We enjoyed our 4 days in Montreal, despite having 2 1/2 days of gloomy, rainy weather. As we traveled toward Montreal on the train, we begin to see lots of bicyclists stopped at crossings. These riders were part of the Tour de l'ile, a 35-mile ride that attracts 25,000-30,000 riders. As we neared the station, we saw hundreds of cyclists making their way to the celebration at the end. Our taxi was unable to get us all the way to our hotel, the Springhill Suites, in Old Town. We had to walk about 6 blocks, but thankfully it was not uphill. We checked into the hotel and were told that we had been upgraded to a superior suite. More on the hotel later.
I use a combination of resources when I plan a trip and the Fodor's Guides usually fit our travel style. We used the Montreal & Quebec City Guide to find a restaurant near the hotel and headed to Brit 'Chips. We were delighted to find it was on the bicycle route with outside seating. As we ate, we enjoyed watching thousands of riders passing--single bikes, tandems, tandems pulling tag-a-longs, tandems pulling tag-a-longs pulling trailers, etc. We were impressed with how many children took part in the event. Some were on single bikes while others were riding the tag-a-longs or in the trailer.
We were glad we had a chance to enjoy the sunny, cool weather, after all that is why we visit Canada in the summer. After a delicious lupper (that's lunch/supper combined), we enjoyed sitting on a bench in the Place d'Armes listening to a singer accompanied by a guitarist. If you closed your eyes, you might think you were in Paris. We probably sat there a couple of hours before deciding to walk through the streets of Old Town.
The next morning, we woke up to a rainy, gloomy day. It wasn't raining very hard, so we decided to explore more of the Old Town. We walked down to the Old Port where we saw the tent set up for the Cirque du Soleil performances. The circus was founded in 1984 by a pair of street performers. One of the touring companies returns to Montreal occasionally for performances. I would have loved to attend a performance; however, we would not be in town when they were scheduled to perform.
I enjoyed visiting the Marche Bonsecours, a market with upscale boutiques as well as souvenir shops.
From there, we headed to the Place Jacuqes Cartier, a plaza usually bustling with tourists, but because of the increasing rain, there were not too many people out and about.