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Old 04-18-2013, 11:43 AM   #1
luvavacation
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More time in Montreal or Quebec City? Never been to either!

From the Community Board, if that is ok!

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I am planning a road trip for DH and I. We have decided to do a circle from IL to NY to Quebec province to Toronto then back to IL. I was born in Toronto and still have friends there, so knowing what to do there is easy (and they all prefer western Canada, so no help there!). I have never been to Quebec City nor Montreal as an adult, and don't know how much time to devote in either of those cities to sight-seeing. I have two full days for one, three for the other. Which city warrants more time?

If it helps, my French is very, very rusty. I understand Montreal is more bilingual, whereas Quebec City is more French speaking. I have 4 months to brush up on some conversational French, so at least I shall know how to find a toilet, but not much else! Will not being able to communicate in French make Quebec City too hard to get around in?

DH and I like interesting architecture. We have great museums in the Chicago area, so museums aren't high on the list, but if there is something amazing, we are game.

I like shopping. DH does not. He can nap in the room while I shop. Which city has the most French feel to their stores? I like shopping for items that are from the local area, not made in China. Is one city better than the other for local artisans?

If it helps, the plan for hotels is the Fairmont Frontenac in Quebec City and I am not sure, maybe the Ritz for Montreal. They both seem to be in great locations, but I am not sure which city to spend the most time in to really make the trip worthwhile.

Oh, and this is for our 25th anniversary, so the city that exudes more romantic charm might be nice for the extra day. It is just that both Montreal and Quebec City look wonderful, and I need input. Help?
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Old 04-18-2013, 12:29 PM   #2
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Caught this on the Community Board. And agreed with Mommasita's thoughts about how to break up your trip as far as days.

Been to both numerous times. Both would be a fantastic trip. Don't worry about language. Yes Quebec (city) is more francophone but they're used to Anglophones coming over and many people are bilingual. Both are beautiful and unique. In Montreal you can't go wrong with Old Montreal, Crescent Street, Chinatown, shops on St. Denis/St. Catherine/St. Laurent. Going to the Port. Mount Royal to see the views. I used to love Prince Arthur but I haven't been in years and I've heard that there are some closures now. But it's a pedestrian street - LOVE that in any city. I enjoy NDG neighbourhood (not downtown). Quebec City - if you stay in the old town - it's simply like being transplanted out of North America. https://www.google.ca/search?q=old+t...w=1024&bih=679 With any city - I love just to walk and explore. I do that in NYC all the time. Just walk and jump on a subway and explore. Local artisans are in both cities - Old Town (Quebec) and Old Montreal.

But I have an alternative just to make your head hurt. Listen, the drive from Montreal to Toronto is BORING. Capital B boring. That is not to say that there aren't some beautiful towns on the route. There are but the 401 makes it totally tedious. I've done it so many times - went to university in Quebec and have friends there.

So I would suggest you choose either Montreal or Quebec (city) (or both if you have time) and look into going to the Eastern Townships of Quebec as an alternative route back or on the way out. http://www.easterntownships.org/

There are a myriad of beautiful towns and GORGEOUS scenery. Absolutely breathtaking drive. One lovely town on a lake is North Hatley. They have some wonderful historic inns and BBs there. And lovely stores and antiques.

Here's one - Hovey Manor http://www.tripadvisor.ca/Hotel_Revi...ey_Quebec.html

Why?

Well I find - although it adds many hours to your drive - the drive down from this area crossing into (or opposite choice) VT and NY state just wonderful. Seeing the city - Burlington VT or visiting Stowe or other nice areas. Crossing Lake Champlain (gorgeous crossing) - or short crossing and driving the Lake Champlain Islands. Going through the Lake Placid/Adirondacks area and up into a lovely area of Ontario - Thousand Islands area - Gananoque - Kingston. The crossing here is into Ontario is so peaceful. And then onto Toronto where you only have two and half hours of boring drive. But once again lovely towns along the 401- you just can't see them unless you go down to highway 2/Thousand Islands Parkway.

Strange that a Canadian would add some US sites when you want to see here but I've done MTL to TO so many times and it could lull one to sleep and the Eastern Townships of Quebec is a little known beauty.
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Old 04-18-2013, 02:33 PM   #3
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I also found this on the Community Board and figured I'd weigh in here.

We honeymooned in Canada 15 years ago. We flew to Montreal, took the Via Rail to Quebec City and then to Halifax. We had three days in Montreal, two in Quebec City and 2 in Halifax.

Quebec City was absolutely beautiful. And we stayed in the Frontenac - the Van Horne suite no less. We had no idea how famous it was. We booked the whole thing through the travel agent and did not get super nice rooms in either of the other cities. When we walked into that suite, I thought I was going to die. It was bigger than our apartment at the time!

For our 10th anniversary, we were going to go back and try to stay in the Van Horne suite and *that's* when we realized how truly special it was. We figured they gave us that room because I had left my camera with all our honeymoon pictures on the train and was crying at the check-in desk. I still can't believe we stayed there. You have to pay to even tour that room!

We walked a lot of Montreal and of Quebec City and by far Quebec City was our favorite. We knew no French (except for what I could remember from high school) and it was very easy to get around. Everybody speaks English and even when I'd say "bon jour" they'd answer back in English because of my poor accent.

There was more to do in Montreal but for romance, Quebec City would win. So beautiful!!
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Old 04-18-2013, 03:59 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swea_pea1 View Post
Everybody speaks English and even when I'd say "bon jour" they'd answer back in English because of my poor accent.


Quebec City wins for me!
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Old 04-18-2013, 04:06 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by swea_pea1 View Post
Everybody speaks English and even when I'd say "bon jour" they'd answer back in English because of my poor accent.

Quebec City would win. So beautiful!!
So funny on the bold. The story of my life in university. I got "I speak English you know" more times that I can tell you because they had no patience for my French which I was dying to speak.

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Originally Posted by Ted in Halifax View Post


Quebec City wins for me!
You know - with my picture links - my memory of my stays (usually drunk ones! Oh bonhomme ) and the above post I think I change my mind and Quebec City would be my top choice for simple "take me away" feeling. I want to go now. Smiling.

But seriously consider Eastern Townships on the way there or back.
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Old 04-18-2013, 05:26 PM   #6
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Have to second the idea of taking a day or two to tour the Eastern Townships. The town of Magog is just over an hours drive from Montreal on Autoroute 10. There are lots of great places to stay and eat. There are boat tours of Lake Memphremagog. From there you can head to Vermont and visit the Ben & Jerry plant near Stowe. Keep heading west to Burlington. Then the ferry ride across Lake Champlain tp Plattsburgh NY. You have several routes from there back into Canada. A stop in Gananoque Ontario on your way to Toronto would probably be worthwhile.
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Old 04-18-2013, 09:03 PM   #7
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Lived in Montreal for 6 months but Quebec City would be my pick. I'm not sure coming from Chicago you will find Montreal especially unique. The first time I stayed at Fairmont Frontenac it was called Chateau Frontenac. That was when I was a kid. Many years ago!
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Old 04-18-2013, 09:17 PM   #8
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Ahh, just as I feared, many more suggestions on places to see and experience! I love it! Thank you!!

And I am glad to hear the positives regarding the Frontenac! I saw pictures of it years ago as a young girl, and have wanted to stay there ever since. I figured this was as good a time as any!

So for romance factor, QC seems to be concensus on the place for an extra day. Perhaps with a side trip for a night somewhere in Eastern Townships thrown in, as mentioned earlier. Oh yes, this is going to be fun. I just love discovering new places, and I do appreciate all your recommendations.

I do have a question brought up regarding the drive from Montreal to Toronto, and it's boring factor. Forgive me, I have not looked at depth on a map, but are there side roads that also go through if I decide not to take the highway? This trip isn't about getting somewhere as fast as possible (unlike when we drive to Disney, then it is all about speed!), but rather experiencing something new together. After all, it is 25 years, we need some new things to talk about! If off the beaten path holds great adventure, then off we go!

Thanks again!
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Old 04-18-2013, 09:27 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by LSmith View Post
Lived in Montreal for 6 months but Quebec City would be my pick. I'm not sure coming from Chicago you will find Montreal especially unique. The first time I stayed at Fairmont Frontenac it was called Chateau Frontenac. That was when I was a kid. Many years ago!
It still is (well it is the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac) - the just added Fairmont in front of them all (e.g. Fairmont Chateau Laurier and Fairmont Royal York).

http://www.fairmont.com/frontenac-quebec/

I love both cities (was born in Montreal and lived there as a child and continue to visit often), but there really is something special about Quebec City.
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Old 04-18-2013, 09:29 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by luvavacation View Post
Ahh, just as I feared, many more suggestions on places to see and experience! I love it! Thank you!!

And I am glad to hear the positives regarding the Frontenac! I saw pictures of it years ago as a young girl, and have wanted to stay there ever since. I figured this was as good a time as any!

So for romance factor, QC seems to be concensus on the place for an extra day. Perhaps with a side trip for a night somewhere in Eastern Townships thrown in, as mentioned earlier. Oh yes, this is going to be fun. I just love discovering new places, and I do appreciate all your recommendations.

I do have a question brought up regarding the drive from Montreal to Toronto, and it's boring factor. Forgive me, I have not looked at depth on a map, but are there side roads that also go through if I decide not to take the highway? This trip isn't about getting somewhere as fast as possible (unlike when we drive to Disney, then it is all about speed!), but rather experiencing something new together. After all, it is 25 years, we need some new things to talk about! If off the beaten path holds great adventure, then off we go!

Thanks again!
Um, no. Sorry, there is nothing to see by prolonging the already long boring drive. Take the fastest highway which will take at least 5 and a half hours. Nothing to see on the way.

Keep in mind, Montreal during rush hour traffic is the absolute worst! You could seriously end up sitting in one spot for a couple of hours. Time your entrance and exit carefully.
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Old 04-18-2013, 09:31 PM   #11
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It still is (well it is the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac) - the just added Fairmont in front of them all (e.g. Fairmont Chateau Laurier and Fairmont Royal York).

http://www.fairmont.com/frontenac-quebec/

I love both cities (was born in Montreal and lived there as a child and continue to visit often), but there really is something special about Quebec City.
Yes, I know that but most people refer to it as the Fairmont now. My mother was a manager at Chateau Halifax for years so we visited many before Fairmont bought it.
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Old 04-18-2013, 09:41 PM   #12
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Yes, I know that but most people refer to it as the Fairmont now. My mother was a manager at Chateau Halifax for years so we visited many before Fairmont bought it.
I see. No one I know uses the "Fairmont" when referring to it (or any of the old CP hotels, for that matter).

Never actually heard of the Chateau Halifax - off to check it out.
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Old 04-18-2013, 09:51 PM   #13
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I see. No one I know uses the "Fairmont" when referring to it (or any of the old CP hotels, for that matter).

Never actually heard of the Chateau Halifax - off to check it out.
yeah same here the only people who call the Royal York the Farmon are tourists.
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Old 04-18-2013, 09:51 PM   #14
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I see. No one I know uses the "Fairmont" when referring to it (or any of the old CP hotels, for that matter).

Never actually heard of the Chateau Halifax - off to check it out.
It's now called the Delta Halifax. My mother was one of the first managers when it opened and stayed there until she was too ill to continue,around 1986 ish.

Back when it was Chateau Halifax it was quite posh for its time - orange curtains and all. All of the "rock stars" (Rush, April Wine, Loverboy, Kiss), and dignitaries stayed there. In the early 80"s I was making 10 bucks an hour to babysit rich kids at the hotel! Unheard of when the rest of city was paying $1.00 an hour.
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Old 04-18-2013, 10:02 PM   #15
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yeah same here the only people who call the Royal York the Farmon are tourists.
Not sure about that. My husband is over 50, born, raised and works in downtown Toronto and refers to it as the Fairmont Royal York.
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