Road Trip to North America's Paris: Montreal, Quebec (Oct. 14-18, 2015)
Road Trip to North America's Paris: Montreal, Quebec (Oct. 14-18, 2015)
TOUR PRICE: The rate per person based on double occupancy is ONLY $599.00. The single supplement is $190.00. The rate does not include tips for our drivers and guides. All other fees are included in the price.
AVAILABILITY: SOLD OUT. Waiting list only.
Back by popular demand, this ArawjoTours Classic takes you to the most European city in all of North America--Montreal, Quebec--during the lovely days of autumn. Our ride to Canada via upstate New York through the Adirondacks is beautiful during the fall foliage and sets the stage for our exciting entrance into the Province of Quebec. Your first glimpse of the beautiful city of Montreal will be from Highway 15 as we approach the downtown area from the southeast. Modern yet traditional, French but English-friendly, cultured but not snobbish, Montreal is a most exhilarating urban metropolis, a city of fashion, art, university students, cutting edge technology and, of course, haute cuisine. The look and feel of the city is distinctly European, yet this fascinating place is only 425 miles north of the Lehigh Valley, PA. Come join us on this five day adventure as we explore this treasure of North America. Below is a rather subjective but heart-felt list of my top ten favorite things to do in Montreal followed by a summary of the tour inclusions. I am sure that after visiting the city, you will be able to come up with your own favorites list, perhaps quite different from my own. But that is the beauty of Montreal: it most assuredly has something for everyone, something for every taste.
KEVIN'S TOP TEN ACTIVITIES IN MONTREAL, QUEBEC (CA)
1. Taking a self-guided walking tour through the Old Town of Montreal and having lunch at Stash's Polish Restaurant: The Old Town of Montreal (Vieux Montreal) dates to the 1700s and is the logical place to begin your historical introduction to the city. Apart from simply enjoying the countless shops, cafes, boutiques, restaurants and artist galleries, my favorite tourist stops are the magnificent Basilique Notre-Dame and the Pointe-a-Calliere (Montreal Museum of Archaeology and History). Stop for a hearty lunch at Stash's Polish Restaurant in the heart of the Old Town. The pierogies, halupki, kielbasa, zurek soup and Zubrovka vodka are among the best you will find outside of Poland. Montreal is known for its many ethnic restaurants, so you don't have to feel guilty for not eating French cuisine right away.
2. Attending a show at the Centaur Theatre: Although Montreal is officially French-speaking, the city is actually quite bilingual and tourist friendly. Most restaurateurs and shop owners will speak some English and one of the best theatres in town is actually an English-language venue. The Centaur Theatre is in the heart of the Old Town in the former stock-exchange building (1903). The performances are always of the highest quality and after the show you can enjoy a drink or a bite to eat nearby.
3. Checking out a Montreal Canadiens hockey game at the Centre Bell (or any other performance): Let's face it, hockey IS Canada's national sport, and there is nothing quite as exciting as checking out a game at the beautiful Centre Bell, which is conveniently located just a five minute walk from our hotel. Check out the Centre's schedule on-line: If there is no hockey game during our visit, perhaps a famous singer will be performing. All the famous acts from American and Canada perform at the Centre Bell, so plan ahead and have a blast!
4. Shopping, shopping and more shopping: Did you know that Montreal has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage city for fashion? This is indeed a prestigious honor and one that Montreal well deserves. Next to Paris, Montreal is one of THE capitals of fashion in the western world. You will be sure to find something affordable (or maybe no so affordable depending on your tastes) that appeals to your taste and gives you a more stylish, cutting-edge look. My favorite boutique is Rudsak located downtown right on St. Catherine Street, just a few blocks from our hotel.
5. Visiting Montreal's Museum of Fine Arts (Musee des Beaux-Arts): This is Montreal's most prominent museum, and deservedly so. It is housed in a beautiful neoclassical building on Rue Sherbrooke in the center of downtown Montreal (again, very close to our hotel). In addition to the museum's permanent collection, there are also regular temporary exhibitions that bring in some of the finest works of art from around the world. One of the more recent exhibitions was dedicated to the treasures of Catherine the Great, brought to Montreal from the Hermitage Museum in St.Petersburg. Do not miss this great treasure trove.
6. Letting loose on Rue Crescent Street: Montreal is very youthful city and is famous for its wild nightlife. The epicenter of downtown action is Rue Crescent, a street lined with bars, nightclubs, pubs and various restaurants and eateries. One of my favorite places for happy hour is Sir Winston Churchill Pub, which offers live music on weekends and has various floors geared toward people of different ages. The grub is good here and the happy hour lasts from 4:00 - 8:00 p.m. most days of the week (much longer than any other place in the city). If the weather is good, you will find people eating and drinking on the street-lined, New Orleans-style outdoor terraces. A really fun place to be.
7. Grazing in Montreal: Despite its French character, Montreal is very cosmopolitan, and the plethora of gastronomical choices is a reflection of that culinary variety. You can find extraordinary French contemporary cuisine at pricey places like Toque! restaurant, but you can also find excellent Asian, Middle Eastern, Eastern European (like Stash's above), and Italian cuisine. I can recommend several places in these categories. If you just want a sandwich, Schwartz's Deli is THE place to go for a succulent brisket. Another great option is to visit one of Montreal's many outdoor markets to nibble on some fresh fare. My favorite place is the Jean-Talon Market.
8. Watching a substantive film: If you enjoy the cinema, then you will really appreciate Montreal. Not only does the city offer standard blockbusters from the USA and Canada, but Indie film choices also abound. Movies of substance and critical acclaim--English, French and foreign--that receive limited circulation in the States can readily be found in this city of reflection. Indeed, Montrealers seem to thrive on the opportunities for intellectual discussion that a good film can produce. The cafes at some of our favorite theatres, such as the Cineplex Odeon Forum on Rue St. Catherine (walking distance from hotel), buzz with life both before and after a show. In short, Montreal is a haven for film buffs.
9. Exploring the neighborhoods on foot: In addition to the Old Town and downtown areas referenced above, there are many other sections of town that can and should be visited on foot. You can visit the Plateau Mont Royal, where locals like to hang out, away from the business of downtown, or you can check out The Village, Mile End, Chinatown, the Latin Quarter, the Underground City or even the Ile Ste-Helene or Ile Notre Dame. Be sure to visit the Parc du Mont-Royal, on the hill from which the city takes its name (Royal Mountain). "The Mountain," as Montrealers refer to the Parc, is great for strolling, hiking or even cross-country skiing. There are also two cemeteries there that might be of interest.
10. Enjoying a coffee and a book in one of the many cafes (and NOT in a Starbucks): One of the ways that my wife and I like to feel the pulse of the city--which is home to four major universities and has a higher percentage of university students than any other North American city--is simply to pick a cafe, grab a book, and perhaps a cake or muffin, and sit among the many students and professionals who are living their lives, socializing, working or just passing the time. Great for people-watching, cafes in Montreal are like those in Europe--never dull. And you can sit for hours at little cost.
TOUR FEATURES: Escorted by ArawjoTours, LLC President and CEO, Kevin Arawjo, this autumn in Montreal package includes private motor coach transportation throughout the journey, FOUR nights in the first class, centrally-located B.W. Europa Downtown Hotel, all Canadian government taxes totaling over 18% (city tax, GST and TVQ), complete American-style buffet breakfasts every day (eggs, bacon, sausages, potatoes, pancakes, fresh fruits, tea an juice), and a four hour city tour by motor coach and on foot. Food is expensive in Montreal, so having our breakfasts included in this tour is a huge plus!