Canada has tons of instantly likable cities, but the Franco-capital of Montréal is positively bewitching; the city has a huge student population due to the city’s McGill and UQAM universities, so the city maintains a youthful vibe while still being one of the most interesting historical spots in North America. You will undoubtedly end up at some point in Old Montreal, home to caricature-drawers, cobblestone streets, and the Cirque de Solei practice area; it’s very touristy but there are some good restaurants. Taking a peek at the “underground city” that connects the Old area of town to its business district is worth a poke, but it’s basically a big train station/shopping center underground, as Montréal’s winters are pretty rough and people prefer shopping indoors when it’s cold. Be sure, by the way, if you’re using the city’s metro services in the winter, to note that all of them – except for the one with the Paris-gifted/like archway, have indoor entrances to prevent folks from slipping on icy stairs. Quartier Latin is a really hip spot and has some of the best restaurants and cheap-but-fun hotels, and it’s close to the city’s super-fun gay district and neighborhoods, Le Village. Parc du Mont-Royal and Parc Jean-Drapeau are both worth visits if you’re looking for some nature or… gambling. Montréal is extremely walkable, and getting out to Atwater Market in the southwest area of town or Mile End isn’t difficult with the city’s easy metro and bus services. And don’t worry – everyone speaks both French and English, but trying your hand at some basic French phrases never hurts. There’s something for everyone in Montréal, a true big city that feels more like a charming French town than the arts (there is art everywhere – walls, sidewalks, installations in neighborhoods), culture, and culinary capital that it is; bon voyage!
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