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2 nights in Montreal & 2 in Mont Tremblant ??

Brisbane, Australia
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2 nights in Montreal & 2 in Mont Tremblant ??

Any advice appreciated on our stay in Montreal.

We are an Australian family with 2 young children (6 & 7). We will be visiting Montreal in early Jan 2008. We have a total of 4 nights but are driving from Stowe so I figure about 3 1/2 days sightseeing.

I was going to stay in Montreal and sightsee for 2 days and then spend 1 day driving to Mont Saveur and Mont Tremblant. Now I am thinking maybe we should drive to Mont Tremblant and spend 2 nights here and then 2 nights in Montreal City. We then head to Toronto.

Our climate is sub-tropical so we don't have snow in our city and are not skiers but we would like to try the sleigh rides, snow mobile, dog sledding (depending on cost) and would love to stay at the snow. Although Mont Tremblant seems very expensive. Is it worth the cost? It looks beautiful but photos always look deceiving. I would want to stay right in the Pedestrian Village. If so, can anyone recommend one of the hotels that isn't going to break the budget?

The places I have looked at in Montreal City are Le Roberval, Holiday Inn Express, Phillips Square Hotel. The Le Roberval seems like great value for a 2 bedroom place but I'm not sure if the location is "safe" with 2 young children. The other two places are the same price but only a one bedroom and for a 2 bedroom it is an extra $100 a night on top. We definitely need at least a 1 bedroom place (preferrably with some kind of cooking facility) as our children are difficult to get to sleep unless the room is dark.

Can anyone advise on these 3 hotels and their locations for safety. We don't really need to be centrally located because we will have a car and the children won't walk far anyway so we will have to drive and park.

The main things I want to see are in Old Montreal & Port, Mount Royal. I love shopping but if I don't have the time, then it doesn't really matter as I plan on shopping in other places in the US.

So my main questions are should we base ourselves in Montreal City and do the drive up to Mont Tremblant for the day but miss out on the experience of "staying" in the snow. Or should we do 2 nights there and 2 nights in Montreal?

Montreal
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1. Re: 2 nights in Montreal & 2 in Mont Tremblant ??

Hmm... well, of the three, Phillips Square Hotel is the best, in a better neighbourhood, right downtown. After that, I'd choose Holiday Inn Express over the Roberval any day.

In terms of safety: never know how to answer that question. Just what dangers are you expecting for your children? Montreal's a safe city, but it's a big city and rough around the edges, especially around the Holiday Inn Express and Roberval area, so if you don't want to see it, choose the Philips Square Hotel or take René-Levesque instead of Ste-Catherine if you choose the Holiday Inn Express.

But as you explore the city you won't be able to shield your children's eyes from urban decay, the homeless, punks, drunks, and general low-life, which are present even downtown and in beautiful Old Montreal for example. And Montreal has a rather lax attitude towards s*x, so there are strip clubs and a few s*x shops peppering Ste-Catherine street east to west -- but they're just part of the fabric, sandwiched between shoe shops, maternity shops, optometrists, sports clothing, cell phone vendors, restaurants and so on, so you may just walk by without noticing them, despite their neon signs. Some are even less discreet -- the one at the corner of Ste-Catherine and St-Laurent has a fuzzy projected silhouette of a naked woman dancing, so you may just want to avoid that intersection at night.

But aesthetics, social attitudes, and poverty are separate from safety. Again, Montreal's safe. It may look dangerous in places, but it's not. You won't be held up at gunpoint, the streets are safe with people out day and night, and your children won't be kidnapped and injected with drugs and sold into slavery. Just make sure they look the right way when crossing the street -- Montreal drivers are crazy.

I would plan to spend more time in Montreal than in Mont Tremblant. Mont Tremblant is very nice, but it definitely has an artificial disneyland feeling to it. Which is normal: that's what it is.

As for shopping, you can leave that for Toronto or the U.S., although if you just have to buy fancy French linens or food products, you'll find more here of course, and the boutiques along St-Denis and Mount Royal streets are great, although a lot more fun in the summer where you can just stroll slowly up and down people watching instead of rushing madly from one heated shop to another.

Toronto, ON
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2. Re: 2 nights in Montreal & 2 in Mont Tremblant ??

Allow me to provide you with some options... I now live in Toronto but was born and raised in Montreal.

Considering you aren't skiers, driving 2 hours to Mont Tremblant for a walk in the pedestrian village and some tubing isn't "time effective" in my opinion.

I would suggest that instead of Mont Tremblant, you head to Mont St. Sauveur. They have several tubing areas, a small village with shops and some good restaurants. There is also an outlet mall if you are looking at doing some shopping. Mont St. Sauveur and surrounding areas have night skiing which Mont Tremblant doesn't offer.

Have a great holiday!

TaloBalo

Brisbane, Australia
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3. Re: 2 nights in Montreal & 2 in Mont Tremblant ??

Thanks for Tristou and TaloBalo for your advice. I'm convinced to stick to my original plan of staying in Montreal for the 4 nights then. I'll also stick to my plan of the Phillips Square Hotel too. My gut instincts were with this hotel and location.

As for safety, well I just meant being able to walk the streets at night without fear of being attacked or mugged etc. I realise there are unsavoury characters everywhere you go but obviously some places you just don't go at night. I'm certainly not worried about my kids "seeing" such sights, no point in hiding reality.

So based on your comments I will feel comfortable out walking at night with my kids.

Mont Sauveur was a place I had read about too so I think we will try here for the fun snow activities and maybe even squeeze in the shopping! Yes you are right about the time wasting going to Mont Tremblant. This is what I want to avoid if it isn't worth the effort.

I noticed someone has asked about family friendly restaurants. Same question for me. Any other suggestions on reasonably priced "child" friendly restaurants with simple style food for kids?

Do you have any other sightseeing suggestions that the tourist books/guide books would not have mentioned? Recommended places to see?

I really appreciate your help.

Toronto, ON
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4. Re: 2 nights in Montreal & 2 in Mont Tremblant ??

Glad I could help.

Friends of ours stayed that Philips Square hotel last summer and said it was child friendly, so I don't think you have anything to worry about. Since you're staying right off of rue St. Catherines, you are amidst many, many restaurants which are mostly child friendly. I don't think you'll be lacking choice.... just walk down the street and take your pick.

Enjoy!

TaloBalo

Montreal
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5. Re: 2 nights in Montreal & 2 in Mont Tremblant ??

Yes, walk around no problem -- although in the middle of winter, you'll be doing less walking than you may like. Brrrr!

For your "snow" experience, why not spend a night in a cabin on a lake somewhere around Mont St-Sauver? Pristine white everywhere you look, frozen lake, a real Christmas postcard. I actually prefer the Eastern Townships to the Laurentians -- the towns are quainter and older and in many places less developed, although it's slightly further to drive.

For a child-friendly restaurant: hmm. The one problem with Square Philips is that it's in the middle of downtown, which caters to businesspeople more than families. So lunch should be no problem except for the price-quality ratio, but not all places stay open late. There are food courts galore in the shopping malls called the Underground City, and I particularly like the Carrefour Alliance underneath Simon's (Ste-Catherine and Mansfield) because it's not just chains and they use real plates. The closest places would be the wood-fired pizza place (its name slips my mind) and the French bistrot (Le Grand Comptoir) just up the street from you across from the park.

The closest "family" dining would be Nickels on Ste-Catherine west of University, and there's Deli Planète in the train station which has pub food, but it's a shame to eat at places like this when there's such good food in Montreal to be found.

I'd suggest planing to eat as you're exploring different neighbourhoods. I think kids would like the ooey-gooey sandwiches at St-Viateur Bagel café (it's at 1127 Mont Royal east), although some of the choices are more adult-flavoured. If not, surely they like burgers and fries? Try La Paryse (302 Ontario E, but get there before 6:00 p.m. or you'll wait, wait, wait)... if your kids can't stand the wait, the burgers at Croissant de lune a block away (1765 St-Denis) will do. There's also l'Anecdote (801 rue Rachel E.) which has a nifty 50's theme going on and is famous for its burgers, although I like their tofu club sandwich. And you'll just have to try poutine at La Banquise (994 Rachel E): fries smothered in gravy with cheese curds on top, although they have all sorts of variations. Sounds disgusting and way too calorific? You bet, and your children will love it.

6. Re: 2 nights in Montreal & 2 in Mont Tremblant ??

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