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gem of the St. Lawrence, the Paris of North America, la Ville aux cent clochers - like all clichés these phrases both blur and reveal the truth. Founded by French explorers more than 350 years ago, it is among the oldest cities on the continent, its history a rich backdrop to its vibrant multicultural life. Notorious for its harsh winters, Montreal flourishes through a hot, sweet summer enlivened by festivals; street fairs and innumerable terrace cafés where locals and visitors alike eat, drink and socialize. Its downtown bustles with life at the foot of its mountain, while history is rooted in the old quarters near the river. With its year-round party atmosphere, Montréal beats to the rhythm of its festivals: jazz, comedy, cinema, fireworks and more! The city beckons you to discover its fashionable boutiques and famed cuisine, over 30 km (18 mi.) of indoor pedestrian walkways, and its lively casino. Stroll through its colourful streets and typical neighbourhoods representative of a mosaic of nations; take a ride along one of its many bicycle paths. Riding in a horse-drawn carriage around the XVIIIth- and XIXth-century residences of Old Montréal, you will discover the imposing neo-gothic Notre-Dame Basilica, as well as museums that recount the past, such as the Pointe-à-Callière museum and the Centre d`histoire de Montréal. Downtown abounds with department stores, boutiques and cinemas, not to mention major museums, such as the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Musée d`art contemporain, the McCord Museum of Canadian History and the Canadian Centre for Architecture.
Île Notre-Dame and Île Sainte-Hélène are synonymous with vacationing fun. At Parc Jean-Drapeau, you`ll have a ball at Québec`s largest amusement park, La Ronde, and at the beach. At the Biosphère, in the former U.S. pavilion from Expo 67, you`ll discover the secrets of water, while at the Stewart Museum, located inside an authentic fort, you`ll learn about the history of the New World. In the east end of the city, in the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve neighbourhood, you will find irresistible attractions, such as the Olympic Park, host to the 1976 Olympic Games, which boasts the tallest inclined tower in the world.
On the same site, you can also visit the Biodôme, a magical place that is home to four ecosystems. Nearby, the Montréal Botanical Garden, one of the world`s largest, introduces you to a host of horticultural universes, including a Chinese garden and a Japanese garden, and at the Insectarium you can observe up close insects from around the world!
Montréal the metropolis has everything a big city can offer. But Montréal is also one-of-a-kind-a multicultural city that blends its French accent with that of over 80 other ethnic communities and charms visitors with its Euro-American ambiance. Montréal is also innovative and invigorating, offering a whirlwind of cultural creations, both traditional and modern. With a French and English history, Montreal is unique, and the second-largest city in Canada.