Montreal is a beautiful city to visit and stroll around, with an understated feeling about it that is very inviting. The people there speak English and French, allowing one to experience many aspects of French culture without being at a loss for words.
Centre-Ville, at the core of the city, is scattered with modern shopping avenues, beautiful museums, cafes, restaurants and large open-space parks. Despite being a relatively small city compared to Paris or London, it is densely packed, and beautifully so.
One of the most beautiful parts of Montreal is Vieux Montreal (Old Montreal), particularly the southeast section of the city.
Along the Saint Laurent river lie cobblestoned pathways that wind in and out of Vieux Montreal, producing a visually pleasing stroll. Down by the river, one can see paddle boats on the water against the backdrop of lovely, old architecture, such as clock towers and parliamentary buildings. Further into Vieux Montreal are cafes and restaurants that occupy the former workplaces of blacksmiths, tanners and keymakers, as well as private residences.
The area is spirited and has been kept well intact over the years. The cleanliness of this area of the city, mixed with clear blue skies and an abundance of trees and grass, makes for a delightful backdrop - mind you this is in the summertime, and it surely looks very different when covered in snow.
There’s nothing nicer to do after having a walk around and a lying in the grass than to pick one of the outdoor cafes, restaurants or bars scattered along Place Jacques-Cartier. At one of the venues along this road, I ordered a duck salad and a bottle of French Bordeaux wine. Others might opt to order the trademark "Beaver Tail," which is a Canadian fried pastry often served with chocolate and ice-cream.
This large uphill alley is filled with lovely monuments and a variety of cuisines and places to sit; the people are also friendly, which varies from the more congested parts of the city, such as on Saint Catherine Street.
Throughout Vieux Montreal are dozens of bars selling Belgian - and non-Belgian, of course - beer, making for guiltless pub crawls as one can use the excuse of seeking culture. The historic museums that are semi-hidden throughout Vieux, such as Bank of Montreal Museum, are also must-sees.
Montreal is a relatively small city, making a two-week visit like my own enough, as I am not overwhelmed trying to cover as much terrain as possible.