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18521
Quebec

Independent City Discoveries: A Taste of Montréal

Discover Montréal with experts, learning the story of this cosmopolitan city through its renowned cuisine, must-see cultural sites, grand architecture and famed Notre-Dame Basilica.
Rating (5)
Program No. 18521RJ
Length
5 days
Starts at
1,259
Quebec

Independent City Discoveries: A Taste of Montréal

Discover Montréal with experts, learning the story of this cosmopolitan city through its renowned cuisine, must-see cultural sites, grand architecture and famed Notre-Dame Basilica.
Length
5 days
Starts at
1,259
Program No. 18521 RJ
Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
climate
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DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Jun 30 - Jul 4, 2022
Starting at
1,259
Aug 11 - Aug 15, 2022
Starting at
1,259
Sep 1 - Sep 5, 2022
Starting at
1,259
Oct 6 - Oct 10, 2022
Starting at
1,259
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Jun 30 - Jul 4, 2022
Starting at
1,799
Aug 11 - Aug 15, 2022
Starting at
1,799
Sep 1 - Sep 5, 2022
Starting at
1,799
Oct 6 - Oct 10, 2022
Starting at
1,799

At a Glance

Let local experts lead you on an intimate journey of Montréal, with its 16th-century cobblestone streets, Victorian elegance and laid-back francophone culture. Dive into the city's rich history, culinary traditions and its artistic passion. Experience the historic European charm and Montréal’s quintessential joie de vivre.
Activity Level
Let's Go!
Urban walking of two miles or more over varied terrain; some stairs.
Independent City Discoveries
Independent City Discoveries
Learn with a Group Leader and enjoy educational programming while also getting independent time to explore on your own. Most Independent City Discoveries include lectures, self-guided excursions and passes for public transit and museums.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Participate in a tasting exploration of Montréal’s fine restaurants from the cultural communities that enrich the city.
  • Gain insight into the city’s rich history, from settlement to current economic and cultural powerhouse.
  • Join local instructors who will lead you to out-of-the-way, favorite neighborhoods with great tips of areas to explore on your own, such as the grounds of McGill University and the Golden Square Mile.

General Notes

This program includes substantial free time, outlines for self-directed field trips, a pass for entry to five major museums and a three-day metro pass.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Andrée Girard
Andrée Girard has been an active figure on the arts scene in Québec and in Canada for over 25 years. She worked as a broadcaster for CBC radio and television before becoming programming director for CBC French radio’s Chaîne culturelle for several years. She was also a founding member and director of the Conseil québécois de la musique. Over the course of her career, she has been associated with the creation of the Opus Prize, as well as the development of the Canadian Conference of the Arts.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Andrée Girard
Andrée Girard View biography
Andrée Girard has been an active figure on the arts scene in Québec and in Canada for over 25 years. She worked as a broadcaster for CBC radio and television before becoming programming director for CBC French radio’s Chaîne culturelle for several years. She was also a founding member and director of the Conseil québécois de la musique. Over the course of her career, she has been associated with the creation of the Opus Prize, as well as the development of the Canadian Conference of the Arts.
Profile Image of Michel Jutras
Michel Jutras View biography
Originally from Montreal, Michel Jutras holds a master's degree in the management of cultural organizations and has extensive experience in leading educational excusions. Passionate about researching history, especially the history of the dietary and culinary traditions of Quebec, he is working on a large collection of ethnological texts, the first volume of which has already been published, while the second is currently being printed.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
The Two Solitudes
by Hugh MacLennan
First published in 1945, and set mostly in the time of the First World War, this story revolves around the life and times of the fictional character Paul Tallard and his struggles in reconciling the differences between his English and French Canadian identities.
Where the River Narrows
by Aimee Laberge
This novel sweeps across the centuries, from the French royal court to the founding of Québec City in 1608, from the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 to the FLQ Crisis. Against this rich panorama, the daily lives of the Tremblay family unfolds over generations.
The Tin Flute
by Gabrielle Roy
The Tin Flute is a classic of Canadian fiction. This moving story focuses on a family in the Saint-Henri slums of Montreal, its struggles to overcome poverty and ignorance, and its search for love.
Shadows on the Rock
by Willa Cather
Set in seventeenth-century Canada, an evocation of North American origins highlights the men and women who struggled to adapt to the new world even as they clung to the one they left behind. The novel covers one year of the lives of Cecile Auclair and her father Euclide, French colonists in Quebec.
Champlain's Dream
by David Hackett Fischer
In this enthralling biography, acclaimed historian David Hackett Fischer brings to life the remarkable Samuel de Champlain—soldier, spy, master mariner, explorer, cartographer, artist, and Father of New France.
Montreal & Quebec City Guide – Lonely Planet
by Montréal-based authors
Montréal and Québec City really serve it up. You've got old-world grandeur, new-world sensibilities and big-city charms - there's enough neighbourhoods, restaurants and festivals to keep you mon-dieu'ing for months. This guide, penned by Montréal-based authors, gets you straight to the action. The Lonely Planet website has options to buy and download individual digital chapters from this book in addition to the full guide.
A People’s History of Quebec
by Jacques Lacoursière and Robin Philpot
A People’s History of Quebec is a lively guide to a little-known part of North American history. It tells of the settlement of the St. Lawrence Valley, as well as the Montreal and Quebec-based explorers and traders who travelled, mapped, and inhabited most of North America.
A Short History of Quebec
by John Alexander Dickinson and Brian J Young
A Canadian classic, A Short History of Quebec offers a concise yet comprehensive overview of the province from the pre-contact native period to present-day constitutional struggles. The authors bring a refreshing perspective to the history of Quebec, focusing on the social and economic development of the region and its diverse peoples.
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5 days
4 nights
6 meals
4 B 0 L 2 D
DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Welcome Dinner, Orientation
Montreal, QC
D
SpringHill Suites Old Montreal

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 3:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Program Registration: 5:15 p.m. After you have your room assignment, come over to the Road Scholar table on the Mezzanine Level to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing the up-to-date schedule that reflects any changes, other important information, and to confirm the time and location of the Orientation session. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in.

Dinner: We will walk from the hotel to a nearby French restaurant for a 3-course plated meal with appetizer (soup or salad), choices of entrée, dessert of the day, and beverage choices including coffee (regular/decaf), hot tea, water; other beverages available for purchase from the bar.

Evening: Orientation: 8:15 p.m. The program is staffed with a Study Leader who will also serve as Group Leader. As Study Leader, she will be our primary resource in making the most of independent study time, offering local knowledge and insider tips for getting to know the city beyond tourist highlights. As Group Leader, she will attend to logistical details. She will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. This is a Road Scholar INDEPENDENT PROGRAM. It is designed for participants who want high-level Road Scholar instruction, a few group activities, and who are capable and comfortable setting out on their own independently for a significant part of the day/night. We will also have an introduction to Montréal's Museums Pass that is included in the program cost and provides access to public transportation and the city's most important museums. Periods in the daily schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the full day ahead.

DAY
2
Vieux Montreal, Notre-Dame Basilica
Montreal, QC
B
SpringHill Suites Old Montreal

Activity note: Walking up to 4 miles throughout the day.

Breakfast: At the hotel, the breakfast buffet offers a variety of choices such as an egg dish, breakfast meats, hot and cold cereals, breakfast breads, fruit, milk, juice, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: We will set out with a local expert on a walking field trip in Vieux-Montréal — the old city — focusing on history and architecture. We’ll end our field trip at the Basilique Notre-Dame de Montréal — Notre-Dame Basilica — for a memorable visit featuring an exclusive presentation of the fabulous organ by the Basilica's titular organist.

Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Afternoon: Free time. This time has been set aside for your personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Study Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. In Old Montréal, you might like to see the port, the Pointe-à-Callière Museum of Archaeology (built on the very foundations of the city), the Bonsecours Market (Québec Arts & Crafts, featuring top-quality “made in Québec” creations), or a popular street known for its art galleries. 5:30 - 6:30 Cocktail Hour. We are invited to join the Study Leader for drinks (Dutch Treat), to share the highlights of the day and plan the evening.

Dinner: On your own to explore the multitude of Montréal eateries. The Study Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure. Our Study Leader will have suggestions for where you can go and what you can do independently, from performances, festivals, and other events to favorite Montréalais hangouts.

DAY
3
Underground City, Golden Square Mile, Theater District
Montreal, QC
B
SpringHill Suites Old Montreal

Activity note: Use of public transportation, Métro, bus. Walking up to 4 miles throughout the day.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Today’s exploration will focus on three of the city's star attractions: the surprising Underground City, the Theater District, and the so-called Golden Square Mile including renowned McGill University and the magnificent Museum of Fine Arts. The Underground City — La ville soutteraine — is actually a collection of passageways and interconnected complexes above and below ground covering more than 20 miles (33 km), the largest such pedestrian network in the world. Befitting a city that is multicultural and bilingual, Montréal’s vibrant Theater District is also bilingual and multicultural. The Golden Square Mile was once Canada’s wealthiest neighborhood. Some of its outstanding residents were of Scottish origin, hence names such as McGill. What were once elegant single family homes — in architectural styles from Greek and Roman to medieval, Renaissance, Victorian Gothic, and more — now exist as embassies, hotels, museums, and university buildings.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: Free time. Take this opportunity to further acquaint yourself with the Golden Square Mile, exploring its impressive art galleries, imposing 19th century houses, and grand museums, including the stately McCord Museum.

Dinner: On your own. The hotel is ideally located to explore the city’s restaurant scene.

Evening: At leisure. More time for independent exploration.

DAY
4
Food Lovers' Guide to Neighborhoods, Immigration History
Montreal, QC
B,D
SpringHill Suites Old Montreal

Activity note: Use of public transportation. Walking up to 4 miles throughout the day.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: This is a day for food lovers. A local expert will lead us on a culinary adventure through the many flavors of Montréal by strolling along beloved Saint-Laurent Boulevard. Here we'll discover many colorful restaurants, brought to the city by the different ethnic communities that have settled along the length of the street over time. We will finish our food lovers' exploration at the Jean-Talon public market in Little Italy, a favorite meeting place of Montréalers. We’ll be able to savor Schwartz’s famous Montréal smoked meat, Jewish bagels, Portugal's renowned egg tarts (Pasteis de nata), true Italian coffee, and an array of Québec products at the public market.

Afternoon: Free time. As you continue exploring Montréal independently, you might like to visit the impressive Botanical Garden. A popular oasis in the heart of the city, the Montréal Botanical Garden is recognized as one of the world’s largest. You can explore the beauty of the garden through its 10 greenhouses and some 30 thematic gardens.

Dinner: At a landmark French restaurant in Old Montréal, we’ll have a 3-course plated meal including appetizer, choices of entrée, dessert of the day, coffee, hot tea, water; other beverages available for purchase from the bar. Share favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends during our farewell dinner.

Evening: At leisure. You might like to explore more on your own, attend a performance or other event, or revisit a favorite Montréal café with new friends. The Group Leader will have suggestions. Prepare for check-out and departure after our closing session in the morning.

DAY
5
Wrap Up Discussion, Program Concludes
Montreal, QC
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out 12:00 Noon.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll gather with Montréalers at a favorite local café for coffee and a farewell discussion of city life and local issues. We expect to end by 10:00 a.m. This concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.