The province of Québec intrigues us. While Canada’s majority is Anglophone, Québec has the largest Francophone communities in Canada where 80% of them speak French as their first language while 95% of them can speak French. In fact, Montréal is the fourth largest Francophone city in the world.
Prior to arrival, we bought 3-day Passeport MTL cards, which allowed us to access the metro system and many must-see attractions. We initially plan to spend the first 3 full days exploring downtown Montréal and the last full day hiking in Parc national du Mont-Tremblant. However, due to possible bad weather on the last day, we decided to do the hike first on the very next day before spending the remaining days in Montréal to maximize our Passeport MTL card usage.
The temperature throughout our stay in Montréal was between high 30F to high 50F. So, while it was chilly in Minnesota, it was even chillier in Montréal. We purposely chose to travel during the off-season to avoid the crowds before the school holidays and national holidays began.
Our first full day in Montréal was also the sunniest day throughout our time there. Walking for more than 26K steps, we strolled along the cobblestones of Rue Saint-Paul (Montréal’s oldest street) in Old Montréal, learned about the birthplace of Montréal at the Pointe-à-Callière Museum, enjoyed the cruise along the St Lawrence River, bought local goodies (crepes, wine, cheese and maple syrup) at Jean Talon Market in Little Italy and admired the spiral staircases in Le Plateau-Mont-Royal neighborhood.
We spent another full day visiting several closely located attractions near Montréal Olympic Park. Since it was highly expected to rain in the afternoon, we picked up the pace and visited the Montréal Tower Observatory, followed the Olympic Stadium guided tour, wandered aimlessly at the Botanical Garden and stopped by Château Dufresne. We lucked out… the rain started to drizzle right after we arrived at the doorstep of our accommodation in the evening. We were also lucky to be able to visit the Montréal Tower Observatory because it is now closed for an indefinite period for some reason.
On our last full day in Montréal, we experienced a long torrential downpour. Armed with our umbrellas, we visited several indoor attractions such as the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts, Observatoire Place Ville Marie, Grévin Wax Museum and Underground City. Montréal’s Underground City is the largest underground complex in the world with 20 miles of tunnel cover.
A couple of observations…
- We had our initial fear that communicating with the Montréalers might be too challenging knowing that we don’t speak French, but almost everyone we talked to spoke fluent English too.
- It was truly a breath of fresh air to eavesdrop on French-speaking conversations everywhere we went even though we had no idea what the strangers were talking about. Typically, any public announcement would be done in French first, followed by English.
- Some on-street parking along busy streets have single EV charging station for one or two vehicles.