This section is meant to offer you a general presentation of the city of Montreal and to give you some hints on what you can do during your free time in the city.
Montreal is recognized for being the encounter of North America and Europe. This predominantly French-speaking city is paced by the passing of seasons and the long and cold winter obligates Montrealers to fully enjoy their summer. That is why, during the summer, Montreal lets herself go to the rhythm of many festivals and the city is permeated by a festive atmosphere of conviviality.
Weather: The summer is Montreal is generally sunny, hot and humid. Temperature tends to stay between 25 and 30oC, with some rainy days. (www.meteomedia.com)
Getting around : In general, places you will want to see and visit are close one from the other. Therefore, it is generally easy to get around by foot. Public transportation (subway and buses) is well organized, easy to understand, with frequent service and it will bring you everywhere you need to go. There is no security problem in Montreal.
International Jazz Festival of Montréal, 30th ed.
The 30th edition of the Jazz Festival will start on July 1st and will last until July 12th. During this festival, the city of festivals transforms itself into the universal heart of music! The biggest musical event in the world offers a program reflecting the image of Montreal, multicultural and festive!
This Festival is not meant only for jazz lovers, ensuring that everyone will find something he likes, as every year many musical icons heat up the city with their concerts. There are a lot of indoor concerts (in general, you have to pay for those), but there is also more than 300 completely free, outdoor shows. This traditional celebration of music lasts 11 days, from noon to midnight, right at the center of Montreal, in a huge block closed to traffic lying a few minutes away from UQAM.
The Festival offers you the chance to dive deep into jazz or to discover other types of music, such as blues, latin jazz, world music or more contemporary forms of music. For more information, please consult the official website :
Parts of the city worth visiting
Here is a listing the quarters of the city that are worth visiting.
Quartier latin (French Quarter):
This is the part of the city where UQAM is. It is called the French Quarter because of its busy nightlife and because of its French atmosphere, coming from the various restaurants, bars and terraces… It is the center of the city’s French community nightlife.
Official site of the Quartier Latin :
Vieux-Montréal(Old Montreal) :
The oldest part of the city is where you will get most of the European flavor of Montreal. Architecture is impressive and the old port has a huge park with a lot of activities and museums, but you can also chose to hang out in this park to simply rest.
Old Montreal Web Site
Old Harbor of Montreal :
This is the business center of Montreal, where you will get most of the North American flavor of the city. Downtown is where you might be attracted to one of the many boutiques, which in general worth the price, especially for Europeans! This part of the city also hosts a lot of museums and the famous McGill University campus, Canada’s most prestigious University. Downtown is also where you will find the Place-Des-Arts, a typical contemporary building, around which the Jazz Festival takes place. Further west, you will find Crescent Street, the heart of the city’s English-speaking community nightlife.
Destination centre-ville :
Place des arts :
The Main (St-Laurent Boulevard):
This mythical street starts at the old port and goes up north on the island of Montreal. The street has a lot to say on Montreal’s history and evolution. Starting from this street, if you go west, Montreal is generally English-speaking, and if you go east, you are where most of the French-speaking majority of the city lives. With a lively and festive nightlife, St-Laurent Boulevard also reflects the multiethnic aspect of the city, with, for example, a Chinese quarter, an Italian quarter and a Portuguese quarter. You will also find on this street a lot of original and hip boutiques.
Boulevard St-Laurent Web Site :
Ste-Hélène and Notre-Dame Islands :
A great escape from the city, the huge Parc Jean-Drapeau is a park made of 2 islands, very close to the island of Montreal, yet, so green and quiet that you will feel like your much more farther from the city. This park was inaugurated in 1967 in order to host the Universal Exposition. This is where you will also find Montreal’s Casino, the Fromula-1 racing track «Gilles Villeneuve», an amusement park («LaRonde») as well as other museums and activities. Every Sunday, you can dance in open air to the sound of electronic music at the weekly held pik-niks electroniks.
The Casino of Montreal :
La Ronde :
Biosphère (Environment museum) :
Electronic Pik-nik :
Parc Jean-Drapeau :
Le Mont-Royal(Mount Royal) :
Sitting in the middle of the island of Montreal, this hill is (more a hill than a mountain!), most of Montrealers see the Mont-Royal as the heart of the city. Suitable for healthy walks or bicycle rides, it is also a beautiful green park where life stops and where you can relax and socialize. It is worth visiting on Sunday afternoons, when youngsters and families gather around the statues to play and dance on the sound of improvised and informal percussion groups. Is there a better way to conclude your weekend?
Lafontaine Park :
At a 15 minutes walk away from UQAM, you will find another park where you will be able to really get the feeling of Montrealer’s way of living. Full of century-old trees, this park will also show you Montreal’s human flora in all its splendor.
Olympic Stadium, Maisonneuve Park and the Botanical Garden :
Many tourists are impressed with the Olympic Stadium, where Baseball team the Montreal’s Expos played for years. The stadium was built for the 1976 Olympic Games that took place in Montreal. After visiting the stadium, you might be interested to visit other Olympic installations. Close by, you will also find one of the city’s most beautiful park (parc Maisonneuve) as well as the Botanical Garden, famous for its Chinese Garden.
Museums and other tourist attractions :
Botanical Garden :
Montreal Insectarium :
The "Biodôme" :
Religious Patrimony :
Oratoire St-Joseph :
A beautiful church, showing Quebec’s catholic heritage.
Basilique Notre-Dame :
(another historical and beautiful church in the old part of the city)
Other museums. Montreal is rich in museums. Here are some of them :
Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal :
Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal :
Musée McCord d’Histoire canadienne :
Musée Juste pour rire :
Musée d’archéologie et d’histoire de Montréal Pointe-à-Callières :
Centre des sciences de Montréal :
Planétarium de Montréal :
Eating well in Montreal
Because of its European heritage, Montreal is a city where locals enjoy eating well. Since the city’s general cost of living is relatively low, you will be happy to find that you can eat very well without necessarily ruining yourself! Montreal is slowly designing its own culinary culture, but you will also be able to find restaurants serving food from everywhere in the world (Chinese, Caribbean, African, Portuguese, Italian, Mexican etc.). Just be careful: some of the most beautiful restaurants do not necessarily serve the best food… A lot of restaurants are catering mainly for tourists, so ask locals what they think are the good restaurants and you will find some hidden treasures of Montreal’s culinary scene. Following here are some of Montreal’s most famous and original restaurants.
Au pied de cochon :
Joe Beef :
Le Garde-Manger :
L’Entrecôte Saint-Jean :
Patati et Patata :
La Paryse :
Cabaret du Roy :
(Nouvelle-France setting and food)
La Maison Hantée :
(revolving restaurant with a view on the city)
Auberge du Dragon Rouge :
(Middle Age atmosphere and food)
To learn more about the variety of all the restaurants in Montreal, there is a very reliable guide, with critics, prices and many other search criteria available online at this address :
Here are some links that might help you to know the city better and to plan your stay in Montreal :
Official Site of the City :
Images of Montreal :
Weekly cultural journal :
Other festivals in Montreal held during the summer
Montréal est reconnue internationalement pour la qualité de ses festivals, qui connaissent depuis deux décennies un essor sans précédent. Ainsi, pour ceux qui arriveront un peu plus tôt ou qui resteront un peu plus longtemps à Montréal, voici d’autres festivals qui se tiennent durant l’été :
La fête Nationale du Québec
(Quebec’s Day), June 24th
(Alternative arts), from June 10th to 21st
Festival Présence autochtone
(arts from the Natives), from June 10th to 21st
(Celebration of Montreal’s Latin American and Caribbean communities), July 4th
Festival Juste pour rire
(Just for laughs), from July 16th to 26th :
Festival international Nuits d’Afrique
(African music and cinema), from July 16th to 26th
Les Francofolies de Montréal
(French music), from July 30th to August 9th
(Gay and lesbian), from July 29th to August 3rd
Festival MEG Montréal
(Alternative electronic music), from July 31st to August 3rd août
Festival Musique et arts Osheaga
(Rock culture, alternative music), from July 30th to August 2nd