Be prepared for a very French ambience to a city where English is largely secondary to French, even though virtually everyone speaks both languages fluently. All road signs are in French so a smattering of the language would be useful for those hiring vehicles. Montréal is like a European city in North America and business meetings are conducted with the former being the dominant ideology.
Away from the big chain hotels, the St-Martin Particulier (www.lestmartin.com) is a medium-sized option relatively new to Montréal’s portfolio. It’s located in the heart of downtown close to plenty of businesses and convention facilities and, at 123 rooms, it's big enough to offer a bar and restaurant. It also offers free-of-charge wired and wireless internet access.
In a city overflowing with great restaurants the choice is endless, but Le Local is an interesting blend of old and new. Located in the heart of Old Montréal in a traditonal building, its interior comprises edgy brick, glass and steel. The menu is modern French with some very North American desserts. The restaurant prides itself on its extensive wine list and award-winning sommelier.
Montreal has no shortage of these either so it might seem strange to suggest a hotel bar – an InterContinental at that – but the boutique feel of the newly renovated Montréal hotel is atypical. Even less typical is the Sarah B (Bernhardt) Absinthe Bar, the only hotel bar to serve the liquor with all the theatrical paraphernalia it demands.
Air Canada offers daily two-class flights between London Heathrow and Montréal-Pierre Elliott International Airport. British Airways also operates daily on the route.
The L’Aerobus Shuttle runs between the Montréal–Trudeau Airport and downtown Montréal on the half hour in both directions between 09.00 and 21.00. Outside these times, it departs on the hour in both directions. Cabs are plentiful and reasonably priced taking around 35 minutes to downtown outside rush hours.
The province of Québec is Canada’s largest. Its major cities are Montréal and Québec. Winters can be cold but summers can be hot, much more so than the UK. See: www.bonjourquebec.com.
Pointe-à-Callière, the Montréal Museum of Archaelogy and History is built right over the remains of the birthplace of Montréal and is a great place to get a real feel of the city’s Anglo-French development. The multimedia show projected above the ruins is the icing on the cake of an hour or two well spent.
“Québec law includes ‘the fundamental right of every person to have all firms doing business in Québec communicate with him or her in French’, but rest assured that virtually everyone speaks good English although a nod to your schoolboy/girl French will be well received.”