Montreal Travel Guide

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  • There are many activities for visitors to do in Montreal, including walking through historic Old Montreal, hiking up Mount Royal, and visiting the grand St. Joseph’s Oratory.

    Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    As we ate our way through Montreal (Read our Montreal – A Foodie’s Heaven post), we tried to squeeze in some activities and see as much of the historic and artistic city as we could.  The best part is that most of the tourist areas are not far from each other and we didn’t have to spend too much driving around in the car going to different places.  Ready to tour Montreal?  Let’s go!

    Seeing Montreal from a Scooter

    Our children is used to walking quite a bit when we visit new cities.  In Japan, it’s not unusual for us to walk 15,000+ steps a day.

    Just One Cookbook child on electric scooter - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    To make the trip more memorable, I secretly booked a Montreal electric scooter tour with Goofy through Airbnb and surprised our children with the experience.  They absolutely loved it and had a blast.  Our host Goofy was a super cool guide and our family had so much fun with him.

    Just One Cookbook family on Montreal scooter tour - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    Goofy’s tour took us from Old Montreal along the canal to Marché Atwater and back up to downtown.  He purposely avoids the “touristy” part of the Montreal and provides his guests a more authentic local experience.

    view of downtown Montreal - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com
    View of downtown towers
    boat lock on canal - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com
    Boat lock on the canal

    Just One Cookbook family on Montreal scooter tour - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    old factory by oTENTik - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com
    Old grain silo

    view of old Montreal - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    Besides the scenery, Goofy took us to check out BOTA spa.  It’s an old boat converted into sauna and spa, ultra cool.

    Bota Spa - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    Habitat 67 from Bota Spa - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com
    Habitat 67 apartments

    view of old Montreal - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    Goofy’s tour is super fun and we highly recommend it.  The minimum age is 6 years and above to ride the scooter and most of the time we were on the pedestrian paths so it was pretty safe.

    Old Montreal Walking Tour

    On our second day there, we booked an Old Montreal Walking Tour (east tour) through Airbnb.  It was a 2-hour walking tour through old Montreal.

    Place d’Armes - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal

    The tour began at Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal, where Celine Dion got married!

    Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    doorway at Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    The interior of the Basilica was grand and beautiful.

    wooden staircase at Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    pipe organ at Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com
    Pipe organ at the back of the church

    altarpiece at Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    stained glass window at Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    old photographs of Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    The walking tour continued on St. Paul street and along the route, the guide explained the buildings that we passed by as well as their historical significance.

    St. Paul Street – Montreal

    St. Paul is Montreal’s oldest street and many parts of it are still covered in cobblestone.

    buildings next to Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    shops on Saint-Paul St W - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    The street today is lined with shops, bars, and restaurants.

    building under construction at Notre-Dame St. East - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    It was interesting to see a building being updated, as they use scaffolding to maintain the historic front but build a completely new interior.  St. Paul Street intersects with Place Jacques-Cartier where the Montreal City Hall and Chateau Ramezay are located.

    photography stand at Place Jacques-Cartier - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    Place Jacques-Cartier - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com
    Place Jacques-Cartier

    Place Jacques-Cartier - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    The leaves had just started to change and made the plaza extra beautiful.

    Place Jacques-Cartier - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    Vauquelin statue at Vauquelin Place - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com
    Vauquelin statue at Vauquelin Place
    Champ-de-Mars - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com
    Champ-de-Mars

    Champ-de-Mars - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    Montreal City Hall - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com
    Montreal City Hall
    Château Ramezay - Musée et site historique de Montréal - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com
    Château Ramezay

    Just One Cookbook child at the garden at Château Ramezay - Musée et site historique de Montréal - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    The tour ended at Marché Bonsecours near the Jacques-Cartier Pier.

    Bonsecours Market - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com
    Marché Bonsecours

    inside Bonsecours Market - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    Would we recommend the walking tour?  Not really, you can easily visit the Basilica and walk around Old Montreal by yourself.  The history of the city and buildings from the guide was helpful but nothing that we wouldn’t be able to discover ourselves with a bit of web browsing.

    It didn’t help that a few members in the group decided to go rogue and kept straying so our guide spent a lot of time just keeping track if everyone was still around.

    Mount Royal

    Besides the tour, we visited a few parks by ourselves in search of foliage.  Montreal is a pretty flat city and it’s very easy to bike around (I’ll touch on this later in the post).  The one exception to this is Mount Royal park which rises above the rest of the city.  The leaves haven’t quite changed their colors when we first arrived but by the third day when we visited Mount Royal Park, the colors had started to change.

    Mount Royal Park - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    Beaver Lake Mount Royal Park - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com
    Beaver Lake Mount Royal Park

    Just One Cookbook family at Mount Royal Park - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    Mount Royal Park - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    children running in Mount Royal Park - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com
    Kids were chasing the birds

    child pose in front of sculpture at Mount Royal Park - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    We started our day by Beaver Lake and then hiked up towards Mount Royal Chalet for a panoramic view of the city.

    hiking trail at Mount Royal Park - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    Just One Cookbook family at Mount Royal Park - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    plaza outside Mount Royal Chalet - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com
    Plaza outside Mount Royal Chalet

    plaza outisde Mount Royal Chalet - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    view of Montreal from Mount Royal Chalet - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com
    View of Montreal skyline

    The view from Mount Royal Chalet allows you to view from the north to the south along the St. Lawrence River.

    Just One Cookbook family at the plaza outisde Mount Royal Chalet - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    view of Montreal from Mount Royal Chalet - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    After taking in the view of the city, we head to the chalet.  Inside the chalet, there is a coffee shop, restrooms, and history of Montreal playing through small screens.

    history of Montreal movie playing at Mount Royal Chalet - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    child inside Mount Royal Chalet - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    Mount Royal Park - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    child standing next to sculpture at Mount Royal Park - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    children playing on top of fountain at Beaver Lake Mount Royal Park - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    Beaver Lake Mount Royal Park - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    trees changing color at Mount Royal Park - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    trees changing color at Mount Royal Park - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    trees changing color at Mount Royal Park - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    children chasing leaves at Mount Royal Park - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com
    Kids trying to see who can catch a falling leaf first
    Café des Amis - Pavillon du Lac-aux-Castors at Mount Royal Park - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com
    Café des Amis at Mount Royal

    Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal

    Near the southwest side of Mount Royal is Saint Joseph’s Oratory.  It is Canada’s largest church and built on top of the hill.  It is open to the public and more than 2 million visitors and pilgrims visit the church each year.

    St.Joseph's Oratory - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    The church was grand and majestic from both the outside and the inside.

    St.Joseph's Oratory - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    front lawn at St.Joseph's Oratory - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    Crypt Church at St.Joseph's Oratory - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com
    Crypt Church at St. Joseph’s Oratory

    Besides the outdoor staircase, there is also escalators inside the church to go up for those who have trouble walking.

    Just One Cookbook child at St.Joseph's Oratory - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    staircase outside St.Joseph's Oratory - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    the Basilica at St.Joseph's Oratory - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com
    The Basilica at St. Joseph’s Oratory
    pipe organ at St.Joseph's Oratory - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com
    Pipe organ at St. Joseph’s Oratory

    stained glass window the Basilica at St.Joseph's Oratory - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    As it’s a place of worship we didn’t want to take too many pictures, but it’s a must-see when you’re in Montreal.

    Just One Cookbook children at St.Joseph's Oratory - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    the Basilica at St.Joseph's Oratory - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    It was at Saint Joseph’s Oratory we met up with a JOC reader Jessica was so nice to gift us probiotics from her company.  Thank you, Jessica!

    Just One Cookbook family with reader at the Basilica at St.Joseph's Oratory - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    Park La Fontaine

    On the first day in Montreal, we stopped by Parc La Fontaine but unfortunately, most of the leaves hadn’t quite changed colors yet.

    Parc La Fontaine - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    white squirrel at Parc La Fontaine - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com
    White squirrel!

    Just One Cookbook children at Parc La Fontaine - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    It’s a beautiful park great for strolling around in the city.

    bridge at Parc La Fontaine - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    Parc La Fontaine - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    Just One Cookbook children in front of Statue de Félix Leclerc at Parc La Fontaine - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    Centre culturel Art Neuf at Parc La Fontaine - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com
    Centre Culturel Art Neuf at Parc La Fontaine
    Just One Cookbook children taking pictures at Parc La Fontaine - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com
    Our kids are starting to get into photography

    Just One Cookbook child jumping at Parc La Fontaine - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    Just One Cookbook children at Parc La Fontaine - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    Montreal Airport & Rental Car

    In case you are wondering how we got around, we rented a car from the airport.  The rental car is located right at the airport and just a few mins walking from the terminal.  The Montreal Airport was clean and updated.

    Welcome to Montreal sign at the airport - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    Montreal airport arrivals area - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    Montreal airport car rental - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    BIXI Montréal rental station

    If you prefer not to have a rental car in Montreal, it’s completely fine.  It’s one of the most bike-friendly cities we’ve visited and there are public bike rental stations all over.  It cost just CAD$5 to rent for an entire day in 30-minute increments.  If you go over 30 minutes, there’s a slight surcharge but not much.  As long as you stay within 30 minutes, you don’t need to worry.

    I had some trouble with my US credit card trying to rent from the machine, so I ended up installing the app and renting the bike through the app.  Before you grab your bike (by simply entering the code), test to make sure the tire is not flat.
    BIXI Montréal rental station - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    Airbnb in Montreal

    We stayed at an Airbnb during our visit at Mile End.  The staff and host of our Airbnb are by far the best we ever encountered and they went out of their way to make sure our stay was nothing short of amazing.  From the communication to the cleanliness of the apartment, we had a wonderful experience.  Our daughter had left some stuff behind and they even mailed it to us.  Here is the listing if you are interested.

    Montreal Airbnb - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com
    Dining and kitchen
    Montreal Airbnb - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com
    Living room

    The host owned the entire building and there are 5 units, the apartments are fairly new and very well-maintained.  There is free parking in the back of the building.

    Montreal Airbnb - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    Montreal Airbnb - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    Montreal Airbnb - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    Public Parking in Montreal

    Public parking is available all over Montreal and the hourly price depends on the location.  It’s usually around CAD$1 per hour but much more expensive when you are in Old Montreal.  Each spot usually has a signpost telling you the spot number; in the example below, it’s PE367.  When you get to the machine (there is an English language button), simply enter your spot number and pay.  You can also pay via an app.  I took advantage of the app when our meter expired while we were still in the middle of eating.

    Montreal public parking meter - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    Montreal public parking meter number - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    Art and Culture in Montreal

    With its rich history, Montreal has so much to offer culturally for visitors to absorb.  All over the city, you can see art is encouraged and you see it’s everywhere when you walk around.

    Super hero painted on a building wall - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    La Banquise - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    bike shop - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    art painted on wall - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    During our visit, there is construction everywhere including roads, condos, and buildings, and you feel a sense of new energy as you look around.

    Montreal residential buildings - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    Paroisse Saint-Jean-Baptiste - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    Church of St. Michael and St. Anthony - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    horse and carriage - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

    We had an amazing time visiting Montreal and highly recommend it for anyone looking for a quick 3-day trip to unwind, and of course, eat great food.

    We hope you enjoy our short Montreal Travel Guide. Don’t forget to check out what and where we ate!

    St-Viateur Bagel Shop - Montreal Travel Guide | www.justonecookbook.com

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