The city of Laval, conglomerated from 14 smaller municipalities in 2000, covers the island Île Jésus and some smaller islands to the northwest of Montreal. Largely rural, the city's main population center is on the Autoroute 15 corridor and its southeast coast, which faces Montreal across the Rivière des Prairies.
By car From Montreal: Autoroute 15 (Autoroute des Laurentides) takes you directly into the centre of Laval. Autoroute 13 takes you to the western part of Laval, including the "Chomedy" area. You can also take a bridge to Laval via boulevard Curé-Labelle or avenue Papineau. The bridges to Laval can have very heavy traffic during evening rush hour. A toll bridge to eastern Laval via Autoroute 25 in the east end of Montreal is scheduled to open in October 2011.
By subway As of April 2007, the city of Laval is connected to Montreal by the orange line of the metro at 3 stations: Cartier, de la Concorde and Montmorency. Parking is available, but be sure to arrive early in the morning on weekdays.
By train Train service from Montreal is provided by the Agence Metropolitain de Transport (AMT), which operates two lines to Laval (one to the centre of the Laval, the other to the western tip.)
By bus Although the metro system now extends to Laval, it is still possible to get to Laval via the "old" method of getting off at Henri-Bourassa metro station in Montreal and taking the Laval bus across the bridge to Laval.
By car The city is (more or less) laid out in a grid. Autoroute 15 splits Laval roughly in two. An address with the suffix "O" or "W" (ouest or west) is west of Autoroute 15; the suffix "E" means east of Autoroute 15. If you are going north, address numbers increase; if you are going east or west, address numbers increase as you get farther from Autoroute 15.
The major north-south highways in Laval are Autoroute 13, Autoroute 15 (also known as the Laurentian Autoroute/Autoroute des Laurentides), Autoroute 19 and Autoroute 25 The majore east-west thoroughfares are Boulevard de la Concorde, Boulevard Saint-Martin, Autoroute 440, and Boulevard Dagenais. (The "east-west" and "north-south" designations for these routes are not perfectly aligned with cardinal directions.)
By bus The Societe de transport de Laval provides extensive service on the island of Laval and connects it with the Montreal metro system.
Although a separately-administered city and (officially) a separate tourist region from Montreal, Laval is essentially a suburb of the city of Montreal. Much of Laval consists of bedroom communities and businesses that need cheaper land than is available in downtown Montreal, making it of limited interest for tourists. There are hotels in Laval which are considerably cheaper than downtown Montreal, although if staying at one of these hotels, a car would be very useful.
Laval has many suburban shopping malls, such as Carrefour Laval (the largest), Centre Laval, and Centropolis. Prices are a little cheaper than downtown Montreal, although the cost of gas to travel there tends to negate the price advantage.