We are just beginning to consider a trip to the Montreal/Quebec City area in the future and I am interested in gathering information from fellow MI who are familiar with the area. Of course, I need recommendations on hotels and restaurants, but I would also like to get suggestions on interesting places to visit and things to do. What time of the year would you suggest going? How long would you stay? Did you rent a car? Where did you fly to? (We are thinking about using a BOGO airline ticket that only covers the continental US, so we would need a destination within the US near this area where it would be easy to continue the journey into Canada.) All suggestions are welcome.
Also, I'm directing this part of the questions to my fellow cyclists. Have you ever cycled on the Route Verte? For those unfamiliar with this bike trail, it is called the most extensive biking trails in North America and passes right through downtown Montreal. It covers 3100 miles of paths, shared roadways, and paved shoulders in Quebec according to the Fodor's Travel Guide.
Thanks for your help.
Don't forget the Delta chain they are represented in both cities. Delta is similar in quality and service to Marriott.
In Montreal you do not need (or want) a car if you are just visiting the city. Montreal has a good transit system, and old Montreal is more like most European Cities in that it is better on explore on foot. I usually stay at the Chateau Champlain. The other hotel is fine but is used more for business. Eating places are everywhere and excellent.
I would take Via Rail from Montreal to Quebec City (go first class, it is worth it). Stay at the Delta or the Marriott, they are right beside each other. I usually stay at the Fairmont Chateau Frontenac or the Loews Le Concorde (but I hear it has changed brands). If staying in old Quebec you do not want a car, as there is no where to park it and it is hard to navigate. Walking is best.
Aux Anciens Canadien is one of the oldest restaurants in Canada and is good and traditional (Touristy though).
Old Montreal a Quebec are very similar to European cities with the advantage that they did not suffer the war. There is lots to see in the cities and nearby.
Depending on your interests a week.
I suggest May/June.
I cant help you with flying, both cities are close to the USA (Vermont/Maine, but I am not aware of a large enough airport.
In Cycling, if you are avid and good shape it is probably excellent. Both Cities are hilly. I have cycled in Montreal, but not in the city core where I work on one assumption as a pedestrian that the car has the right of way no matter where it is on the street or what colour the light is.
Burlington, VT is just a bit more than an hour from Montreal and we have flown to Burlington a couple of times and then driven to Montreal. At present, with the strong US dollar, this trip will be a bargain
It's a great trip most of the year. If you ski, you can add a ski stop in Stowe, Vt, Mt. St. Anne, near QC or Mt. Tremblant about an hour and a half north of Montreal.
The Marriott in Old Montreal or the Spring Hill Suites in Old Montreal are both excellent hotels.
While in Montreal, there are numerous wonderful French restaurants that you can try and be delighted. In addition, you MUST try Montreal Smoked meat. It is a Jewish deli treat that tastes like Pastami and corned beef wed and had a baby. It is the best deli meat anywhere. (Sort of like the texture of corned beef and a flavor between the two but closer to Pastrami!) Montreal natives will also brag about their bagels, but here they are wrong. A Montreal Bagel islike a piece of bread shaped like a bagel.
Quebec City is the closest to France that you can get without leaving North America. It has all sorts of French restaurants, and bakeries, Make certain that you dine at the Chateau Frontenac and walk all over the city, including the lower part of town. Be certain to ride the fernicular!
I'm from Montréal and can help with some suggestions. Anytime from May to September is a good time to visit. All depends on your interest. From late June to early August there are festivals everywhere, Jazz festival and Just For Laughs in Montreal, the Cirque du Soleil new show Luzia in Old Montreal in April and May, the Québec music festival on Plaines d´Abraham, etc. Early June there is Formula 1 Grand Prix in Montreal, but if you are not particularly interested I would suggest avoiding this week as prices skyrocket!
I have cycled on Route Verte from Mont Tremblant, it is really beautiful, you could stay a couple of days at the Residence Inn. Mont Tremblant is the most popular resort area both in winter and summer. Route Verte in Montreal downtown can be nice around Canal Lachine, but otherwise could be simply the street shoulder.
We have lots of good restaurants in Montreal, Europea is very fancy, pricy, and good, there are many others less expensive but good French or Italian cuisine. French bakeries are plenty around Montreal, with Maison Christian Faure the best!
As for the airport, Burlington Vt is probably your best choice. My family and I use it sometimes to fly cheaper to the US, Jet Blue has better prices than Air Canada most of the times. And it's only an hour from Montreal.
You will need a car if you decide to go to Mont Tremblant, but in Montreal you will get around with the subway, parking is difficult downtown in the summer months.
Let me know if you need more info, I'll be happy to help.
I've traveled to both Montreal and Quebec several times, both winter and summer. Being from Florida, honestly I really enjoyed winter. Everything was very walkable from the Old City locations and food was great. Check the calendar to find out when festivals are taking place or if you book really ahead of time, you may be able to go to a sugar shack for brunch in the rural areas...google it. The smoked meat is also a must.
I've taken the train between the cities and agree first class is totally worth it. So easy and such a lovely ride...we saw a huge herd of deer. Mont Tremblant is a lovely resort, but it was horribly hot there when we went there in the summer...something I didn't expect.
Jet Blue is a good choice to fly there on.
Insiders came through again and offered some wonderful tips when I originally posted this request for help in January. I am hoping that by replying to my original post, other insiders who may have missed the original post will offer more suggestions. We are still considering a 2-3 week trip, but it doesn't seem like we would need that much time to cover the Montreal/Quebec City area. We may consider extending the trip in NYC where we would like to see more plays on Broadway. I appreciate all the recommendations.
Montreal and Quebec City are great cities and are as close to a visiting france as you can get without crossing the Atlantic. Montreal Marriott Chateau Champlain and Spring Hill Suites Old Montreal are both wonderful places to stay. In Montreal, walk around the Seaport and visit the park on Mont Royal. The Cathedral and the Shrine are both spectacular. Enjoy the French dining and for a special treat, have some Montreal Smoked meat, by favorite cold cut, any where. It's sort of like the best features of pastrami and corned beef rolled into one delicacy. (Schwartz and Snowdon Deli are two excellent places for this treat.)
Quebec City is really like the old world with lots to sea and do and eat. I'm not certain about hotels there. I stayed at the Chateau Frontenac and not a Marriott. There is a fascinating fort and lots of old winding streets. The upper city is wonderful and so is the lower which is along the waterfront. There is an interesting device that transports you between the two parts of town.