Have you ever wanted to go to Paris, but you didn't want to cope with trans-Atlantic travel (and the possible ensuing jet lag)? If so, say "bonjour" to the second-largest city in the world that speaks primarily French: Montreal, Quebec, Canada. But fear not if you're not bilingual; a fair number of people in Montreal speak English, too, though they'll appreciate it if you at least take a stab at speaking their primary language. If you never took French or don't remember it anymore, just try to memorize this sentence, and you should be fine: "Pouvons-nous parler en anglais, s'il vous plaît?" (This means, "Can we speak in English, please?")
Montreal is a beautiful city filled with the Old-World charm of Europe, paired with the modern feel of today's Western cities. And with Travelocity, you can see it all without emptying your wallet: We have plenty of deals on Montreal hotels, whether you'd rather look for hotels in downtown Montreal or a bed and breakfast in a quieter area of the city. Since Montreal has a convenient subway system that runs through most of the city, even if you decide on a hotel in Montreal, Canada, that's farther from downtown, you won't be too far from all of the major sights and attractions.
If you fly into Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport, you'll need to either rent a car or catch a bus from there onto the Island of Montreal, between the St. Lawrence and Ottawa rivers, where the city itself is located. Once there, you can take the Metro all around the city as well as to Montreal hotels, many of which are within an easy walk of a Metro station. But what will you see and do then? That depends on your preferences as a traveler: Montreal has many options.
Yearning to stretch your legs after your trip to the city? Start off by visiting the Parc du Mont-Royal, known for the large hill from which the city gets its name. This is a great place to walk, jog, or ride a bike, or you could go swimming in the Lac des Castors; the lake is also a good ice-skating spot, if you've come in the winter. While you're in the park, take a moment to check out the Croix du Mont-Royal. This giant cross is visible from all over the city.
If you're a nature-lover, once you've explored the park, head north to the Montreal Botanical Garden. This remarkable space features dozens of themed gardens, including the largest Chinese garden outside of China. If you're here in the fall, you're in luck: Don't miss the Gardens of Light event, in which the Chinese and Japanese gardens are lit with a multitude of lanterns in a display of the cultural heritage of these two nations. But if you're more into animals than plants, there's something nearby for you, too: Just across Rue Sherbrooke is the Biodome, which re-creates ecosystems from around the world and houses more than 250 species of animals, from iguanas to penguins.
But perhaps you're more interested in more cultural pursuits. To soak up the history and atmosphere of Montreal, head to the city's historic Vieux-Montreal section. Stroll the cobblestone streets here and soak up the sights and sounds, or take a horse-drawn carriage ride to feel like you've truly stepped back in time. Don't miss the Notre-Dame Basilica, a stunning example of Gothic Revival architecture. If you step inside, you'll be taken aback by the bright colors of the interior as well as the design of the building itself. If you're interested in learning much more about the building, on most evenings, the basilica hosts a sound and light show detailing its history.
For those who take a more cultured approach to travel, head to the eastern part of downtown, where you'll find the Place des Arts. This performing arts complex plays host to the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the Opéra de Montreal, and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montreal. You might also want to check out the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. But highbrow isn't the only kind of culture in Montreal: There's plenty of more popular culture, too. If you're a sports fan, get tickets to see a Montreal Canadiens game: They're the oldest professional hockey team, predating even the founding of the NHL, and they've won a record 24 Stanley Cups, the most of any team. But don't think that winter is the only time when exciting things happen in Montreal. In fact, one of the city's biggest events takes place in July: It's the annual Just for Laughs comedy festival, the largest of its kind in the world. Hotels in Montreal, Canada, book up quickly around this event, so make sure to make your reservations with Travelocity well in advance!
Taking in everything that Montreal has to offer might just leave you ready for a rest... and a bite to eat, perhaps? Montreal has a wide variety of culinary options, from fine dining to pub food and from traditional Canadian and American fare to French, Italian, or even Polish. Some of Montreal's most notable foods, though, are decidedly casual. When in Montreal, try a smoked meat sandwich. Smoked meat isn't quite pastrami, but it's similar, and it's definitely tasty. Get it piled high on rye bread with a little mustard and you'll be a happy camper for sure. Schwartz's is one of the most famous spots to try smoked meat, though it's available all around the city. Still hungry? Get yourself some poutine, another Montreal specialty. This stuff will harden your arteries for sure, but it's worth it: It's a pile of French fries topped with brown gravy and fresh cheese curds, and it's delicious. It's also available just about everywhere, in variations including ingredients as diverse as bacon and foie gras. But if it's just too early in the day for sandwiches and fries, you should try another Montreal specialty instead: The city is known for its bagels perhaps just as much as New York City is, though these are smaller and a bit sweeter than their American cousins. The most famous bagel bakeries in Montreal are St-Viateur Bagel and Fairmount Bagel, and they both have their devoted fans.
The only question remaining at this point is when to book your trip. Summer can be a nice time to vacation in Montreal, but fall and spring can offer pleasant weather and smaller crowds, meaning that you might find even better Montreal hotel deals at these times of year. Winter weather can be brutal in Montreal, but then again, you can always take refuge in the Underground City, Montreal's complex of shops and walkways that's all underground, safe from the elements and well-connected to the Metro system. Finding hotels in Montreal, Canada, might be even easier at this time of year, though you might find rooms to be a bit more in demand closer to the Bell Centre during hockey season. But whenever you decide to go, Travelocity can help you find cheap Montreal, Canada, hotels, as well as deals on flights, rental cars, and even packages that include two or all three of those things for the best value. Book your travel online with us today, and you'll be well on your way to a wonderful Montreal getaway! Bon voyage!