In July, we are taking our second HAL cruise...Alaska was the first. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves on the Volendam and want to make the most of our cruise on the Rotterdam. Any advice you can share for our time in Montreal or any ports along the way would be appreciated. Thanks, Toley
We live in Montreal! You did not say when exactly you will be here or for how long, but there is plenty to do. The old port itself has a lot of shopping, good restaurants, entertainment and lots of history. Then there is the downtown sector which is not far from the old port. Again history, museums, great shopping and lots of outdoor terraces. Montreal is a very happing European city, especially in the summer! The world famous Jazz Festival is also held in the summer, maybe at the same time that you are here. If you can tell us what interests you we can be more helpful.
Barb & Steve
Hi Barb & Steve!
I was excited to see your reply since I posted this request so long ago! We will be in Montreal at the beginning of July and have reservations at the Auberge Bonaparte in Old Montreal. Someone on these boards had mentioned staying there and it looked very nice on the website. Since we're planning on being there for three days prior to the cruise, we're interested in your suggestions for good restaurants (always a priority) and any sights that shouldn't be missed. There isn't one particular theme that we're looking for, but rather we're open to ideas. Also, would you know how far we would be from the cruise terminal? Anything you can tell us would be helpful especially since you live there.
Could I chime in?
We will also be in Montreal at beginning of July before boarding the Rotterdam. I'm especially interested in the famous Montreal Jazz festival and wondered how expensive that might be. We are also looking for a hotel in Vieux Montreal if you can recommend one and plan to do a good deal of walking around that part of the city. Since our 13 year old son (who seems to growing a foot a day) will be with us, we probably shouldn't have a room surrounded by antiques.
Chuck and Rita
Chuck - the Montreal Jazz Festival is being held this year from June 26th - July 6th. There are a lot of free open air concerts so if you are in Montreal around this time, you could take in one of these concerts.
Unfortunately there is nothing out yet on where the different venues will be held, but keep checking www.montrealjazzfest.com/ for more information. When my son and his wife lived in Montreal, they always attended these concerts.
The Montreal Jazz Festival takes place in the downtown area in and around Place Des Arts which is located on St. Catherine Street and Jeanne Mance. Everyday our daily English newspaper "The Gazette" publishes the list of events for the day. Some you have to purchase tickets for - the venues are mostly in this area. The outdoor concerts are definitely in this area. They actually close off the streets for the duration and they have various stages set up within a few block radius. They put up signs with arrows to help you find your way around and there is always people to ask.
I'm not sure of the prices for hotels in Old Montreal but seeing as the summer is our peak seaon some of them can be very expensive. You should check out the hotels in the downtown area. Montreal is not very spread out and you will still be in close proximity to everything. Downtown is where the Jazz Festival is and there are many hotels and motels in the area. Also it might be easier to find one with a pool which will make your son happy. Downtown is where the great shopping is and you will find a greater variety of restaurants in this area. St. Catherine Street (the main street) heading west stretches on for blocks and blocks with wall to wall stores, department stores and restaurants. If the weather is not nice there is also the miles of underground shopping in this area as well! Not far from where the Jazz Festival is held is the location of our great China Town. The Chinese food in Montreal is fantastic!
Old Montreal is 10 minutes by car from downtown and you could plan to spend an afternoon and evening there. There is a great Science museum there with a lot of hands-on exhibits that your son might enjoy. Also there is an Imax theatre and an area where you can rent paddle boats. There is a lot of history in this area - beautiful old buildings and original cobblestone streets. Very European. As the supper hour approaches more people start to arrive mostly congregating in the Jacques Cartier Square where all the entertainment, street vendors, artists and temporary tatooists are.
I hope this helps. If you have any other questions, I am happy to help.
All of this advice has been very helpful. Toley, we will also will be staying at Auberge Bonaparte for 3 nights before our July 5 cruise. Since Montreal has so much to offer, it is more helpful to receive personal recommendations about what not to miss. Is riding the subway advisable when traveling from the Old Port to downtown Montreal or would a cab be better? How about getting back and forth from the Jazz Festival? Thanks Barb for your help via email. I thought I should share the wealth of your knowledge with the other interested travelers.
Maybe we will run into each other while at the Bonaparte or on the cruise! We're really looking forward to it. We've never been to Montreal, so any info is always appreciated. Doesn't the Auberge Bonaparte look like a great place to stay? Have you received any advice on restaurants in the area?
Do you have any favorite restaurants in the Old Montreal area or in downtown Montreal? We like to try places that are representative of the city that we are visiting and avoid the chains that can be found at home.
Thanks for all the info thus far. Montreal sounds like a great place.
I had e mailed Barb for suggestions of restaurants, and she mentioned Gibby's and The Keg which are in the Old Port. I have read that Bonaparte's restaurant is also a good one. I also read in a guidebook that Montreal does not have any particular area cuisine for which it is known, with the exception of their meat pie, smoked meats like corned beef and their "junk food" poutine, fries with gravy and cheese curds (which I can't wait to taste.) Of course, French restaurants and almost every other ethnic food abounds. What I would like is names of sidewalk cafes reminiscent of Paris. I am very happy that we chose the Old Port location. I understand that the ship's dock (I'm assuming you also are on the Rotterdam) is close to our B & B. I'm looking forward to our stay in Montreal almost as much as the cruise. I'm hoping other readers come through with suggestions for the ports. I know we will do the ship's cruise of the National Park in Maine and probably the Anne of Green Gables House. I would like to know what not to miss in Quebec.