The Canadian province of Quebec is perhaps the closest you’ll come to feeling like you’re in Europe while still in North America. At one time under French control, the province still reflects much of the French culture, with both French and English as its official languages. While downtown Montreal is home to modern skyscrapers the section known as Vieux Montréal (Old Montreal) retains its Old World style with cobbled streets and centuries-old buildings.
Montreal experiences all four seasons throughout the year, with hot and sometimes humid summers, mild spring and fall months, and winters that can be snowy and bitterly cold. The city is the second largest in Canada, yet in spite of its size, getting around without a car is easy. There's an efficient transit system that includes buses and trains; walking and biking are also very pleasant ways to take in the city.
During winter, Montreal's parks offer cross-country skiing and ice-skating, while the summer months draws people out for picnics, festivals, outdoor movies, and kayaking and river surfing on the Saint Lawrence River. For tourists, the most popular attraction in Montreal is the old city. Here you can marvel at the architecture of the Notre-Dame Basilica or the Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours, the oldest stone church in the city. Juxtaposed against 19th century Victorian homes and the 18th century Château Ramezay Museum, you'll also find the ultra-modern Montréal Science Centre. And of course, given the French influence on Montreal's cuisine, you have the opportunity of sampling excellent fine dining at bistros around town.
There are several modern Montreal hostels to be found downtown, but most tourists prefer to stay at one of the historic inns in Vieux Montreal. It’s not advisable to bring a car to the area as parking is quite difficult; instead just hitch a ride on one of the horse drawn carriages that serve as transport in this charming quarter.