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Old 10-16-2012, 09:47 AM
 
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Thanks for the train info. After I (stupidly) asked about train service, I realized I could google it myself. Is Quebec really that French? No bilingual signage/menus etc.? I was able to around Paris pretty well and found lots of English speakers. Not so in Quebec? I have a good grounding in Spanish so that helps somewhat.
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Old 10-16-2012, 10:15 AM
 
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Been many times! I'm American.

You can do both and see everything. In fact, I think spending a week in either of these two places would be excessive for the travel pace I like. If you take a week, do 3 days in Quebec City which is unique and has a lot of charm, and then do 4 days in Montreal, which is a stimulating metro with lots to do and see, in addition to great food. I recommend that you take part of a day from Montreal, if you rent a car, and head north toward Mont Tremblant and check out the small towns in the Laurentians Mountains (les Laurentides). Not much English spoken there, those are REAL Quebecois.

Quebec is one of the most beautiful places I've seen. Also, right around now is the time to go, for peak fall color. Many people from all over the world come to see that. Be sure to understand a minimal amount of French to deal with parking signage for days of the week, etc. Also, on the island of Montreal, the is NO right turn, ever, on a red signal light, even if it's clear. If you don't have a car, it will be VIARail or bus service by a company called Orleans, I believe.
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Old 10-16-2012, 10:24 AM
 
Location: Gatineau, Québec
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oddstray View Post
Interesting - my experience (decades ago, but still ... ) was the opposite. Montreal seemed accustomed to having tourists and accommodating to them. In Quebec City, we tried to ask which gate our bus was leaving. They refused to speak to us in English and my French wasn't up to the job.
Maybe it's because they didn't know how?
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Old 10-16-2012, 10:29 AM
 
Location: Gatineau, Québec
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sayulita View Post
Thanks for the train info. After I (stupidly) asked about train service, I realized I could google it myself. Is Quebec really that French? No bilingual signage/menus etc.? I was able to around Paris pretty well and found lots of English speakers. Not so in Quebec? I have a good grounding in Spanish so that helps somewhat.
It will be similar to what you experienced in France. People who can speak English are hit and miss in general, but anywhere remotely touristy will have staff who can speak English.

Montreal is much more bilingual than Quebec. Sort of like Amsterdam if you have ever been there. Montreal has a fairly large English minority population and is also closer to the U.S. and Ontario borders. Plus it is more of an international city. You may still encounter the occasional French only speaker in Montreal, but it would be much rarer than in Quebec City or rural areas of Quebec.

Anyway, if you've been to France and did OK you shouldn't really be worried about language on a trip to Quebec.
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Old 10-16-2012, 10:50 AM
 
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Originally Posted by robertpolyglot View Post
Been many times! I'm American.

You can do both and see everything. In fact, I think spending a week in either of these two places would be excessive for the travel pace I like. If you take a week, do 3 days in Quebec City which is unique and has a lot of charm, and then do 4 days in Montreal, which is a stimulating metro with lots to do and see, in addition to great food. I recommend that you take part of a day from Montreal, if you rent a car, and head north toward Mont Tremblant and check out the small towns in the Laurentians Mountains (les Laurentides). Not much English spoken there, those are REAL Quebecois.

Quebec is one of the most beautiful places I've seen. Also, right around now is the time to go, for peak fall color. Many people from all over the world come to see that. Be sure to understand a minimal amount of French to deal with parking signage for days of the week, etc. Also, on the island of Montreal, the is NO right turn, ever, on a red signal light, even if it's clear. If you don't have a car, it will be VIARail or bus service by a company called Orleans, I believe.
That sounds like a great plan. We weren't planning to rent a car but might rethink it. I'd prefer to not have the hassle and expense. I'd love to go for the fall colors but alas, the friend I'm traveling with is a school teacher and only has summer available for travel. Plus I'm combining this with a trip to Toronto to visit my niece and her husband and child. They, too, are teachers, so the plan is for July.

But all the advice given here has convinced me to visit both places. Thanks for the input and keep it coming. Think I'll go to a bookstore (the famous Powell's Books here in Portland) and find a good guide for both places.
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Old 10-16-2012, 11:06 AM
 
Location: Central Mass
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Quebec City is my favourite city in North America. It's a wonderful place and I've only been there in the middle of summer. Maybe next fall, we'll drive up... There's a whole winter festival thing too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Acajack View Post
Maybe it's because they didn't know how?
Funny story: when I went, we ate at the McDonalds on Grande Allee (stayed a week right next to there, then across the river in Levis) right outside the citadel. A girl running the counter spoke no English and needed help. The only French speakers in my party spoke poor continental French, which is a bit different than Quebec-French, like Mexican Spanish is different from Spain-Spanish. The funny part is that Grande Allee right there is one of the most touristy parts of town!
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Old 10-16-2012, 02:40 PM
 
Location: Gatineau, Québec
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Originally Posted by scorpio516 View Post
Quebec City is my favourite city in North America. It's a wonderful place and I've only been there in the middle of summer. Maybe next fall, we'll drive up... There's a whole winter festival thing too.



Funny story: when I went, we ate at the McDonalds on Grande Allee (stayed a week right next to there, then across the river in Levis) right outside the citadel. A girl running the counter spoke no English and needed help. The only French speakers in my party spoke poor continental French, which is a bit different than Quebec-French, like Mexican Spanish is different from Spain-Spanish. The funny part is that Grande Allee right there is one of the most touristy parts of town!
Yeah. Statistically speaking, about 40% of the population in the Montreal area speaks French only. But in the Quebec City area, it's over 60% that speak French only.
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Old 10-17-2012, 09:58 AM
 
Location: SoCal
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Acajack View Post
Maybe it's because they didn't know how?
At a public transportation hub in the second city of Quebec province? They knew how.

To be fair, this was many decades ago. From what I've read more recently, the people of Quebec City have figured out how to be a bit more forgiving of us non-French-speaking tourists.
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Old 10-17-2012, 12:01 PM
 
Location: Toronto, Ottawa Valley & Dunedin FL
1,409 posts, read 2,362,365 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sayulita View Post
Thanks for the train info. After I (stupidly) asked about train service, I realized I could google it myself. Is Quebec really that French? No bilingual signage/menus etc.? I was able to around Paris pretty well and found lots of English speakers. Not so in Quebec? I have a good grounding in Spanish so that helps somewhat.
Yes, it's really that French, and there are no road signs in English. Quebec City is much more French than Montreal. In Montreal, it's easy to get by in English in stores and restaurants, but not so much in Quebec. It may have changed, but they were also less welcoming in Quebec City to tourists. Also be aware that Quebec City is mobbed with tourists in the summer, so shoulder season would be better.

I think Montreal is an amazing city, and you could easily spend a week there. I would imagine 2-3 days would be plenty for Quebec City.
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Old 10-17-2012, 07:12 PM
 
14,299 posts, read 24,082,231 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oddstray View Post
At a public transportation hub in the second city of Quebec province? They knew how.

To be fair, this was many decades ago. From what I've read more recently, the people of Quebec City have figured out how to be a bit more forgiving of us non-French-speaking tourists.
You are DEAD WRONG!

I was in MONTREAL for a year and found that at least 70% of the subway and transit workers spoke NO ENGLISH. They were quite friendly but you could not always get a response in English. When that happened, about 90% of the time, one of the locals would help out.

It is important to point out that a lot of the transit workers are older and the push in Quebec has been toward ONE language (and it is NOT ENGLISH).

See the Official Languages Act of 1974:
http://www.oqlf.gouv.qc.ca/charte/reperes/Loi_22.pdf


If that was the case in MONTREAL, why would Quebec, where there is a much small Anglophone population have bus drivers who speak English?

Once you get past the suburbs of Montreal, you need to have a very basic knowledge of conversational French to get by.

==============

If you want to meet a lot of Americans in Montreal, sit at a bus stop reading an English newspaper and you WILL be popular.
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