Author Topic: Suggestions for 4 day trip to Montreal/Quebec  (Read 2700 times)

brandino29

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Suggestions for 4 day trip to Montreal/Quebec
« on: February 11, 2014, 08:48:37 AM »
My wife and I have our 5 year anniversary coming up in May and I'm thinking of surprising her with a long-weekend trip.

I'd like to keep it reasonably cheap but somewhere neither of us have ever been and Montreal is by far the front-runner right now.  I've found round trip tickets on kayak for $380, arriving early on Thursday and having essentially four full days (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, coming back Sunday afternoon). 

I'm looking for recommendations on a cheap place to stay while we're there and things to do, especially things that are off the traditional tourist radar.  I'd also like to do a day trip to Quebec, I've heard it's a beautiful city but not sure if it warrants an overnight or just spending the day there.  My thought would be to rent a car to be able to drive it ourselves and stop along the way if we see something interesting but if there are buses or trains that are cheap and convenient, that would be a definite possibility as well. 

It would be a late May trip so I'm expecting the weather should be mild, right? 

 

huadpe

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Re: Suggestions for 4 day trip to Montreal/Quebec
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2014, 02:12:03 PM »
Late May can vary from shorts and a T-shirt to medium weight jacket.

If I were you, I'd skip the car rental and stay in Montreal.  Quebec City is a pretty long drive and would be a bit far for a day trip (that's a 6+ hour driving day).  Also, Montreal is a terrible city to drive in, so if you can avoid it, you're better off taking transit and maybe a cab now and then.  The metro system is quite good, though you'll probably want to take a cab to/from the airport.

For your anniversary dinner, if you want to do a fancy restaurant, I'd suggest L'Express on St. Denis, which is a super old-school French bistro.  It's not cheap, but it's not stratospheric for a fancy place, and the food is excellent.  Slightly less expensive and less intimate would be L'Academie which is like 4 doors down and a nice BYOB French/Italian.

For cheap places to stay, I don't have any specific suggestions, but I'd look on AirBnB.  Montreal is a huge student city, and there will be a lot of vacant apartments for short term rental.  For a quieter neighborhood that's right downtown, and will have lots of rentals, I'd look at the "McGill ghetto" which is basically bordered by Sherbrooke, Pine, and St. Urbain.  Here for example is a 1 bedroom apartment for $75/night https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/2302578?checkin=05%2F22%2F2014&checkout=05%2F26%2F2014&guests=2&s=xLCX

For places to visit that are a bit off the beaten path, if you like beer, the St. Ambroise brewery has a nice outdoor bar and I think you could tour the brewery.

nereo

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Re: Suggestions for 4 day trip to Montreal/Quebec
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2014, 03:29:01 PM »
Montreal is a big and exciting city, but I personally would **highly** recommend seeing Quebec City.  It's the capitol, there's a ton of stuff to do (lots of it free), and it has a much more french-canadian feel to it than Montreal.  96% of the residents in Quebec City speak french, vs around 60% for Montreal.  Montreal is very much a cosmopolitan city, whereas Quebec has stubbornly maintained it's old-world, french-canadian character.

In terms of transit, check out amigoexpress (www.amigoexpress.com).  You can get cheap ride-shares from Montreal to Quebec and back, often for ~$20/person.  If you're not the kind of person willing to gamble on a sharing a ride with a random stranger, then the buses are reasonable, frequent and comfortable - http://www.orleansexpress.com/en/

For a restaurant, i'd recommend L'affaire est Ketchup in St Roch.  Tiny place that fills up so fall about a week ahead of time for a reservation.  Not the cheapest but fantastic, authentic quebecois food.

For things to do there's history galore.  The old city is a facinating place to walk around, but touristy.  There's beautiful parks to walk/ride/skate along (from the river all the way to St Anne de Beaupré.  If you make it out to St Anne's you check out the cathedral there.  If you want an english connection the Morrin Center (www.morrin.org) has free tours and they are very helpful telling people what's going on in the city at any particular time. 

jrhampt

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Re: Suggestions for 4 day trip to Montreal/Quebec
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2014, 03:52:50 PM »
I've been to both cities multiple times, but my favorite ** by far ** is Quebec City.  Better atmosphere, better food,  prettier.  I recommend Aux Anciens Canadians in the historic, walled section of Quebec City.  They have a prix fixe menu if you get there early enough - maybe by 5 or 6?  And the maple syrup pie with heavy cream poured over it is soooooooo good that it hurts. 

http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g155033-d701720-r133605193-Aux_Anciens_Canadiens-Quebec_City_Quebec.html

Oh, and the meat pie is pretty good, too.  But definitely don't miss the maple syrup pie.  And maybe have some ice wine/ice cider and take a drive around the Isle d'Orleans nearby. 
« Last Edit: February 11, 2014, 03:57:37 PM by jrhampt »