Montreal ( the cool city)

Suzanne Barney on 24 October 2022
We had 48 hours in Montreal

This is my third Canadian City this year . Montreal is known as the 'cool' city and the place where all the festivals take place

We stayed at the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth in the Centre of the City This hotel is next to main train station and also close to the metro station This was handy for us as we arrived by train from Quebec on VIA Train in the evening - considering it was Monday peak time it was relatively quiet

Montreal is well served to get to Quebec & Toronto - by air (50 mins) or train ( 3 hours)

VIA TRAIN - took 3 hours from QUEBEC we opted for business class and it was well worth it Great seats with plenty of space Food included a meal with 'proper' cutlery Plus drinks were included to ( spirits/wine/coffee)

Fairmont Queen Elizabeth - lovely hotel famous for John Lennon staying here for his 'bed in' Right in the centre of the city surrounded by high rise buildings. As we walked though reception there was a more formal attire more associated with corporate feel Montreal is a city of 'festivals' but at the end of October it was just the beauty of the fall before winter kicks in. It is known throughout the world as a Festival city for film , music & dance and is normally buzzing but in the Autumn there were few tourists and it was quite low key

On reflection we should have done Montreal first - Quebec is a really hard act to follow . I think also we should have arrived in daylight hours so we could get our bearings . I didn't expect it to be so high rise and when we stepped outside the hotel it did overwhelm us . Normally we would have picked a hotel where we could step out into entertainment

Arriving in the evening we were a little unsure where to go as there was nowhere we could just walk to as our view was concealed by skyscrapers. Another regret was We should have bought our 3 day metro ticket straight away - why didn't we? Well we wanted to walk about and see what was near to the hotel in the daylight so we could find our way better so we walked to the old town then up to Mont Royal which in the heat was a killer!

Our main day of exploring the following day We got up early and walked to the old port & town as we were on 'room only' we needed to get some breakfast . It felt safe and there wasn't much traffic. The science museum is on the waterfront and that is where we came face to face with a robotic Dinosaur There was an exhibition at the science museum 'coming soon ' ( well actually it had started at the beggining of October....) At the town hall we managed to observe a blue worker collar protest which was entertaining as they had some great rap music - keeping up their french tradition of being 'radical'

The shops open late in Montreal so at 9am everything in the old town was closed but we managed to find a lovely little restaurant for breakfast. The restaurant was very traditional and it was more of a 'brunch' as my smoked salmon and cheese bagel also had a salad with it .

Once fed and watered we wandered back up the town past the latin quarter , university and then started the walk to Mont Royal Mountain . It was a beautiful sunny day This gave a wonderful view of the whole city which is huge! I think we did 24,000 steps that day Throughout the city there was not much traffic or people around . It is a university city and we noticed more young people about jogging & cycling there was lots of cool bars about in the evening too

After Mont Royal we went back to the hotel to change and freshen up - before heading to the Olympic Stadium and finally found the metro station to purchase our tickets It can be a bit tricky to find as there are lots of escalators and steps because as well as the metro there are underground shopping centres as well NEGATIVE- Don't waste your time trying to find the underground network of shops - this was our biggest mistake and waste of time as it is not well sign posted and we gave up in the end after many attempts POSITIVE -The metro is cheap and really clean and not crowded

The Olympic stadium was a little unutilised . It is currently being used as a vaccination centre . The tower and museum are closed until 2024 with no work men about ! However we found Nadia Comaneci plaza -it was a little unkempt but had all the names engraved of all the medal winners and competitors for each country which was interesting Bruce Jenner also won his gold at this Olympics too. We visited the Biodome which is an indoor zoo and aquarium which originally was the judo/velodrome which simulates a tropical rainforest

We were in this area as we had pre booked a light show at the Botanical Gardens which was really popular with the locals who came out in their droves - it took about an hour to walk around the gardens with a grand finale at the Chinese Garden

Before we went back to the airport we went to the Old town for a Crepe and looked around the shops and galleries . We bought a picture from a street artist who told us it was the end of the tourist season - there was very few tourists about . I have to say I never heard one English voice it was all French speaking and all the signage is in French I guess when they have their famous festivals Montreal is a different place currently it is like a lot of cities with lots of building works and road works

I think Montreal is a place for the summer and for young people as there are a lot of cool bars and clubs . It is a safe city with very little traffic and an excellent metro We didn't find the hidden city of shops ..just a shopping centre

Hi lights - **bagels we had at breakfast made fresh on site ** pastries **The metro reasonably priced and easy to get about ** Safe