Montreal

Called the City of Churches, Montreal certainly is full of cathedrals and chapels. But besides that, there are opportunities to brave the cold (in the Underground City if you want to get out without going outdoors or Parc du Mont-Royal if you’re more adventurous) and explore this historic city.

Notre Dame

1.) Notre Dame Basilica–This was hands down the most incredible place I saw in Montreal. It’s pretty dark inside, but the artwork behind the altar is incredible and makes the whole church look like a beautiful nighttime scene. Definitely worth the visit in my book.

2.) Old Montreal–Not too far from Notre Dame, Old Montreal is rather European with its narrow cobblestone streets and short buildings. There are a lot of historic buildings in the area too, like Montreal’s City Hall and Marché Bonsecours, an indoor market. The area isn’t huge and is filled with tourists and cheap souvenir shops, but it’s interesting to see and is one of the 1000 places to see before you die, according to Patricia Schultz.

Plateau Mont-Royal3.) Plateau Mont-Royal–Climbing the snowy Mont-Royal, from which Montreal gets its name, is a great way to get outside, brave the snow, and observe the city from a quiet distance. We spent an hour or two walking around the paths: it was a little chilly outside, but the views of the city justified the walk.

 

4.) St. Joseph’s Oratory–We spent our last day at St. Joseph’s Oratory. There’s a lot to see here with a modern basilica, an international nativity museum, and St. Andre’s heart. Can easily spend the day exploring here. We also went to La Banquise after our visit to get some poutine for lunch.

5.) Musée des Beaux-ArtsFor your fine arts fix, head to this museum (not too far from McGill). I found their Iroquois and Quebecois art to be the most interesting, and those collections are pretty extensive.

Here are some of my other picks:

Food:

  1. La Banquise–the place to go for poutine in the city
  2. The Three Brewers–A microbrewery that makes for a nice, simple spot for a pint and poutine lunch in Old Montreal.
  3. M Café–A good place for a simple lunch or breakfast of crepes with Canadian maple syrup.
  4. L’Aromate–Yes, it’s a hotel restaurant, but I found the food to be quite good and the environment is nice inside.
  5. Toqué!–I didn’t get to this famous Montreal restaurant when I visited, but I’ve heard great things about it

Activities:

  1. Basilique-Cathédrale Marie-Reine-du-Monde
  2. Place St. Jacques Cartier–A nice little square in Old Montreal.
  3. Hôtel de Ville–Montreal’s city hall right on Place St. Jacques Cartier. It’s an impressive building, and I wish that I’d gone inside.
  4. Marché Bonsecours–A market in the old neighborhood. It’s famous and has nice art vendors inside, but I didn’t find it to be anything spectacular.
  5. Musée McCord–A good, little museum to brush up on your Montreal history.
  6. McGill University–One of Canada’s top universities, and its campus is worth a short walk around.

Avoid:

  1. Rue St. Catherine is famous, but from what I saw, it seems like a seedy shopping stretch.