In the winter, nobody walks the streets in Montreal; it’s too damned cold. So, the city has developed a vast network of underground tunnels that connect many of the city’s hotels, restaurants, retailers and other business establishments. The underground network is pretty spectacular in the summer, too, since the whole thing has some great air conditioning.
You can find an entrance to the underground city by looking at Metro (subway) signs. If it has the letters “RESO,” the station also serves as an entrance to the underground city. Once underground, you can choose to take the subway or explore the underground city on foot.
The underground system is pretty amazing. There are plenty of retail and dining options. The network goes several stories below ground and reaches above the surface. Also, it was designed to allow as much natural light as possible. I was definitely impressed.
I thought I’d cause some trouble with my host, telling him that this subway station design is a knock-off of the Paris metro. Instead, he just laughed and explained that this particular work was a gift to Montreal from Paris. So, he put me in my place easily. I may think before speaking next time, but as I explained to him, I doubt it.
The subway system provides great access to the city. In fairness, it’s not quite New York, Washington, DC or Seoul, but it certainly is at least a step up from Boston or Helsinki. I’ve heard great things about it. I wanted to give it a try, but when faced with the opportunity, I had to choose the streets. That’s where I prefer to be when I’m working on a story.