Planning a trip to Québec? Montreal and Quebec city will have you saying oui oui in no time
We went on vacation to Quebec in the middle of September, the perfect early Fall weather, the average temperature was about 59°F to 68°F. If you are a person who prefers lightweight carry-on, a trench coat with a cozy cashmere cardigan will be more than enough. Even though we have been told that there are a lot of French Speakers in Quebec, still we were very impressed that right after we crossed the border, all the street signs became in French. If you are planning to drive to Quebec, it’s very important that you require for international phone service before you leave if you don’t want to lose the direction in the middle of nowhere.
Montreal as the largest city in Quebec has a lot of unique spots for you to explore. The public transportation in Montreal is very convenient, both subway and bus aretourist friendly. Berri-UQAM is the main station to make transfers to different subway lines. If you are looking for hotels which are not surrounded by crowds but easy to commute, we recommend hotels located in Longueuil, which is a small city right next to Montreal, only two stops to Berri-UQAM by taking subway.
Mont Royal is a hill located in Montreal downtown area, walkable distance from where those commercial streets are located. Montreal’s landscape is the plain, you will get an amazing view of the Montreal city from the Mont Royal observatory deck, which is free.
You can choose to either hike up to the top or take a bus to the observatory deck directly. The hiking difficulty numerical rating of this hill should be less than 50.
Notre-Dame Basilica is located in the historic site Old Montreal area. You can buy the admission at the entrance. The interior design is breathtaking with a long history behind it. The height of Notre-Dame Basilica’s ceiling is up to 33 meters, being decorated by real gold. The original color of the ceiling was in blue, but as time goes by, the color you are looking at by eyes could be a little bit greenish now. Notre-Dame Basilica as the first Gothic Revival style church in Canada, has been always comparing with Notre-Dame de Paris because the design of Notre-Dame was inspired by Notre-Dame de Paris.
Montreal Biodome is anecosystem themed environmental museum located in Parc Jean-Drapeau island. You can get there by taking yellow line. It hosts a 360-degree screen showroom for you to watch environmental issue related documentaries and a lot of interactive hands-on exhibits for you to spend a great time with your families.
If you get a tight schedule, you can just enjoy the outside view of the museum and take some fun pictures with this huge ball shaped landmark.
You may schedule your visit to Old Montreal with more flexibilities since you get a lot of things to explore and enjoy. The architectures in Old Montreal will make you feel you are walking on the streets in France. This area finds the perfect balance between history and commerce, tons of boutiques, galleries, restaurants, dessert shops in that area for you to spend a great time. One of the landmarks in Old Montreal is the La Grande Roue de Montréal, you will get an amazing view of the Old Montreal.
Must Eat in Montreal:
Schwartz’s Smoked Meat
If you have done some research about Montreal, you probably already read about this world-famous restaurant which is specialized in Jewish style smoked meat sandwich. This is the most delicious smoked meat we ever had in our life, totally not just a tourism place, a lot of locals stop by there for lunch as well. We ordered the signature dish which is the smoked meat sandwich served on bread with yellow mustard, you can order the meat without bread too. The flavor is rich but mild, not too salty, super juicy, the moment you have a bite, you’ll know why there is always a huge line in front. Even Celine Dion invested 3 million dollars to this historical deli which was founded back in 1928.
It seems every place in Quebec has a long history, this famous bagel brand has over 60 years history and it’s a family owned and operated business. You may think bagels are more or less the same, the bagels at St-Viateur will definitely renovate your understanding of bagels. Before I visited this place, I am definitely not a big fan of bagels because most of them are just too dry and hard. However, St-Viateur always boil the doughs before they bake them, this makes the bagels taste so soft but also chewy.
Quebec City is one of the must-goes in Quebec. We arrived Quebec City on a rainy day, surprisingly the rain didn’t create a mess but set off the city in a fascinated way.
Old Quebec is the attraction which is worth of spending most of your time there by exploring every street and appreciating the amazing architectures from different angles. Old Quebec actually looks very different when it’s in the day and at night. Personally, we prefer the feeling of Old Quebec at night, we felt the happiness of Christmas in the air at night even though it was just in September.
Must-goes in Old Quebec:
Chateau Frontenac is the historic luxury hotel located in the center of Old Quebec. You will need to book the room months in advance since it’s extremely popular, every visitor to Old Quebec is dreaming about the hotel stay at Chateau Frontenac. The good part is that the whole lobby level is open to the public, even though you don’t have a room with them, you can always stop by and get anidea of how it looks like inside.
In the lobby, you will notice that there is a brass post box, weluckily got to know that there was a love story behind this postal box. Several years ago, when the hotel was under maintenance, hotel staff found a post card that had been stuck between floors since World War II. The post card was written by a soldier who was off to the war and he sent this post card asking his lover to wait for him. The staff actually tried to find the recipient but they were not lucky unfortunately.
Fresque Des Quebecois
Fresque Des Quebecois is the most famous mural in Quebec City featuring the landmarks and figures of Quebec City’s history. In front of the mural, you can find the information about all the figures on the mural and the stories behind on them.