A graceful combination of old and new alongside the St. Lawrence Seaway, Montreal is a wonderful place to be in love and provides the perfect setting for couples visiting on a honeymoon or short romantic getaways.
And it's close: If you're within driving distance of Eastern Canada, enjoy the Adirondack scenery as you approach the Canadian border. Or fly into Dorval Airport, near the city center of Montreal.
Montreal's Unconventional Modes of Transportation
This sophisticated destination has plenty of taxis and a subway system that connects to a vast underground city. But as honeymooners or a couple in love, you may want to try something more adventurous.
Imagine riding a bus through the narrow, cobblestoned streets of Vieux Port (the old city of Montreal) — and then launching right into the water! L'Amphibus, equipped with both wheels and a propeller — does just that. The trip takes about one hour (half land, half sea). It and the shallow-bottomed Bateau Mouche both enable you to understand the evolution of Montreal as an important port as you view the cityscape. If you prefer solid ground, consider touring in a horse-drawn caleche or renting a pair of bixi bikes.
Both L'Amphibus and the Bateau Mouche depart from the Vieux-Port area, which also has a park that rims the shore, a flea market inside a pier, IMAX movies in French and English, and a dark labyrinth to challenge those who think they know their way around.
From Vieux Port, it's a short uphill walk to many other Montreal points of interest. Take Rue Jacques-Cartier, a wide pedestrian thoroughfare filled with musicians and crafts vendors. Along the edges are sidewalk cafés where you can pause for a drink or sandwich.
At the top of Jacques-Cartier, turn right on Rue Notre Dame to visit the Museum Ramezay. It's a former governor's mansion that displays artifacts from the early days of Montreal.
If you turn left on Rue Notre Dame, it's a few blocks to the awe-inspiring Basilica of Montreal. While its exterior took four years to build, the interior took 10 times that long. Go inside, and you'll understand why.
Where to Stay in Montreal
A honeymoon is a time to indulge, so we recommend staying in the best Montreal hotel that you can afford. Formal and traditional, The Ritz-Carlton Montreal has an old-world elegance. It's located on Sherbrooke Street, one of the best addresses in Montreal and is surrounded by designer boutiques. The nearby Sofitel Montreal Golden Mile is less expensive but very stylish and French-accented. Unless it's freezing cold outside, it's a short walk to shopping on St. Catherine Street from those hotels as well as to the Underground.
Near the Vieux Port area, we like the Hotel Inter-Continental Montreal on Rue St. Antoine West. Although the design is modern, elegant, and formal, it's a welcoming place. Its health club includes a lap pool with doors that open onto a stunning rooftop garden overlooking Mount Royal. The hotel is connected to an underground mall with shops, a food court, and an entrance to Le Metro. Order breakfast in bed the night before, or enjoy the buffet spread in Les Continents lobby restaurant.
If you like historic hotels, Pierre Calvet is the oldest in the city and truly one-of-a-kind. Opened in 1725, every room is different and the attached restaurant offers a true gourmet repast. And since Brad Pitt slept there, ask which room he favored.
In the heart of Montreal, the 1,002-room Queen Elizabeth Hotel puts you right in the center of things. It's connected to the vast underground city and easy-to-navigate subway system. For a real treat, reserve a junior suite, which offers separate bathrooms and a living room in addition to a bedroom. It also has a health club and indoor pool. And if you're a fan of the Beatles, you'll want to know that this is the place in Montreal where John Lennon and Yoko Ono held their "bed-in" in 1969 in suite 1742.
As one of Canada's major cities, Montreal offers all sorts of evening entertainment -- concerts, theater, ballet, etc. Pick up a newspaper to see what's playing when you visit. Montreal also includes something you may not have in your hometown: a casino. It's located on an island close to the city center. During the day, you can catch a free bus there. The Metro also stops there, and a cab ride is inexpensive.
Unlike the casinos of Las Vegas and Atlantic City, Montreal's ship-shaped one is built on five levels and has windows. At the bottom level, a see-through floor is constructed over a small pond, allowing you to literally walk on water. The casino features slot machines, keno, poker at tables and machines, baccarat, roulette, and blackjack tables. So pay a visit to Montreal... and try your luck.
What You Should Know About Visiting Montreal
- Currency: Canadian Dollar
- Weather: Hot in summer, snowy in winter
- Languages Spoken: French and English
- Phones: Montreal exchanges are 514 and 438. Be very careful about making calls from the city or checking email; it may be considered an international call and a high cellphone bill may result. Whenever possible, use wi-fi instead.
- Crossing the Border: Be prepared to produce a valid U.S. Passport, Passport Card, Enhanced Driver’s License, or Trusted Traveler Program card.