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Front_Porch
January 4th, 2009, 11:23 AM
Hubby and I are thinking of going to Montreal next month (I know, it will be cold)

Any recommendations as far as must-experience hotels/restaurants/architecture/etc.?

My french is minimal, but we'll be able to get around.

ali r.

Zephyr
January 4th, 2009, 01:46 PM
A central location is ideal for this, with many choices of hotels and the added incentive to pursue deep discounts at this time of year city – I often take a room at Queen Elizabeth Hotel for this reason (near trains to get there and near places where I frequent).

Not too far from central Montréal is Old Montréal, which is usually a consideration of tourists.

And there are trips you can schedule from central and return to same location without hassle. For wife and I, the Laurentian Mountains is a common trip, summer or winter, using "Gray Line" or a vehicle if you are more venturesome. If Montreal is a base for a couple of weeks, you may consider a couple of days in Québec City (about 170 miles away) for a more historic addition to that trip’s itinerary.

Restaurants are often quite superb in Montreal, and stay open in many cases for far longer hours than visitors are accustomed to seeing elsewhere. What is a good or bad restaurant depends on your taste and current execution – so I won’t make that fatal mistake of recommending a particular one or a group of restaurants, knowing how quickly things change. Be assured that this city has had some of the best values for dining in all of Canada. (Avoid anything, however, that has the word “Québécois” in its title – unless you are thoroughly familiar with what that means.)

Rue Ste Catherine is a street that you immediately become familiar for its various attractions. If shopping and nightlife are the top of your list, for instance, this is the street. Pointed in the correct direction you can take Ste Catherine to a number of Universities – such as McGill or Université du Québec à Montréal. If you are a hockey fan, you will know that the historic Forum has an address on this street – best to get there by Green Line on the rubber-wheeled subway trains that hiss through the city. While its shell is present, it has been gutted and converted into something else. Yet it carries some of the trappings of the past in selected places within and outside. After 24 Stanley Cups for the "habs," you don’t completely demolish all aspects of a place that hosted the vast majority of the games.

Most residents suggest you see Notre-Dame de Montréal Basilica or the ornate Montréal City Hall. And parallel to Ste Catherine’s is Montréal’s La ville souterraine or Underground.

Perhaps I should stop here and let others give their take.

Jasonik
January 4th, 2009, 08:01 PM
If you like history and urban archeology I recommend Pointe-à-Callière Museum (http://www.pacmuseum.qc.ca/index.aspx?lang=EN-CA). (The architecture of the museum itself is quite good too IMHO).

To get out of the cold for lunch or coffee in Old Montreal, Café St Paul is perfect. (Even better in summer with open windows).

http://hitherandyarn.files.wordpress.com/2007/07/cafe-st-paul.jpg

For a good brewpub check out L'Amère à boire (http://www.amereaboire.com/).

For a deli, you can't beat Schwartz's (http://www.schwartzsdeli.com/index2.html).

You thought I forgot the CCA (http://www.cca.qc.ca/) eh? :D (A MUST for anyone interested in architecture).

stache
January 4th, 2009, 09:39 PM
Wear fur!

Front_Porch
January 5th, 2009, 02:18 PM
You guys are great, keep 'em coming!

ali r.

Ninjahedge
January 5th, 2009, 03:42 PM
Isn't there an "ice castle" or hotel or something in the area this time of year?

I forget where that was situated though (probably not in the city proper, if it was, but again, I do not know!!! ;)).

I would also take a look at going for a day of skiing, if you were into it. I am sure there is something close by that you could go on a day trip. Mid-week would not be that crowded.... (Is Lake Placid anywhere near Montreal? Sorry I did not google it.... >blush< )

Zephyr
January 5th, 2009, 04:18 PM
...
And there are trips you can schedule from central and return to same location without hassle. For wife and I, the Laurentian Mountains is a common trip, summer or winter...

Laurentian Mountains Skiing & Snowboarding!!! (http://www.laurentians.worldweb.com/FeaturesReviews/SkiingSnowboarding/)

Ninjahedge
January 5th, 2009, 05:33 PM
That looks nice... :(

Not as good as the Rockies (both in the states and BC) but it definitely looks better than the speed-bumps we have close to the city......

Front_Porch
January 12th, 2009, 11:07 AM
one more question -- is old Montreal lovely, or theme park-y?

There are a lot of wonderful hotels that charge a little more so you can be in "Vieux Montreal" and I'm trying to figure out whether we'll want that, or whether it would be like coming to NY and staying at the South Street Seaport.

TIA!

ali

Front_Porch
March 6th, 2009, 06:58 PM
What a wonderful, wonderful city Montreal is, although it rained right before we came in, and then froze, so the whole time we were there we were navigating a nearly invisible thin layer of black ice.

We ended up getting a decent rate at the Place d'Armes, which was fine, a little "W"-y for our tastes, but right near the subway, which was great because of the cold.

It's an amazing food town, with wonderful restaurants and great markets — sort of like a French-speaking San Francisco. When we go back we won't even stay in a hotel, but we'll do an apartment swap so that we have a kitchen and can cook.

Plenty of architecture for the architecture junkies, though we didn't get to the CCA. It was enough just to wander around outside.

Highly recommended.