WHAT ARE THE BEST THINGS TO DO AND SEE IN MONTREAL?
Montreal is the second largest French-speaking city in America with nearly 4 million inhabitants. Very multicultural, it is a lively city with many attractions, a great sweetness of life and a relaxed atmosphere.
The nightlife is very lively, and if you love nature, the surroundings offer plenty of activities. This selection may be useful in planning an itinerary and organizing your trip to Montreal, giving you a taste of the best things to do and places to visit.
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Here are 10 must-see things to do and see on a trip to Montreal:
1. Notre-Dame de Montréal Basilica
This authentic architectural masterpiece is a resolutely beautiful example of the Gothic Revival style. It’s overlooked by two magnificent towers that give it the air of a Parisian cathedral. This Catholic place of worship was completed in 1829, after several modifications. Ideally located on the Place d’Armes, it’s famous for its interior decoration combining paintings, religious works of art and sculptures. The basilica contains many treasures, like the immense organ of Casavant, which dates back to 1891. It offers a 20-minute guided tour for a fee.
2. The Pointe-à-Callière Museum
A visit to the Pointe-à-Callière Museum will immerse you in the heart of Montréal’s history. Among its collections, you will find archives, ancient books, pearl works, prints, in situ remains and objects from archaeological excavations. Inaugurated in 1992, the building was specifically erected on a historic site to provide visitors with an unparalleled experience. In addition to permanent and temporary exhibitions, many educational activities are also suggested. You can drop by the museum shop. You will even find a catering area there.
3. The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
Originally, the MBAM was called the “Art Association of Montreal”. It was created by collectors from all over the country and currently welcomes more than one million visitors per year. This number makes it one of the busiest places in Canada. For the pleasure of the eyes, the museum offers a unique encyclopedic collection. It includes more than 41,000 works dating from the ancient period to the present day. For example, there are decorative art objects and paintings.
4. Explore the streets of Old Montreal
You can’t really get to know the city of Montreal without a visit to the historic Old Town. If you come from Paris, you will surely find the atmosphere of your hometown with its narrow cobbled streets, small cafés, shops and old buildings. Despite the passage of time, they have retained their charm. This is what makes this neighbourhood so atypical. Saint-Paul Street is the meeting place for Greek furriers, while Saint-Vincent and Bonsecours streets are perfect for a walk.
5. See the view from the lookouts on Mount Royal
Do you want to admire the beauty of Montreal as a whole? Visit the Mount Royal lookouts located in the park of the same name. These areas have been terraced to offer tourists the best possible experience. The most popular is the Kondiaronk lookout, where you can enjoy a panoramic view of the rivers, the Montérégie mountains and downtown. It takes about 1 hour to reach the top, but it’s really worth it. The same place often hosts concerts for the general public.
6. Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal
Superbly nestled in the heart of the city, Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal is an authentic haven of peace. Construction work began in 1904 and was not completed until 1966. The architecture has been meticulously designed to give the building a significant heritage value. You won’t get lost on the way, because the imposing dome overlooking this Catholic pilgrimage site is visible from afar. Remember to visit Brother André’s chapel and the basilica.
7. Walking on the quays of the Old Port
The Quays of the Old Port are a public place where history and culture mix. Located not far from downtown, the neighbourhood offers exceptional views of Montreal. Accessible to visitors all year round, this place is the scene of various cultural events. In principle, they are free of charge. The Alexandra wharf is bordered by the Iberville ferry terminal. Further east is King Eward Wharf, home to the Imax Cinema and the Montreal Science Centre. The clock platform leads you directly to the clock tower.
8. The underground city
That’s right! The underground Montreal is by no means a legend. This 33-kilometre network connects the main shopping centres and some important buildings to each other. While some simply prefer to stroll from one corridor to another to enjoy the beauty of this underground city, others prefer to visit shops to bring back a pretty souvenir of this authentic adventure. The advantage is that you will be protected from the cold and sunrays. It will take at least 3 hours to visit everything, so try to plan your program carefully.
9. Shopping on Sainte-Catherine Street
In the city of Montreal, even window-shoppers find their happiness. Sainte-Catherine Street plunges men and women of all ages into a completely different atmosphere. Considered one of Canada’s most important shopping streets, it’s home to ready-to-wear stores and prestigious fashion boutiques. During a break, enjoy Montreal’s cuisine in one of the restaurants along the road. It’s 11 kilometres long and can be reached by car, motorcycle and bicycle. The street is also served by the metro.
10. The Montreal Biodome
A visit to the Biodôme de Montréal will allow you to discover and experience nature in a different way. The building is an aquarium, a zoo and a botanical park. The proof is that there are 700 plant species and more than 4800 types of animals that make up the American ecosystem. The structure was built to host the Montreal Summer Olympic Games in 1976. It was only in 1992 that it was converted into a museum. The site is currently closed for renovation. You can still visit it, just to admire its superb architecture.