Overview of Montreal

The great thing about Montreal is that you can actually enjoy many of the attractions of this remarkable, unique and mainly francophone city for free. Montreal is a cosmopolitan city and considers itself as one of the most European North American cities from the point of view of street life and French influenced fashion. Montreal is really one of its kind from many points of view and really atypical of other large North American conurbations. Get to know five of the most important Montreal experiences or landmarks. That means that you will have got under the skin of this unique city and its people.

Tam-Tams event takes place at the foot of Mont Royal every Sunday particularly in the summer. As you may work out, Mont Royal was founded by a French Explorer who named it in honor of the French King. Tam-Tams are spontaneous markets where hundreds of people come out to sell the all kinds of wares. The Tam-Tams are particularly popular with younger people and students. Look out for the hacky-sack and Frisbee throwing. Tam-Tams take place on Sundays and one of the most enjoyable spectacles is when the kids come out and play fight using foam weaponry and armor on a field no bigger than a football pitch, it is not violent, the idea is to have fun without injury.

Old Montreal is an absolute must for a walking tour, most of Old Montreal is traffic free and therefore you should enjoy walking the cobbled streets without having to dodge the traffic. Do make sure you have a comfortable pair of walking shoes to wear and a camera to take pictures of what you have seen. If you have ever been to Aberdeen, you will appreciate that Montreal seems like the Granite City, the dark color of the stone used for the traditional buildings glimmers and reflects the sun when it comes out over Montreal. Old Montreal is home to many Canadian, French and Italian restaurants. In addition, there are many friendly bars. Dip under the lintel as you walk in and head for the bar for a welcome drink.

Montreal is also well known for its harsh winter and there are times when it is dangerous to step out onto the street. Montreal has come to come to grips with this problem and created an underground city. Montreal mixes tradition with the most high tech developments. The Underground City is an amazing experience, if you are travelling from Siberia to Montreal in winter, you will probably not notice the temperature drop, but if you are coming in from the Middle East, you may be in for a shock. The Underground City offers a shopping complex that spans a number of city blocks and provides all you could be looking for including many restaurants and bars.

Don’t miss the Centre d’expositions La Prison-Des Patriotes which is located in the old prison of Montreal. When Quebec was called Lower Canada, this was the principal prison for rebels from the rebellions in 1837 to 1838 and the burning of the Montreal Parliament in 1849. The museum allows you to experience what prison conditions were like in those times and admission is free.

The Hotel de Ville is the city hall and a visit here will allow you to find fascinating historical information about the city. You will also find that this beautiful building is enshrouded in Quebecois culture and history. From its balcony, the former French President Charles De Galle gave his famous “Vive le Quebec libre” speech in 1967. There are free guided tours of the city hall and it is open to the public all year round.

In retrospect, Montreal is a great tourist destination all year round. The best time to visit is in the spring or the fall. You may be forgiven thinking you were in Metropolitan France rather than North America as you discover the city. Montreal inhabitants are welcoming and their hospitality will certainly make your vacation a truly rewarding one.