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Quebec City & Montreal at Christmas...a gazillion ?'s

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Nov 2nd, 2003, 05:39 AM
  #1
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Quebec City & Montreal at Christmas...a gazillion ?'s

We have 9 vacation days the week after Christmas and are trying to decide how much time to spend in QC (our first visit). Is 9 too much?

We love Montreal (been there twice) and were considering splitting our time btwn Montreal & QC since Westjet & Jetsgo only fly into Montreal. (Air Canada flies into QC but it's much pricier). If we split our time how many days in each city?

Worth renting a car in QC for a day or two to tour local areas (not sure how much stuff would be open since we'd be catching Xmas, Boxing Day, NY Eve, & NY Day)? If so, what's good to see at that time of year?

What are Montreal's highlights at Christmas time? Does Montreal do the Boxing Day blowout sales? If so, where are good deals for shopping (ladies mid-range biz wear and shoes: Jax, Jones, Liz, 9 West, Enzo)?

We driven to Montreal twice and both times just parked our car and used our feet or transit. (We've moved so we have to fly this time.) Is a car necessary in QC?

Is it a nice train ride from Montreal to QC? The difference btwn that and the bus is only ~$40 total. So we will go with the one that is easiest. How easy is it to go from the Dorval to the bus stn? to the train stn?

For NY eve in QC, we're looking for a great dinner & party pkg, lots of dancing, etc (we're mid-30+ age group)...any suggestions on where? Looking for fun, not stuffy even a masquarade type event would be fine.

And finally done some research but wondering what your must see's are for this festive time of year in Montreal & Quebec? Are most of the "tourist attractions" closed at this time? (We're 2 adults enjoy sightseeing, and exploring, we'll go to 1 or 2 museums, check out the Ch. Frontenace, etc.)

All help greatly appreciated.
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Nov 2nd, 2003, 06:11 AM
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Hi Klam

Dorval to train station is a mite closer than the bus station, but no major difference really. The shuttle bus from airport to city almost drops you off at the door of the train station. The advantage of the bus, http://www.orleansexpress.com, is that it runs much more frequently, on the hour
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Nov 2nd, 2003, 06:34 AM
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Sorry, hit "post my reply" by accident. Honestly, I tend to take the bus, because of timing, since it is so frequent. The train ride is perhaps slightly prettier, passing closer to Mont-Saint-Hilaire and you get to see more of the city centres of Drummondville and Saint-Hyacinthe. For most of the train ride is pretty flat fields however, not unpleasant though. The best views in my mind are as you leave Montreal and coming into Quebec. In case this will influence your decision, the bus and train stations are in the same building in Quebec City.

A car is not necessary in Quebec City; I've gone many times without. Much to see in a compact space.

One of my favorite places for a uniquely Quebec City ambience is les Salons d'Edgar in la Basse Ville. It's more of a sit-down place which serves microbrewed beers, but I always enjoy the ambience.

9 days too much? Hmmmm...well, living in Montreal 350 days a year, I find I can't nearly find time to do all the things I want to do. With 9 days, I would tend to split it up with more in Montreal...6 days in Montreal, 3 days in Quebec City. Maybe see both Jean Talon and Atwater Markets, catch some shows (flamenco, belly-dancing, modern, Montreal's particularly renowned in the dance department). Since you'll be spending this much time, you may even want to focus on your French some, if you're not already fluent.

I'm sure you'll have fun!

Cheers, DAN
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Nov 8th, 2003, 05:53 AM
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Daniel,

Thx a mint for your reply

Your feedback on the train vs. bus helped us decide to bus (we also noticed the bus picks up at the airport and that will be one less "logistic" to look after).

Thx for your QC recommendation.

Originally our plans were to go to QC for the whole time but when I realized there were less options for flights, I thought about spending time some of our time in Montreal. I share your sentiment of Montreal...I was even thinking of moving there but was concerned about finding a job without being bilingual. When I mentioned 9 days too much, I was referring to QC!

Never thought about seeing a dance show but will look into that for sure.

Do you have a sense of what shopping is like on Boxing Day in Montreal?

cheers,
klam
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Nov 8th, 2003, 06:45 AM
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BAK
 
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I can't imagine spending nine days in Quebec City. Three is the max, as far as I'm concerned.

Spend the rest in Montreal, or go take a look at Ottawa for part of the time.

BAK
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Nov 9th, 2003, 04:58 PM
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Boxing day shopping in Montreal is an event some people love or hate, it gets pretty crazy; they report on it on the 6 o'clock news because some people line up ahead of time for deals.

I prefer to skip that day and look for sales a few days later.... If you want to shop, avoid the music stores and sports equipment stores, they are the busiest..........




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Nov 12th, 2003, 08:44 AM
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What we did was fly to Montreal, rent a car, spend four days in Quebec City and then return for four days in Montreal, flying out of there. Its about two and one half hours to drive, in good weather. Frankly, I though that was plenty of time for both cities as a tourist. If you have a car, you can take day trips. For QC, one attraction that got short shrift from the guidebooks was the museum and chapel of the Ursuline Sisters. I expected a little museum about girls' schools, and instead learned of an economic and political powerhouse of 400 years.
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Nov 12th, 2003, 11:33 AM
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We took the train between Montreal and Quebec City and it was a great experience. The seats were very comfy - like sitting in a Lazy Boy Recliner! And the train station in Montreal is unbelievable - many shops and restaurants, and bakeries, etc! You can buy lunch there and eat it on the train! The scenery is beautiful along the way too.
You really don't want a car in Quebec City - the cobblestone streets are narrow and I would assume treacherous in case of snow! A cab can easily take you anywhere you want to go. We took the city bus to Montmonercy Falls. It took us probably 3 times longer to get there than in a taxi, but we got to see the whole town along the way and it costs a few dollars.
I highly recommend staying within the city walls of Old Quebec - we made a reservation outside and changed after one night. WE stayed at the Manoir Au St. Genevieve. I just put a posting here under "Quebec City recommendations". You'll love Quebec City - nothing like it we've ever seen! Enjoy!
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Nov 20th, 2003, 03:29 AM
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re: New Year's Quebec City
The best large night club in town is the Maurice/Charlotte complex in a large converted mansion on Grande Allée not far from the old city. It includes two good restaurants - the Cosmos downstairs is more casual (great breakfasts), and the Voodoo Grill upstairs is a swankier affair. There is also a cigar bar at street level. The Maurice is on the main floor (younger crowd, techno) the Charlotte upstairs (mid twenties-fifties, salsa on Friday, club faves/retro the rest of the time). It will be hopping on New Year's, and you will probably need to buy tickets ahead of time - ask your concierge.
Agree with Daniel about Chez Edgar (they serve a good steak frites), you should check out the Clocher Penché while in that part of town as well - excellent, comfortable bistro. Visit J.A. Moisan for Quebec treats, Café Temporal for soup and bread, and the Krieghoff Café on Cartier for cheescake and coffee. Once again, ask your concierge.
Other New Year's options: take a shuttle out to Mont Sainte Anne or Stoneham and ski/apres ski for the day/night.
I am in an ongoing disagreement with many here regarding how long one can stay in Quebec City without getting bored! If you are into winter activities, romance, walking, pretty sites, uncrowded shopping and laid back vacations then Quebec City is a better place to be than Montreal in winter - however, if you are mainly looking for a sightseeing vacation then I must concede that three days will suffice.
While here the Musée de Civilisation and the Musée de Québec are must sees -if you are history buffs you can visit the site on the Plaines of Abraham where Wolfe died, and the home French soldiers dragged Montcalm to before he died.
Boxing day is a rip-off: you will find the same and lower prices later in the week. In Quebec take the shuttle to Place Laurier/Ste Foy mall for shopping.
Have a great time!
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Nov 28th, 2003, 12:53 PM
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Thx a mint to all for your very helpful info (sorry for the delay in posting the thx, but I do shiftwork).

sandym, we've now decided to take the train based on your insight--and as it fits into our schedule! I wasn't sure if I was going to book our accoms in the Old Quebec, but I will now!

gdm, your post was so detailed and informative...thk u, thk u!! I've cut it out into my planning doc already!

cheers,
klam
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