Canada’s Capital of Culture, this island in the Quebec region is the most culturally diverse city in the country. Nevertheless French is the official language here, with Montreal being the second largest French speaking city in the world after Paris. But even though it’s predominately French speaking, the multiculturalism of this city has left it with a significant English speaking population. As well as being Quebec’s largest metropolis, Montreal is a vibrant and cosmopolitan urban centre, blending French-inspired joie de vivre with a flourishing arts and music scene.
While not a true island, Montreal is mostly surrounded by the St. Lawrence River, making for a scenic backdrop from most places in town. With countless parks and restaurants all about this relaxation and culinary mecca, quality of life takes top priority here. In fact Montreal has more restaurants per capita than any other city in North America, a by-product of the influx of cultures from around the world. Whether you are interested in haute cuisine, cheap and bountiful or somewhere in between you will have no issues finding a restaurant or café to suit your tastes and preference in cuisine.
Hot and humid in summer, snowy and icy in winter, Montreal is an elegant and graceful city of contrasts, brimming with culture.
Holiday in Montreal
Any expedition into Montreal’s cultural heritage needs start in Old Montreal. The historic city centre contains many noteworthy buildings and illuminating museums, shedding light on the cultures and tribes which have lived on this site for thousands of years. The Rialto Theatre is one of this city’s most iconic structures, and this old movie theatre is today a National Historic Site of Canada so check if there is anything showing you would like to see.
If you are interested in exploring the natural bounty, there are roughly 30 parks to discover such as Mount Royal Park (with its own triple-peaked hill right in the centre of town) and the Botanical Gardens. Many of the parks have picturesque bike trails, cross-country skiing in winter, ice skating and river surfing – so apart from viewing stunning landscapes there is plenty else to do.
Le Plateau is a trendy and boutique shopping and dining district, located in a scenic residential diorama and well worth exploring on foot. Downtown Montreal contains many of the town’s chapels, museums, underground arcades and shopping malls so is the area to be in for a more traditional cityscape, albeit with the urban diversity of this artistic haven.
Montreal is also a chic and sophisticated LGBT destination, with the largest ‘Gay Village’ in North America made up of trendy bars, unique restaurants and stylish clubs all proudly waving the rainbow flag. This area, Rue Crescent, is one of Montreal’s best areas for nightlife and is predominately English speaking.
Being the cultural capital that it is, Montreal plays host to hundreds of big and small festivals throughout the year such as the International Fireworks Festival, the Oshega Music & Arts Festival, for those interested in indie and alternative rock, and Shakespeare in the Park. It is worth checking an events calendar for this melting pot of artists, musicians and performers before choosing your check in date.
Renting holiday accommodation in Montreal
When choosing somewhere to stay in Montreal, it’s important to determine the areas you’d like to explore most. Whether you prefer a stylish city centre apartment or a riverside home with beautiful sunsets over the water, choosing to stay in a holiday rental opens up a lot more options to customise your break and make it truly unique to you. And after taking a trip to the massive Jean-Talon open-air market, nothing beats being able to take fresh organic food back to your very own kitchen and prepare a delicious and sumptuous feast before retiring to the balcony or garden.