The historic heart of Montréal, Old Montréal hugs the northern bank of the St. Lawrence River. Rue Notre-Dame forms the spine of this 17th-century neighborhood of cobbled lanes, neoGothic cathedrals and candlelit restaurants. Immediately north of the historic center, Downtown Montréal hosts the city’s cultural highlights. This is where to stay in Montréal to be near McGill University or Montréal’s museums and performing arts, including the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts and the Place des Arts. Fine-dining restaurants serve Québécois specialties as well as global cuisine. Transportation from downtown to the rest of Montréal is convenient by taxi, metro and the Underground Pedestrian Network, a maze of subterranean pathways packed with shops, markets, hotels and restaurants.
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The Village, also called The Gay Village, is located just east of downtown and marks the vibrant center of one of North America’s largest gay communities. Stretching along Sainte-Catherine Street, this is a pleasant neighborhood for daytime walks, café stops and quirky shopping. The Village is known for its edgy, after-hours entertainment, crazy night life and easygoing life style. The metro’s rainbow-colored Beaudry station makes transport to the rest of Montréal quick and easy.
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Northeast of downtown, Plateau Mont-Royal is the place to book your Montréal hotel if you want stylish shopping, sidewalk cafés, buzzing night life and lots of dining options. In the summer borrow a free bike from the Place Gérald-Godin metro. Peruse the one-of-a- kind boutiques and independent restaurants on du Mont-Royal Avenue, or relax with a good book at Parc Lafontaine. West of the Plateau and north of downtown, the Latin Quarter steps up the boutique shopping and dining scene a notch. Designer shops sell the haut couture clothing and must-have handbags at shops along Saint-Denis Street.
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Set on the south side of the St. Lawrence River, Longueuil lies just a few metro stops from Old Montréal, downtown and Plateau Mont-Royal, but without the noise and frenzy of the city center. The Université de Sherbrooke means a good variety of value-priced restaurants and first-rate coffee shops. Longueuil is within easy access of Parc Jean-Drapeau, with its outdoor recreation and summer evening fireworks shows. Nearby is the elegant Casino de Montréal.
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Across the Prairie River from Montréal proper, Laval lies north of downtown. A quiet residential community, Laval prides itself on its natural beauty. The Parc de la Rivière-des-Mille- Îles, at the heart of town, is popular with canoeists, kayakers and birders, while the prime attractions of Montréal are easily accessible via three Laval metro stops.
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