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Getting To Montreal and to your Hotel

Served by highways, transcontinental trains and buses, and several airports, Montréal and Québec City are easily accessible from any part of the U.S. and Europe.

By Plane

Most of the world's major airlines fly into the Aéroport International Pierre-Elliot-Trudeau de Montréal (airport code YUL; tel.800/465-1213 and 514/394-7377; It's known more commonly as just Montréal-Trudeau Airport. (Note that it used to be called Montréal-Dorval, and that some holdouts still use that name.)

In Québec City, the teenyJean Lesage International Airport (airport code: YQB; tel.418/640-2700; is served by a number of major airlines. Most air traffic comes by way of Montréal, although there are an increasing number of direct flights from U.S. cities, including Chicago (on United Airlines), Newark and Cleveland (on Continental Airlines), and Detroit (on Northwest Airlines).

Getting from the Airport to the Cities-- Montréal-Trudeau is served by the shuttle bus 747. You can download a PDF with full information from here.  The bus costs $8 CAD. You can buy this one-day pass at a currency exchange booth at the airport (You must pay in cash but any currency is accepted.) or you can pay in Canadian cash (only exact change in coins is accepted) on the bus. You may also be able to buy this pass at one of the newsstands. This price includes a one-day Metro/Bus pass. The ride takes about 30 minutes during non-rush hour times.

At the airport, pick up the bus right outside arrivals area.
    The 2nd stop coming from airport is the corner of Rene-Levesque and Guy.
          The Maritime hotel is on this corner
          The Le Nouvel and Grey Nuns are 1½ blocks from this corner
    The 3rd stop coming from airport is the corner of Rene-Levesque and Drummond.
           The Novotel is 1½ blocks from here

Returning to airport
     From Novotel, pick up at Rene-Levesque and De La Montagne
     From Maritime, Le Nouvel, and Grey Nuns pick up at Rene-Levesque and Bishop

A taxi trip to downtown Montréal costs a flat fare. The last time we checked it was C$35 (£18) plus tip.

By Car

U.S. citizens do not need an international driver's license to drive in Canada. A U.S. license is sufficient as long as you are a visitor and actually are a U.S. resident.

Driving north to Montréal from the U.S., the entire journey is on expressways. From New York City, all but the last 40 or so miles of the 603km (375-mile) journey are within New York state on Interstate 87. I-87 links up with Canada's Autoroute 15 at the border, which goes straight to Montréal. From Boston, I-93 goes up through New Hampshire (and the beautiful Franconia Notch in the White Mountains) and merges into I-91 to cross the tip of Vermont. At the border, I-91 becomes Autoroute 55. Signs lead to Autoroute 10 west, which goes into Montréal. From Boston to Montréal is about 518km (322 miles).

Québec City is 867km (520 miles) from New York City and 644km (400 miles) from Boston. From New York, follow the directions to Montréal and then pick up Autoroute 20 to Québec City. From Boston, follow the directions to Montréal, but at Autoroute 10, go east instead of west to stay on Autoroute 55. Get on Autoroute 20 to Québec City and follow signs for the Pont Pierre-Laporte (a bridge). To get to the Old City, turn right onto Boulevard Wilfrid-Laurier (Rte. 175) shortly after crossing the bridge. It changes names first to Boulevard Laurier and then to Grande-Allée, the grand boulevard that leads directly into the central Parliament Hill area and the Old City. Once the street passes through the ancient walls that ring the Old City, it becomes rue St-Louis, which leads straight to the famed Château Frontenac on the cliff above the St. Lawrence River.

Another appealing option when you're approaching Québec City from the south is to follow Route 132 along the river's southern side to the town of Lévis. A car ferry there,Traverse Québec-Lévis(tel.888/787-7483;, provides a 10-minute ride across the river and a dramatic way to see the city, especially for the first time. Though the schedule varies substantially through the year, the ferry leaves at least every hour from 6am to 2am. One-way, it costs C$6 (£3) for the car and driver, C$2.70 (£1.35) for each additional adult, and C$11 (£5.30) for a car with up to six passengers. Only cash is accepted, so if you arrive from the U.S. without Canadian money, know that there's an ATM in the small transport terminal next door.

When driving between Québec City from Montréal, there are two main options: Autoroute 40, which runs along the St. Lawrence's north shore, and Autoroute 20, on the south side (although not hugging the water at all). The trip takes a little less than 3 hours without stops.

In Canada, highway distances and speed limits are given in kilometers (km). The speed limit on the autoroutes is 100kmph (62 mph). There's a stiff penalty for neglecting to wear your seatbelt, and all passengers must be buckled up.

Note on radar detectors:Radar detectors are prohibited in Québec province. They can be confiscated, even if they're not being used.

Also, it is illegal to turn right on a red light on the island of Montréal. It is permitted in the rest of Québec and Canada.

Members of the American Automobile Association (AAA) are covered by the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) while traveling in Canada.

Fill Up Before Crossing Over-- Gasoline in Canada is expensive by American standards, even considering the recent price surges in the U.S. Gas is sold by the liter, and 3.78 liters equals 1 gallon. Recent prices of C$1.40 (70p) per liter are equivalent to about US$5.30 a gallon. If you're driving from the U.S., fill up before you come over the border.

By Train

Montréal is a major terminus on Canada'sVIA Railnetwork (tel.888/842-7245; Its station,Gare Centrale,at 895 rue de la Gauchetière ouest (tel.514/989-2626), is centrally located downtown.

Québec City's train station,Gare du Palais,is in Lower Town at 450 rue de la Gare-du-Palais. Many of the hotels listed in this book are up an incline from the station, so a short cab ride might be necessary.

VIA Rail trains are comfortable -- all have Wi-Fi, and some are equipped with dining cars and sleeping cars.

Amtrak(tel.800/USA-RAIL[872-7245]; has one train per day into Montréal from New York that makes intermediate stops. Called theAdirondack,it's very slow, but its scenic route passes along the Hudson River's eastern shore and west of Lake Champlain. TheAdirondacktakes just less than 11 hours from New York if all goes well, but delays aren't unusual.

The train ride between Montréal and Québec City takes about 3 hours.

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