10 great things to do in MontrealPosted by Martin Parker on
10 things to do in Montreal - take a travel adapter with you.
Located on the east side of Canada, close to the border with the United States, Montreal is the countries second largest city by population. The city takes its name from Mount Royal, a triple-peaked hill in the center and is built on the Island of Montreal.
The city has an interesting and diverse history, which you will want to photograph, so keep your USB travel adapter close by to charge your devices. Don’t forget that this is the French-speaking part of Canada, so many signs are in French and English.
So what are the 10 best things to do in Montreal for a first-time visitor?
The city is named after the volcanic Mount Royal peaks that dominate the skyline and they make a great place to visit. Either take the bus if you’re not feeling energetic or walk up and enjoy the sights and sounds of the woods in the city. There’s no charge for visiting and for an even better view, visit the Belvedere Observatory.
The Old Town of Montreal will keep you busy the whole day with things to see and do. It is crammed with historic buildings, and Rue Saint-Paul is one of the originals built on a grid system in around 1665. The Old Port of Montreal is part of this area also and dates back to 1611 when it was used by French fur traders.
Rightly famous for its gothic facade, the Notre-Dame Basilica is also noted for the fact that Celine Dion was married here! Inside, you’ll find stained glass windows, a beautiful chapel and magnificent 7,000 pipe organ that are most definitely worth seeing. It’s Montreal’s oldest church, having been founded in 1656.Musée des Beaux Arts
The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is Canada’s oldest museum and includes a large permanent exhibition of world art, but also holds regular temporary events with works from famous artists such as Rodin, Warhol, Matisse, Picasso, and Gaultier. The museum is also home to beautiful Bourgie Hall, a 462 seat concert hall with stained glass windows by Tiffany. It hosts a range of concerts from chamber music to jazz.Jardin Botanique
Located in the Parc Maisonneuve, where the 1976 Summer Olympics were hosted, the Montreal botanical gardens offer a break from the busy city below. With 30 themed gardens to explore and 10 greenhouses, there is a wide range of climates and plants to discover. Along with the ponds, with there resident birds, the Insectarium, an arboretum, there is plenty to keep you occupied.
Beneath modern-day Montreal, there is a hidden 17th-century village. On the corner of Place Royale in the Old Town, you’ll find Pointe-a-Calliere and here the museum of archaeology and history is located. By paying a visit to the museum, you can also explore the remains of the town, walking along cobbled streets and in the ground floors of 17th-century buildings.
Within the McCord Museum, you will find an extensive social history of Canada, with over 20,000 costumes and items of clothing from Canadian designers, over 1,000 pieces of furniture and household items, and artifacts from the First Nation peoples. For an insight into how people lived, worked and played in Canada through the centuries, this museum is a must visit.
Probably one of Montreal’s prettiest, Saint Louis Square still contains some Victorian residences, some of which have been converted into restaurants. Leading off the square is Rue Saint-Denis, which has transformed itself one of the cities hippest locations with bars and restaurants along the route that finishes at the Plateau Mont-Royal.
Near Mont-Royal, you’ll find the Saint-Joseph Oratory, dedicated to Canada’s patron saint. The building has a domed basilica which was built in 1924 and is a draw for Catholic pilgrims who come to see the tomb of Brother Andre, who was canonized after performing miraculous acts of healing.
After all the culture, perhaps a bit of local shopping will prove relaxing? Try the Atwater Market, which was first established in 1933 and is one of the oldest in Montreal. Along with fresh fruit and veg, you’ll also find maple syrup, local sweets, and candies and much more. Or just do a spot of people watching in one of the many restaurants or cafes.
We hope we’ve whetted your appetite for a visit to Montreal. It’s a diverse culture and city with much to see and do. Just remember to take your USB travel adapter and keep all your electronics charged.
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