National757
Topic Author
Posts: 471
Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2007 3:05 am

Travel Advice: F1 Canadian Grand Prix In Montréal

Sat Dec 15, 2007 6:56 am

Hey A.netters!

I am planning a trip to Montréal (June 5th through the 9th) and am seeking advice about the city and traveling to Canada in general on a college student budget  Smile

Getting There
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From Las Vegas I was planning on either flying to New York and taking Amtrak to Montréal, or taking Westjet LAS-YYZ-YUL. With all taxes, the flight looks to be about $554/USD per person, is that about right, or should I hold out for something cheaper?

The price difference for either option looks to be negligible, especially taking into account the hassle of getting from JFK/LGA to the Penn Station and coordinating flight times..not to mention missing my train due to a late flight.

Hotel Info
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Found a nice hotel in the city center, La Tour Centre-Ville. Any thoughts about the hotel? Looks a little run down to be honest, but it looks located right in the heart of downtown...can't beat that! I plan on spending 5 or 6 hours in the hotel at most each day, so I definitely do not need anything fancy. Is 3 Nights for $780/USD an okay deal? It's about the cheapest I can find in downtown.

City Info
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Any must see places while I'm up there? How are the Montréal Alouettes? I would love to go see them while I'm up there. Is it possible to get around the city without knowing much French? Any areas I should avoid?

Finally, should I book now, or should I wait and see if prices go down?

Thanks in advance for all your help guys. Looking forward to watching F1 in person and experiencing all that the great city of Montréal has to offer next year!
 
NeilYYZ
Posts: 2443
Joined: Mon Jan 23, 2006 12:55 pm

RE: Travel Advice: F1 Canadian Grand Prix In Montréal

Sat Dec 15, 2007 7:11 am



Quoting National757 (Thread starter):
With all taxes, the flight looks to be about $554/USD per person, is that about right, or should I hold out for something cheaper?

I'd take the plane if I were you. If for no other reason that it'll be quicker. $550 seems a good price, and booking early for that weekend is probably a good idea.

Quoting National757 (Thread starter):
Found a nice hotel in the city center, La Tour Centre-Ville. Any thoughts about the hotel?

Looks really nice to me.

Quoting National757 (Thread starter):
Is 3 Nights for $780/USD an okay deal?

If the rooms look as good as they do on the website I'd say you got a good deal. It's obviously more expensive that weekend because the race is a huge draw.

Quoting National757 (Thread starter):
Is it possible to get around the city without knowing much French?

No problem at all. I don't speak a lick of French and have been there many times.

As a side note, watch out for the beer, it's stronger in Canada than in the USA, and working at a bar in a border town I see tons of people get bit in the arse. Also, if you're going with some friends of the male variety Montreal has some fairly good gentleman's clubs. I wouldn't recommend bringing a girlfriend into the strip club or anything, I tried it once...
It may be too early to drink scotch... But it is NEVER too early to think about it...
 
bill142
Posts: 7853
Joined: Wed Aug 04, 2004 1:50 pm

RE: Travel Advice: F1 Canadian Grand Prix In Montréal

Sat Dec 15, 2007 7:13 am

Check out the F1 thread, a couple of guys over there go to the Canadian GP every year so the can provide advice.
 
nosedive
Posts: 2176
Joined: Sun May 23, 2004 2:18 pm

RE: Travel Advice: F1 Canadian Grand Prix In Montr

Sat Dec 15, 2007 7:16 am



Quoting National757 (Thread starter):
Is 3 Nights for $780/USD an okay deal? It's about the cheapest I can find in downtown.

If Montreal has a good public transportation system, I'd look to the outskirts a bit more. Hell, even Indy hotels would run like $150 a night for on out former (assholes) GP weekend. Furthermore, GP tours has the full race weekend for $1,100. That includes a hotel, driver dinner, metro pass, etc. Not sure if tix are included, however. Keep in mind non GA tix to f1 events aren't cheap... thanks Bernie and Tony for taking the USGP away.*
Youth hostels, believe it or not, can be pretty fun; just make sure to see if the hostel has good security. Hostels and youth hotels on hostelworld.com in Montreal appear to be running under $50 atm.

Quoting National757 (Thread starter):
With all taxes, the flight looks to be about $554/USD per person, is that about right, or should I hold out for something cheaper?

6 months out? Hold.

*No, I won't drop it  Wink
 
LH423
Posts: 5868
Joined: Sun Jul 11, 1999 6:27 am

RE: Travel Advice: F1 Canadian Grand Prix In Montr

Sat Dec 15, 2007 6:20 pm

The airfare is good. With taxes it often costs me $500 to do a roundtrip from Ottawa to Boston (45 min flight). Of course the market is different, I'd still say you're getting a decent deal (Don't forget US/Canada taxes come out to about $100 round trip). But you may get a good deal depending on what the exchange rate does in the coming months.

The hotel (never heard of it personally) is in a good location. You're close to shopping and the underground network (called RESO). Race weekend prices tend to spike so while $780 would normally be exorbitant for Montreal on a weekend, you're not doing too badly (if you feel you're getting a good deal for your money) however, I would look around for some cheaper deals. Also, if being central isn't that important, you may consider hotels on the South Shore (Longueuil area) or Laval, however given the location of the race, Longueuil will be more convenient. However, something near a subway station would be good since Montreal can be frustrating to drive around when you're not familiar with the city. It's a grid pattern but with lots of one-ways and traffic can be bad, especially during event weekends (which is most weekends from June to August).

While making some effort to learn some basic phrases in French would be beneficial, almost everyone in the service industry (especially in downtown Montreal) speaks at least comprehensible English. If you choose to stay in the West Island (out near the airport), English is predominant in a lot of areas so you'll have no problems out that way. The more east and north of downtown you move the more French is becomes and the likelihood that you'll run into language barriers increases some. However, on the whole you should have no problems getting by in English.

For safety, Montreal is a very safe city for its size. However, it's not the cleanest city and that can sometimes lead to tourists feeling unsafe in what are pretty safe areas. Generally speaking you should have no problems. Just use common sense (i.e. don't walk drunk alone down a dark alley) and you'll have no problems. Montreal does have a pretty large homeless population but, by-and-large, they're pretty harmless.

Things to do.

The Alouettes don't have their schedule posted yet, as far as I can tell. However, that might be interesting to check out. June is a great time in Montreal. The oppressive heat and humidity haven't hit their peak so take advantage of what should hopefully be some good weather. I'd recommend taking the steps up Mont-Royal to the lookout above the city (many photos are taken from there). The steps start on avenue des Pins at around the top of rue Peel. Good workout and a beautiful view from the top. You could also take a tour of Olympic Stadium and then head over to the Biodome. Also check out Vieux Montreal (Old Montreal) and the Vieux Port. If you're into amusement parks, there's La Ronde right next door to the race track. Take in a nice dinner or coffee on an outdoor patio (there's no shortage).

There are several Montrealers on this board so I'm sure someone will be able to give you some more detailed options. However, Montreal is a great city anytime of the year, it really is something special in the Summer. Enjoy and have a great time!
« On ne voit bien qu'avec le cœur. L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux » Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
 
AF340
Posts: 2267
Joined: Tue Jul 24, 2007 7:57 am

RE: Travel Advice: F1 Canadian Grand Prix In Montréal

Sat Dec 15, 2007 11:17 pm



Quoting National757 (Thread starter):
Found a nice hotel in the city center, La Tour Centre-Ville.

I just realized I walked past this hotel a couple weeks ago. Here's it's TripAdvisor page:
http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Rev..._Centre_Ville-Montreal_Quebec.html

Hmmm, scabies and bed bugs... might want to reconsider...

This is a bit more, it's right by a Metro stop and looks quite a bit nicer than the other one.

Chateau de l'Argoat-Montreal

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Rev...u_de_l_Argoat-Montreal_Quebec.html

Quoting National757 (Thread starter):
Thanks in advance for all your help guys. Looking forward to watching F1 in person and experiencing all that the great city of Montréal has to offer next year!

2 of the best things out there!

I've been to the race twice and both times have been amazing!

Quoting National757 (Thread starter):
Any must see places while I'm up there? How are the Montréal Alouettes? I would love to go see them while I'm up there. Is it possible to get around the city without knowing much French? Any areas I should avoid?

Finally, should I book now, or should I wait and see if prices go down?

I have one piece of advice for you... learn to J-walk very well. Although there are lights in the city, nobody uses them. You can easily get around without knowing French, but I personally like to speak it even though I sound stupid. It is a very safe city and I've walked around at 1-2am without worrying about anything. The metro is very good for your travelling as it is mainly focused at Centre-ville and the Gilles Villeneuve racetrack. Oh... and the Toronto Argonauts are sooooo much better than the Alouettes!  Wink

Quoting National757 (Thread starter):
The price difference for either option looks to be negligible, especially taking into account the hassle of getting from JFK/LGA to the Penn Station and coordinating flight times..not to mention missing my train due to a late flight.

Dude, it's called airliners.net what you think we're going to say  Wink
If the price is negligible, take a plane!


Have a great trip and may Lewis Hamilton win the race!


AF340 wave 
 
LH423
Posts: 5868
Joined: Sun Jul 11, 1999 6:27 am

RE: Travel Advice: F1 Canadian Grand Prix In Montréal

Sun Dec 16, 2007 2:41 am



Quoting National757 (Thread starter):
The price difference for either option looks to be negligible, especially taking into account the hassle of getting from JFK/LGA to the Penn Station and coordinating flight times..not to mention missing my train due to a late flight.

I should have commented on this. It seems like you have already taken into account the negatives. Really, the only positive I can give you is that it's a very pretty train ride. However, if the price difference is minimal, you'll have to decide if the train ride is worth the extra time and hassle.

Of course, on the flipside, you'll arrive at the Gare centrale in downtown Montreal versus having to get yourself into the city from Dorval at a cost of $35 one way via taxi to downtown or $14 via L'Aerobus.

LH423
« On ne voit bien qu'avec le cœur. L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux » Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
 
National757
Topic Author
Posts: 471
Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2007 3:05 am

RE: Travel Advice: F1 Canadian Grand Prix In Montréal

Sun Dec 16, 2007 9:44 am



Quoting NeilYYZ (Reply 1):
No problem at all. I don't speak a lick of French and have been there many times.

Good to know my friend. Thanks for easing my fears a bit!

Quoting NeilYYZ (Reply 1):
I wouldn't recommend bringing a girlfriend into the strip club or anything,

Haha, good call! As far as the gentlemens clubs, there's about one on every block in Vegas so I'll probably pass on checking them out on my trip..but who knows.

Quoting Nosedive (Reply 3):
6 months out? Hold.

Will do. I'll wait and see if the prices fluctuate any.

Quoting LH423 (Reply 4):

Unbelievable! Thanks for all the great information. I owe you a beer the next time you're in Vegas!

Quoting AF340 (Reply 5):
Hmmm, scabies and bed bugs... might want to reconsider...

Wow, I didn't even think to check TripAdvisor! I definitely need to stay away from that place!

I took advantage of a good deal ($233/night) at the Hotel Omni Mont-Royal. Much nicer then that Le Tour hotel (and a little cheaper too!)

Quoting AF340 (Reply 5):
Have a great trip and may Lewis Hamilton win the race!

Now that Scott Speed is out of F1, Hamilton is my driver so may he win the race is right!

By the way, I can't tell you all how much I appreciate your great advice! I have only really gone to NASCAR and Champ Car races in the past, so seeing Formula One in person is going to be a refreshing change of pace.

I have done this whole trip out of order so far. My brother bought the race tickets first, and tonight I booked the hotel so now we have a place to stay, just no way of getting there! (for now)
 
AF340
Posts: 2267
Joined: Tue Jul 24, 2007 7:57 am

RE: Travel Advice: F1 Canadian Grand Prix In Montréal

Sun Dec 16, 2007 4:50 pm



Quoting National757 (Reply 7):
I have only really gone to NASCAR and Champ Car races in the past, so seeing Formula One in person is going to be a refreshing change of pace.

F1 is about 1000000000x better than those in person (well the racing at least). You'll have an excellent time!



AF340 wave 
 
Viscount724
Posts: 18989
Joined: Thu Oct 12, 2006 7:32 pm

RE: Travel Advice: F1 Canadian Grand Prix In Montréal

Sun Dec 16, 2007 6:20 pm



Quoting National757 (Thread starter):
Is it possible to get around the city without knowing much French?

Virtually everyone you are likely to encounter in Montreal speaks English well enough that you will have no problems. The further east you go in Montreal the less English you will hear but those aren't areas you will likely visit anyway, and even in those areas you can easily survive in English.

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