Located on the Ottawa River in Western Quebec, Montebello is 50 miles east of the Canadian capital, Ottawa, and 80 miles west of Montreal. The town of approximately 1,000 souls enjoys some fame from being the site of one of the world’s largest log building, the Chateau Montebello (which is also a Fairmont). Needless to say, hotel venues in Montebello include the Fairmont Chateau Montebello, which, in 2007, hosted a meeting between the leaders of Canada, Mexico and the U.S.
There is no airport in Montebello, so access to the town is from either Ottawa/Macdonald-Cartier International Airport (YOW), which is 57 miles southwest but on the other side of the Ottawa River and on the far side of the city, or Montreal-Mirabel International Airport (YMX; in French, Aeroport international Pierre-Elliott-Trudeau de Montreal), which is 50 miles east and on the Montebello side of Montreal.
The aforementioned Fairmont Chateau Montebello is the biggest show in town, with 211 rooms, a 4,000-square-foot spa, an 18-hole golf course and 19 meeting rooms for up to 350 persons. Other hotel venues in Montebello are the 44-room Auberge Montebello, which has meeting space for up to 125 people, and the 12-room Domain Monte-Bello, which has a meeting room for up to 40 persons. Over-run properties include the 18-room Motel Bel-Eau Inn and the seven-room Motel l’Anse de la Lanterne, neither of which has meeting space.
Special event venues in Montebello include the Manoir-Papineau National Historic Site, which is next door to the Fairmont Chateau Montebello and was the home of 19th-century lawyer and politician Louis-Joseph Papineau; it has extensive grounds that can be used for events. The Fairmont Chateau Montebello itself has no lack of cool spaces for functions.
French-inspired dishes featuring local ingredients are the orders of the day, and memorable restaurants here include Aux Chantignoles, the esteemed restaurant at the Fairmont Chateau Montebello; Cafe Terrasse La Lanterne, a humble, welcoming spot loved by locals, especially for its pastries; Le Bistro Montebello, for pizza and simple Italian and French fare; and the quaint, romantic Le Napoleon.
In Montebello, as throughout Quebec, French is the first language, then English. Every July the Petite Nation (named after the region’s First Nations people) Rockfest draws rockers and punks to a two-day festival.