Located on an island in the middle of the mighty St Lawrence River, Montréal has a reputation as one of the liveliest cities in North America. This is the world’s second largest French-speaking city, behind Paris. And like Paris, the city has a rich cultural heritage that’s evident in the vibrant dining scene, the many museums, and the local attitude.
Start your journey with a wander through Old Montréal, a neighbourhood of beautiful historic buildings – many of which were built 200-400 years ago. The spectacular Notre-Dame Basilica is one of the most impressive buildings in the area. This Victorian Gothic church is open to visitors daily, but try to time your visit for the daily service at 5pm. The great halls reverberate with the sound of the massive pipe organ.
Head to the river and pause a while in the Old Port precinct. Around a green square you’ll find many famous attractions, including the lively Cirque du Soleil to the fascinating Montreal Science Center. Visitors can also climb the 192 steps of the 45m clock tower for impressive views of the river and marina.
The nearby neighbourhood of Le Plateau is quickly becoming the go-to destination for dining and shopping. Traditionally a residential area, the tree-lined streets are now home to the city’s hippest cafes, emerging art spaces and storefronts for artisans and craftspeople.
Montréal is an active city. Vast parks are dotted throughout the city, each set up for year-round outdoor fun. Spread across two islands, Parc Jean-Drapeau is famous as the site of the 1967 World’s Fair – the iconic Montreal Biosphere that was built for the event still stands at the edge of the park. When it’s warm, children play in the sand and sea at the artificial beach. Diehard cyclists speed around the Gilles Villeneuve racing circuit, home of the Montreal Formula 1 Grand Prix. But the region is most popular on summer Sundays, when thousands of locals enjoy picnics and dance to live music.
The sound of laughter can be heard on every street and in every theatre during the world-famous Just For Laughs Festival in July. Comedians hold countless performances around town, in comedy clubs and theatre venues, or simply on the streets.
Explore vibrant and fascinating Montreal as part of a 34-day Eastern Canada, Rockies and Alaska Tour from $20,420pp twin share. Visit RACQ Travel or contact one of our friendly travel consultants on 1300 096 166.