Framed by dark blue rivers and wispy skies, the sophisticated skyline of Montreal, Canada's second-largest city, is a twinkling stretch of light and color come nightfall, a sunshine-brightened urban center by day. The murmur of French and English easily exchanged in the course of any conversation lends the place a decidedly foreign air, and a rich mix of cultural sights and sounds do nothing to detract from this image.
While no one would argue against the merits of Montreal's crisp silhouette at sunset, the heart of the city is best explored on foot. Whether you're wandering up through the verdant greenery of Parc du Mont Royal for views over the city, the streets of artsy Plateau Mont-Royal or Little Italy, Montreal is a diverse blend of sensations, from cuisine to cozy streets and chic cultural shindigs. For visitors after a bit of people watching, Old Port is the place to start. Lining one stretch of the St Lawrence River, the path here serves as a playground for locals and visitors alike, whether you're after an easy stroll, a bit of skating or a leisurely peddle. Those fancying a bit of time on the water can board a cruise here for a new perspective on the city.
It could take the discerning traveler several days just to peruse the many museums ? with an exhibition range that reaches from historical artifacts and art to archaeology, ecology and zoology ? there's certainly something for everyone. No tour would be complete without a glimpse of famous landmark Notre-Dame Basilica or the interior of Marie-Reine-du-Monde, a smaller version of Rome's St. Peter's.
If you landed in Montreal unprepared for its sophisticated airs, sort out your wardrobe with a day of shopping at edgy boutiques and sleek shops. Thus suitably suited-up for a night on the town, take in opera, live jazz, wonderfully diverse ethnic eats and a range of going-out opportunities.
Montreal is 168 miles southwest of Quebec City and 335 miles from Toronto, Ontario.