The weather in lovely Montréal doesn't always cooperate with vacationers who have outdoor plans. But the city has enough indoor attractions to keep you very busy - you can experience the best of Montreal even if it's rainy (or snowing) outside. Montréalers take the inclement weather in stride and their bon-vivant frame of mind helps keep it all in perspective.
Inside the Biodome — Photo courtesy of Photo Courtesy of Toursime Montreal DAY ONE: In the morning, head out to the east-end of the city and buy a Nature Pass that gets you into three terrific indoor attractions at one price. There's the Biodôme de Montréal showcasing replicas of four ecosystems: the Laurentian Forest (a representation of the North American wilderness), the Tropical Forest, the Saint Lawrence Marine ecosystem and Polar World. The real stars of the Biodôme are the playful penguins. Next door is the Olympic Park where you can climb the tower or go swimming. A block away is the Botanical Gardens and the Insectarium, where you can check out the world of plants and an interesting array of creepy crawlers.
DAY TWO; If the wild weather continues, go underground! The Montréal's RESO/ La Ville Souterraine is an underground city with 19 miles of tunnels connecting over 60 commercial complexes. It's filled with hotels, shopping, museums, restaurants and boutiques. Once below you'll have access to Place Bonaventure, Windsor Station, Les Cours mount-Royal, Place Montreal Trust, the Eaton Centre, Place de la Cathedrale, Complexe Les Ailes de la Mode, the Stock Exchange Tower and the World Trade Center – that's only a few of the shopping centers. If you're looking for something more cultured, visit the Musée des Beaux Arts de Montréal. It's just up from Crescent Street where there are plenty of restaurants to grab a delicious lunch. (The museum also has a lovely cafe) alongside one of the finest art collections in the country. The Neoclassical pavilion is on one side of the street housing an extensive collection of ancient Asia, Egypt, Greece and South America, native Canadian artifacts, Canadian artists and European masters. The newer building housing the modern art, temporary is on the other side of the street. Both buildings are connected through an underground walkway.
Basilique Notre-Dame — Photo courtesy of Photos courtesy of Tourisme Montreal DAY THREE: Vieux Montreal has several museums to visit all within walking distance. Learn about the founding of Montréal and visit part of the original settlement at the Pointe-à-Callière Museum, known for its multi-media exhibits. Just a few blocks down from the museum is the Centre des Sciences with its interactive displays and exhibits. Be sure to check what's playing at the IMAX theatre. Up the street is the Château Ramezay Museum housed in a 1705 building--one of the oldest in North America. Learn more about life in the 1700s.
A short cab ride away is the spectacular 1829 neo-Gothic Basilique Notre-Dame, by far one of the most stunning churches in the city with an interior filled with exquisitely carved rare wood delicately gilded, ornate stained glass windows, beautiful statues and works of art. For a bit of old-world ambiance head over to Hotel St James for a cup of coffee or a light lunch. There's also the romantic Verses Restaurant in Hotel Nelligan or the Sinclair Lounge and Restaurant in the elegant Saint Sulpice where you can linger over drinks and dinner.
Whatever you decide to do, remember that the sun never stays hidden away too long in Montréal!