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Montreal & Quebec City with a child

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PA
posts: 16
reviews: 10
Montreal & Quebec City with a child

We will be visiting Montreal & Quebec City in Oct with our 11 yr old daughter and would welcome recommendations on lodging, restaurants, and sight seeing. We have a modest budget but would want something clean and safe. Thanks for any information.

West Grey, Ontario
Destination Expert
for Toronto, TripAdvisor Support
posts: 58,720
reviews: 71
1. Re: Montreal & Quebec City with a child

Hi PAfamilyfun;

As Quebec City is approx. 157 miles / 253 km from Montreal, I would suggest posting your query about Quebec City on that city's forum.

tripadvisor.ca/ShowForum-g155033-i134-Quebec…

Just a reminder…citizens of the United States require one of the following to cross the border by land.

• U.S. Passport

• U.S. Passport Card

• Enhanced Driver’s License (EDL)

• Trusted Traveler Program Card

Kids 15 and under just need their birth certificates.

If flying you MUST have a passport.

For complete details;

http://www.knowyourborder.gov/

Best Regards

PA
posts: 16
reviews: 10
2. Re: Montreal & Quebec City with a child

Done. Thank you.

West Grey, Ontario
Destination Expert
for Toronto, TripAdvisor Support
posts: 58,720
reviews: 71
3. Re: Montreal & Quebec City with a child

You're Welcome !

Montreal
Destination Expert
for Montreal
posts: 4,533
4. Re: Montreal & Quebec City with a child

Safety is no problem here, even in the rougher-looking neighbourhoods, so you can strike that off your list of criteria :)

First up: an overview. Most hotels in Montréal are downtown (high rises, shopping, busy, very much like any downtown anywhere but remains lively at night) or Old Montréal (boutique hotels in old renovated buildings, narrow streets, very pretty and romantic). For budget, the outer edges of downtown have the most choice, either out by the Crescent party strip (which is the largest nightclub area but also quite mainstream) or the Latin Quarter (which is more French with cafés and bars and pubs, fewer dance clubs, and is quite a poor neighbourhood with homeless and junkies and such but remains perfectly safe). There are also B&Bs found throughout the inner neighbourhoods -- say, the Village (caters to gay clientèle) or the Plateau (a beautiful, hip, interesting gem of a neighbourhood).

For specifics off the top of my head: Holiday Inn Select / Candlewood Suites (both have kitchens so you could visit the Jean Talon market and make dinner, for example); Château de l'Argoat; ITHQ on the east side; Comfort Inn, Cantlie Suites on the west site; les Passants de Sans Soucy in Old Montréal.

Another idea: since Montréal's a great city for a bidding site such as hotwire.com where you can get great deals but don't know exactly where. Montréal's fairly compact, easy to get around by transit, and has interesting mixed throughout its urban fabric, so it actually doesn't make a huge difference where you end up, unless you pick something out by the airport of course (ick).

For restaurants: Montréal's a real foodie city, so you'll have to give us more to go on to point you in the right direction. A few budget suggestions: Pho Bang New York in Chinatown, Bangkok in the Faubourg Sainte-Catherine (fast food but delicious Pad Thai), l'Académie for italian bring-your-own-wine, Chez Doval for Portuguese bring-your-own-wine; Lallouz in the Village or Little Italy for kebabs and little salads yum yum yum.

For sightseeing: gosh. Again, give us more to go on. There's the tour bus that will give you a great overview of the major attractions, such as Old Montréal and will also take you out to the Olympic Stadium where the botanical gardens, Biodôme (a small zoo, really), and the insectarium are. There are walking guides available from the Infotouriste centres (one downtown, the other in Old Montréal by City Hall); the islands in the middle of the river are very nice parks with views of the city and the Casino; for shopping, Saint-Denis - Saint-Laurent - Mont Royal are all great streets with little boutiques and such, or downtown for malls and more chain stores. Lots of churches to see.

I say check out the Things to Do section and get a better idea, and then come back with more questions and we'll help make your trip the best it can be :)

PA
posts: 16
reviews: 10
5. Re: Montreal & Quebec City with a child

We would love to show our daughter the European impact on Montreal's architecture and food. it seems that 'Old Montreal' might be a good choice if it's not too liberal as we are a very conservative family. As for restaurants, we'd love to take our daughter somewhere child friendly that serves traditional french food perhaps even at lunch instead of dinner. If my memory is correct dinner is an all evening event in Montreal and i want to make sure that she remains well behaved. Perhaps some suggestions on motels that have a French restaurant on the premises. Any information is appreciated as we plan our trip to this beautiful city.

Quebec
Destination Expert
for Mont Tremblant
posts: 7,751
reviews: 18
6. Re: Montreal & Quebec City with a child

There is nothing in the Old Port that could offend anyone's sensibilities.

There are stretches of Ste Catherine Street that might bring up some interesting discussions though. Various strip club and peep shows to be exact.

Montreal, Canada
Destination Expert
for Montreal
posts: 3,269
reviews: 37
7. Re: Montreal & Quebec City with a child

Old Montreal would indeed be good for you and your family. If you want a kitchen you could lookup Embassy Suites or Springhill Suites. If you aren't that keen on having a kitchen, then there are many more choices offered to you, it all depends on your price range.

Tristou's comment about bidding sites is correct. Montreal is indeed quite compact, and if you remain in the Downtown or ld Montreal area, there is no "dead zone". You can use sites such as betterbidding to help get a pretty accurate guess as to what hotel you would end up with on a blind bid, because you do see the star ratings and amneties listed.

In a general sense, i recommend you do NOT eat in Old Montreal. The restaurants there are obscenely expensive and the food is bad. They take advantage of the tourism, just like any big city. There are a few exceptions, but some do not allow minors (eg. Garde Manger) because of they may have a particular liquor licence.

For typical french food i would recommend:

-Olive et Gourmando for lunch. Fantastic bistro.

-Saint-Hubert, a local rotissery chain that has become quite iconic in Montreal. They are VERY good with children, and the food is inexpensive and decent (just don't compare it to a 5 star restaurant, duh!). Their speciality is chicken of course.

-Au Pied de cochon serves high end Quebecois/French inspired food. Star chef Martin Picard is now away doing his Food network show but the cuisine is still very good. Beware it is not good for your diet. Your child will enjoy the foie gras poutine. This place can get expensive, and reservations are highly recommended for weekends.

-Lemeac serves french cuisine. You can go for either brunch, lunch or supper. The food is very good, and the setting is nice. The street they are on is packed with restaurants and interesting boutiques.

-Juliete et Chocolat. this place is mostly for desert, though they have dinner crepes. They have several locations, though my favorite is the new one on Saint-Laurent. Their speciality is crepes and chocolate. I suggest you share a plate because they are quite large.

-L'express. Typical, pure french bistro. I don't know how good they are with children but it is not a formal place so it should be fine. I recommend you make reservations for weekend nights, though it's not as bad as Au Pied de Cochon.

Montreal, Canada
Destination Expert
for Quebec, Montreal, Quebec City, Mont Tremblant, Miami, Miami Beach
posts: 10,446
reviews: 54
8. Re: Montreal & Quebec City with a child

For L'Express you must make reservations every nights as it is the hub of francophone intelligentsia. You will feel like having flown to France without the airfare and without the surly waiters as the staff is very nice and accomodating to children, particularly early in the evening. It is open non stop for lunch too but has not the same vibrant atmosphere then.

Lunch if you are here on a weekday and want to get French oriented food then Laurie Raphael should fit the bill. Not too expensive, the prices include appetizer and main course then but deserts are separate charge but if they have something with with pure maple sugar cotton candy then it will certainly be fun for your daughter. It is located downtown in an hotel so they are used to having families, at least for lunch.

As per restaurants in Old Montreal I agree to disagree with my esteemed colleague Silve, I find the restaurants around not so much more expensive than in other parts of town and there are great restaurants around. Some are more touristic oriented but still offering good quality and I know of only two real bad tourist traps: Giorgo and Vieille Fabrique de Spaghetti. For lunch one day while you are around you could try French/Brittany crèpes at Chez Suzette. This is kind of passé for Montrealers but it is usually a kind of French food that tourists likes.

Another concept in the same leagues would be fondues one night. For that La Fonderie on Rachel street (in the Plateau area, not Old Montreal) could certainly work, all kind from Swiss to Chinese to yummy chocolate for desserts. If you are early eaters you could actually combine that with a visit to the lookout on Mount-Royal (bus no 11 from the Mount-Royal métro / subway station) and walk around the Plateau and Lafontaine Park to see the typical Montréal triplexes with outdoor staircases.

Most hotels in Old Montreal are of the boutique/designer kind and thus have only one bed per room but a rollaway could certainly be had. Apart the two above mentioned suites another possibility would be Auberge du Vieux-Port. You could also check one special place downtown: Le Square Philips hotel, it is extremely kid friendly, every room is huge and includes a kitchenette and there is a supermarket just 3 blocks away. Considering the meal possibilities and the free breakfast included it can become affordable.

Montreal
Destination Expert
for Montreal
posts: 4,533
9. Re: Montreal & Quebec City with a child

Old Montréal is an excellent place to show of Montréal's more european influence in therms of architecture, although as Sylve684 mentions its good restaurants are the very expensive ones; Stash Café is good Polish food for less, and Le Titanic is a lunch counter that has delicious food, although not open for dinner.

In addition to the walking tours mentioned in the free guide, there is a $5-or-so brochure available from the Infotouriste Centre in Old Montréal that is much more in-depth with pictures and history and makes for a lovely souvenir. It's also available online at www.vieux.montreal.qc.ca/tour/eng/0cartea.htm although less convenient as you're walking around.

I honestly don't think you'll succeed in not stumbling across examples of Montréal more liberal approach to life -- rather like going to Calcutta and trying not to see poverty. Your safest bets would be Old Montréal (no sex shops or strip clubs there), the Botanical Gardens/Biodôme, the Mountain, and the Islands including La Ronde (but perhaps excluding the Casino, depending on what you define as liberal). Definitely avoid the east side of downtown completely, especially the gay village.

If you plan on seeing much more of the city, however, you'll find that undesirable bits are mixed throughout its urban fabric, not restricted to a certain "bad" area. For example, as you enjoy the lovely parks, you may smell people smoking things other than tobacco -- it's illegal, but tolerated; similarly, people will be walking across against red lights or jay-walking -- easier to accept perhaps but still illegal but tolerated. As you explore the streets of Old Montréal or the beautiful Plateau neighbourhood, you will see homeless and beggars, and the afore-mentioned Sainte Catherine street, which happens to be Montréal's main shopping street, has the occasional sex shop and strip club sandwiched between fashionable boutiques and restaurants and cafés and such.

Although it's none of my business, given that you will run into SOME of these things no matter what you do, I'd suggest a different approach, which is to explain to your daughter that one of the reasons we travel is for new experiences, which means seeing lots of new things and different ways of living and different values. Many we will find charming and will like, but others we won't agree with and some may even shock us. It will make for very interesting dinner conversation as she tries to make sense of what she sees, but with your guidance, I'm sure she can her keep her values even when faced with others who don't -- surely a very good lesson in life, no?

Edited: 3:18 pm, September 26, 2011
Montreal, Canada
Destination Expert
for Montreal
posts: 3,269
reviews: 37
10. Re: Montreal & Quebec City with a child

I guess my general rule: Don't eat in Old Montreal unless you have a very specific restaurant recommendation from a trusted source.