Montreal skyline

Montréal-Trudeau Airport (YUL)

Founded in 1642, this city of nearly 1.6 million people has more historic sites than any other in Canada, providing visitors with a seemingly endless bounty of cultural treasures to experience. Today, just about every industry thrives here, from aerospace and technology to film and design. Only Paris has more French-speaking residents and the French influence on Montreal is primarily what makes it such a memorable place to visit.

The Old World in the New

First time visitors to the city should consider focusing their sightseeing efforts in Old Montreal, arguably the closest thing to Europe west of Ireland. Stroll down its picturesque streets with names like Rue Notre-Dame and Boulevard Saint-Laurent surrounded by historic churches, galleries, shops, cafés and restaurants — you'll almost feel as though you've been transported across the Atlantic.

Start with the Notre-Dame Basilica. Completed in 1829, this splendid specimen of gothic revival architecture features imposing twin towers that rise some 200 feet above ground. Inside, its ornate altar just about takes your breath away. To the west, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, near McGill University, has many fine galleries adorned with works by Rembrandt, Matisse, Cezanne and Picasso. Still further west on the other side of town resides the monumental St. Joseph's Oratory of Mount Royal, Canada's largest church. Built in the traditional Italian renaissance style in 1904, its colossal dome is the third largest of its kind on the planet.

Luckily for gastronomes, there's no shortage of excellent restaurants in Old Montreal, and not surprisingly the collection of French bistros here is outstanding. But you'll also find plenty of superb Italian seafood and Asian around. And when you've finished dining, there are few finer places to enjoy an evening stroll.