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Montreal (QC)

Travel agents and guidebook writers can't bring up Montreal without mentioning 'joie de vivre' – the joy of living. But it isn't a cliché in this case as Montreal has cornered that French concept with its hip music scene, raucous nightlife, and spectacular historic sites.

With 400 years of history behind it, the city center spoils visitors with sightseeing and entertainment options. The Basilica de Notre Dame is the defining old-city attraction, but it's joined by stoic 18th-century homes, airy plazas, and restored heritage hotels in Montreal. There's no better way to tour the old city than in a nostalgic, horse-drawn carriage.

Downtown Montreal joins the old city and offers every cosmopolitan luxury imaginable. It boasts skyscrapers, booming restaurant districts, and a tantalizing nightlife. In a city often billed as 'Paris without the jet lag', it comes as no surprise that Montreal's cultural offerings are first rate. Symphonies, art galleries, and world-class museums all wait to be discovered.

Montrealers love to shop, and the temptation to splurge in the city's 7,000 stores is palpable. Thanks to Montreal's 'Underground City', a vast underground network connecting ten major malls, shoppers can move from one complex to the next in the height of winter without stepping outside for a moment.

It takes little time to reach Montreal Trudeau International Airport from the city center, and several airport hotels are on hand to ease transitions to and from the city. Be sure to check out the interactive map of Montreal for information on hotel locations, attractions, and must-see destinations.