Montreal - and a little of Quebec City, Part 1
I first visited Montreal when I was 13 with my parents for Expo 67. It was big, fabulous, amazing - Habitat, the Buckminster Fuller dome, Man and his World, wonderful and diverse food. I remember staying way out of town, though I don't remember exactly where, terrifying taxi rides and the excellent Metro.
I didn't return at all for forty years, until I was studying in Montpelier, Vermont at what is now the Vermont College of Fine Arts and was then Vermont College of Norwich University, and later when I taught music for a year in Vermont schools and lived in Vergennes on Lake Champlain - a very short trip to Montreal. That's when I fell in love with the city. It has everything that I'm seeking in a city: fascinating history, extremely specific neighborhoods, rich cultural life, varied ethnic groups that come together and maintain their individuality in interesting ways, the still-excellent Metro and, most of all, the warmest, most hospitable people I've ever met anywhere.
Montreal has a variety of good lodging options, from excellent hotels, comfortable B&B's, great short-term rentals and some very inexpensive hostels. I especially like Auberge de la Fontaine, a small, cozy B&B in the Plateau, with great breakfast included and quite easy parking, some lovely rooms overlooking the Parc LaFontaine. There are good short-term rentals that are very reasonable. I recommend looking for ones that are owned by a person who lives there or nearby, and definitely not the big, very impersonal (though inexpensive) condos.
FAVORITE THINGS TO SEE AND DO
Notre Dame Basilica
St Joseph Oratoire, Mont Royal
Marche Jean Talon
Marche Atwater & Lachine Canal
Montreal Botanical Garden
Musee Beaux Arts Montreal / Fine Arts Museum
Contemporary Art Museum
Orchestre Symphonique Montreal