There's just one phrase that truly captures the spirit of Montreal: multifaceted. This city reflects the convergence between the Ancient and Modern Worlds, with the buildings of the 18th century merging into the skyline of the 21st century. Old houses are now home to funky fusion bars, and the familiar tone of English is juxtaposed with the rolled "r"s of French. Rainbow flags fly among fabric emblems from India, Portugal and France, and traditional French pastry is sold alongside the notably sweet sesame seed, Montreal-style bagel. Only when you thought you'd seen it all, a fast elevator trip introduces you to another community located a few floors below ground level.
Old Montreal (Vieux-Montréal): While the site of the original city of Montreal; Vieux-Montréal is the centre of the history of the city. Given the growing urbanization of the area, not much has changed in this neighborhood. Horse-drawn carriages cross cobblestone streets and meander past popular places such as the Basilique Notre-Dame, the Hôtel de Ville (Town Hall), the Vieux-Port (Old Port) and the Marché Bonsecours (Bonsecours Market).
Montreal Botanical Garden: Owing to 10 large greenhouses – each customized to a particular theme – the 190-acre botanical gardens are home to more than 22,000 species of flora and give a scenic year-round respite from the middle of the metropolis. Take considerable time strolling around the tranquil bonsai trees in the Japanese Garden or learning about the concepts of yin and yang in the Chinese Garden, which exhibits Ming Dynasty designs from the 14th to the 17th century. The outside gardens include a colorful rose garden and a spectacular alpine garden.
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts: Montreal's most prominent museum has been developing its fine arts collection for more than 150 years. Celebrate an remarkable collection of Canadian and foreign paintings, including paintings by famous artists such as Rembrandt, El Greco, Renoir, Cézanne and Fareotrips. Other notable museum collections include 18th-century English porcelain, World War I objects and a variety of exquisite pieces of furniture crafted by Frank Gehry.
Jean-Talon Market: In a world populated by over-refrigerated, fluorescently lit stores, the Jean-Talon Market is practically a breath of fresh air and one of the biggest public markets in North America. Located a block or two away from Boulevard Saint-Laurent (accessible from the Jean-Talon metro station of the Blue Line), this open-air market is full of aromas of grilled sausages, Quebec cheeses, new vegetables, home-grown spices and hand-made chocolates.
The great season to visit Montreal is from March to May and from September to November, when the weather is milder and hotel vacancies run smoothly. But apart from the fluctuating prices, you're going to figure out that there's almost no wrong time for a holiday here. Hot summer temperatures make exploring on foot even more fun, while the heated tunnels of the Underground City offer shelter during the winter. If you're drawn to a temperate summer, make sure to book in advance: Montreal hosts a variety of famous festivals season.
Area: 431.5 km²
Population: 17.8 lakhs (2017) United Nations
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