like bagels and orange juleps. Unibroue is based in my hometown and their beers can't be beat! Great lens!

    • hessa johnson profile image

      hessa johnson 6 years ago

      Have been once, but have to go again. Lots of good info here.

    • JenOfChicago LM profile image

      JenOfChicago LM 6 years ago

      Not yet, but hopefully soon! Happy April Fool's Day! Blessed by a Squid Angel!

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      ~ Blessed by a Squidoo Angel of the Travel Canada neighbourhood ~

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      blessed by a squid angel :)

    • cineteq profile image

      John Parr 7 years ago from Montreal

      @anonymous: Yes some of the photos are mine. Hope you can visit some day!

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      beautiful lens, i've blog rolled it, do you take your own photos? just wondering.. I do photography for a hobby and blog it.

    • TeacherSerenia profile image

      TeacherSerenia 7 years ago

      I have been to Montreal but only for one overnight stay. We visited the old town and chinatown and that was all we had time for.

    • profile image

      SandyPeaks 7 years ago

      Yes I have - it's a wonderful city! Blessed by a SquidAngel.

    • VarietyWriter2 profile image

      VarietyWriter2 7 years ago

      Blessed by a SquidAngel :)

    • profile image

      southshoretees 7 years ago

      I've been to Montreal, but it was at 4AM when I was about 3 years old, so I don't remember a thing about it. I don't live too far from here, so I definitely want to take the trip north to Montreal someday. Excellent job!

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Love this lens! makes me wish I was back in Montreal!

    • Karicor profile image

      Karicor 7 years ago

      This lens is enticing me to visit Montreal for sure, I just gotta try those bagels! :)

    • PromptWriter profile image

      Moe Wood 7 years ago from Eastern Ontario

      We've quickly driven through Montreal to get to the coast but haven't spent any time there. It's one of the places on our list to revisit and do the tourist thing.