The image of Montreal Canada has long been a romantic one with couples making it a destination for special romantic vacation getaways, or even honeymoons. The history and culture of Quebec and the old city of Montreal seem a world apart for many visitors from Europe and the US. Tourists see pictures of cobblestone streets through quaint villages with antique shops, trendy boutiques, French bistros, and they feel Montreal is the right vacation spot for them. From bed and breakfast to fine Montreal hotels, visitors can find accommodations to the suit the experience they want. Whether for a weekend or a weeklong Quebec holiday, Old Montreal is a must see want to experience a special slice of Canadian culture.
Today, Old Montreal is one of North America’s most unique and memorable tourist destinations. This city was founded over 360 years ago, as one of the first settlements for Europeans who came in via the St. Lawrence river. Old Montreal has been able to maintain its distinctive European flavour making it ideal for tourists who want to experience a simpler, more romantic era.
In Old Montreal, the charm of old French culture from the 1800’s is accessible to everyone. The streets have plenty of Victorian street lamps and flowers, and the sidewalk cafés and lively restaurants create a festive atmosphere, both day and night. Many old warehouses have been converted to boutique shops and loft apartments and there are plenty of galleries and museums to stroll through.
Prince Arthur Street is lined with outdoor cafes, terraces, and restaurants against stone façade buildings. The area between St Laurent and St Louis Square is very popular. In the summer months, Place Jacques-Cartier is jammed with street performers and the outdoor restaurant terraces are filled with tourists so it’s a lively place.
Old Montréal is situated on the banks of the St. Lawrence River, on a tip of land that is which French settlers called it Ville-Marie initially. The town was once owned by the British too. There is still plenty of Victorian architecture to see today. It was once surrounded by walls almost 10,000 feet around. You can still see remnants of the wall on a walking tour of Old Montreal. Ask the concierge at your Montreal hotel for information on walking tours or for horse drawn tours (Caleches). Many of the better Montreal hotels will have discounts on tours and will be a primary pick up point for tour operators. There are also culinary tours and wine tours if you want a closer experience with French food and wine.
Booking a room with one of the many bed and breakfast inns might just make your old Montreal experience even better. There are larger Montreal hotels nearby that offer bed and breakfast type services, yet may have more of the amenities you’ve come to expect at a hotel.
For architecture lovers there is Musée d’Archéologie et d’Histoire de Montréal which includes a number of old buildings that contain an intriguing underground display of archaeological excavations. Down at the Vieux-Port as it is called, there is a new park laid out on the docksides where visitors can stroll, cycle, roller-blade and enjoy the cooling breezes off the water. You can take a variety of boat trips at the harbour as well.
The Basilique Notre-Dame is a twin towered, grand old church that was once the largest church in North America. Its interior is a collection of richly detailed carved wood, stone, stained glass, alterpieces and windows. Next door is Vieux Séminaire de Saint-Sulpice built in 1685 and demonstrates French spirit of the 17th century.
This summer, take a drive to Montreal and experience a taste of French Canadian heritage. From the food to entertainment to the bustle of people, you’ll find this an out of the ordinary summer vacation and one to remember.