Saturday, November 6, 2010

Montreal Tower, Botanical Garden, and Metro - Oh, My!

by, Jan Ross

I must say, I am pretty pleased with myself. We managed to get from the Montreal Tower all the way back to the lovely Auberge Bonaparte on the Metro - and we only took one train going the wrong way! Score! To his credit, my husband was completely befuddled by the whole Metro concept or he would have noticed that I carefully selected a train that was going not TO our destination but AWAY from it.

We figured it out pretty quickly when the announcer started announcing stations that were clearly heading away from our hotel on the map. We just got off at the next stop, climbed to street level, climbed back down and got on a train going the other way. Not hard at all.The Metro trains are clean, run every few minutes and are very fast - you should not hesitate to travel around Montreal using them.

But let me back up and tell you about our day before we ended up at the Montreal Tower. Montreal is a large, gorgeous, very historical city with many different neighborhoods, each of which is delineated by different shaped lamp posts - a clever and easy way to tell when you have moved from one neighborhood to another. There is a lot to see and do in this lovely city so the first thing I suggest is precisely what we did - have a tour of the city. We were lucky enough to work with Tourisme Montreal for our tour but there are several excellent tour companies available. This will help you understand the way Montreal is laid out and will give you some ideas about what else you want to see.

We drove all around the city, then stopped in a neighborhood restaurant called Valois to have some lunch. These neighborhood restaurants are where the locals go to eat, hang out and have long conversations. It's the type of place where, if you leave your wallet, you can just go back and get it the next day. It's also a great place to eat. We had burgers and our very first frites, which are basically french fries but much, much, MUCH better. They are smaller, crispier and quite delicious. I was tempted to again take pictures of our food but it was the middle of the day, we were surrounded by local people and I didn't want to act like too much of an American. So you will have to take my word that they are wonderful.

After lunch, our guide dropped us off at the Montreal Botanical Garden where we saw gorgeous orchids, teeny tiny bonsai trees and the largest cactus I have ever seen. The Botanical Garden covers 180 acres and has 10 exhibition greenhouses and over 30 outdoor gardens. It should be on the must-see list for everyone who visits Montreal.

Beautiful orchids!

Gorgeous Flowers!

Seriously HUGE cactus!

From there, it's an easy walk to the Montreal Tower. The Olympic Stadium and Tower were built for the 1976 Olympic Games and are quite spectacular. A tram or "funicular" takes you up to the top of the Tower, which is the tallest inclined tower in the world and has a fantastic view of the city.

The Montreal Tower (Tour de Montreal)

From the Tower, it's an even easier walk to the closest Metro station and from there, you can go anywhere in the city.

Just make sure you take the train that is going the right way.

When you are ready to travel to Montreal and stay at the Auberge Bonaparte, The Travel Authority is ready to help you plan that trip. You can call 1-877-AXP-1515 for information and details about traveling to Montreal. Be sure to print out this post or mention the code BLAMA to get the best deal on your trip. I would love to hear your suggestions for future blog posts. You can comment below or contact me by email at Thanks for reading - I truly appreciate it!

Safe travel!

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