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Short getaways in Montréal – 17th-century French architecture, street cafés and an evening river cruise

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Discover historic French Canada and lively bistros on a short getaway in Montréal. Book a Montréal hotel and see the best of the city following this inspiring itinerary.

Montréal short getaway day one, morning

After leaving your Montréal hotel, head toward Mount Royal Park for an early morning walk. Stroll down an avenue of maples on kilometers of crisscrossing footpaths, past manicured lawns and lush flower beds, en route to the summit, where a cross has marked the peak since 1643. Relax on the terrace of the stone Mount Royal Chalet and watch the slow-moving St. Lawrence River wend past Old Montréal and the modern city below you.

Start: Mount Royal Park
Nearest metro Mont-Royal

Afternoon

It’s a quick metro ride to Old Montréal, where French explorers arrived in 1642. Lunch at a sidewalk café on lively Place Jacques-Cartier before exploring the city’s oldest streets. Narrow, cobblestone lanes lead to the soaring neoGothic towers of Notre-Dame Basilica and the exquisite Chapel of Notre-Dame-de-Bonsecours. Walk past the Old Seminary, Montréal’s oldest building dating back to 1685, before heading to the city’s historical and archaeological museum, Pointe-à-Callière, located at the very site where the French first landed.

Start: Old Montréal
Nearest metro Place d’Armes

Evening

Admire Montréal on board a cruise of the St. Lawrence River. After departing from King Edward Quay, Croisières AML travels slowly downriver with picture-postcard views of Old Montréal, the Old Port and Mount Royal beyond. Time your cruise to coincide with dinner, arrange a sunset cruise or choose a late-night fireworks cruise.

Start: St. Lawrence River Cruise
Nearest metro Place d’Armes

Montréal short getaway day two, morning

After breakfast, survey Montréal’s finest artworks at the Museum of Fine Arts. International masterpieces find space here, but visitors often trace Montréal’s journey from 17th-century French outpost to modern Canadian metropolis through the museum’s paintings, sculpture and decorative arts. Be sure to see Paul Kane’s photographs of First Peoples and sweeping, forested Canadian landscapes by the Group of Seven artists.

Start: Montréal Museum of Fine Arts
Nearest metro Guy-Concordia 

Afternoon

The soaring 271-meter Olympic Tower stands at the center of Olympic Park, built to host the 1976 Olympic games. A lift transports visitors to three observation floors atop the tower for views of Old Montréal, Mount Royal and the St. Lawrence River, snaking off to the east. You can finish the afternoon with a guided tour of the stadium. Or make the short walk to the lush, manicured Montréal Botanical Garden

Start: Olympic Park 
Nearest metro Viao 

Evening

Finish your short getaway in Montréal with a visit to the vibrant neighborhood of Plateau Mont-Royal. Diners feast under umbrella tables on lively outdoor patios, sampling Québécois specialties: grilled rabbit, apple cider, fresh-fruit pies and fluffy maple mousses. If you’re not tired yet, linger in Plateau Mont-Royal for a dose of its buzzing night life, including spicy tango clubs and fashionable martini bars. 

Start: Plateau Mont-Royal 
Nearest metro Sherbrooke