Enjoy the sights of Montreal
There are some cities in North America that stand out as being completely different. New Orleans is a good example of this, with its Creole heritage, hot jazz, Mardi Gras and the never ending parties and carnivals.
Another one is Montréal – while the city is definitely Canadian, there is an overriding European atmosphere that seems to come from its vibrant mix of English, French and other cultures. Whether you are spending a weekend or a week in Montréal, you are in for a unique experience. Here are some of the sights of Montreal that you just can’t miss.
Visiting Old Montreal
Montréal is actually one of the oldest cities in North America – for evidence of this, just head down to Old Montréal. Many of the buildings in this area date back to the 1700s, and the area is alive with fine restaurants and relaxed sidewalk cafés. While you are in the area, it is worth paying a visit to the Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel, which dates back to 1771. During the 19th century, sailors arriving at Montréal would make a pilgrimage to the church, making an offering to the Virgin Mary in thanks for their safe sea voyage. Because of this, the chapel is also known as the Sailor’s Church.
Staying close to Old Montréal, the Old Port is somewhere you shouldn’t miss. The first records of the port go back to 1611, when it was a French trading post. Much more recently, the port was renovated in the 1990s, and now provides an eclectic mix of historic attractions and modern amenities. Some of the must see sights of Montreal include the Montréal Science Center, as well as the Montréal Clock Tower – a memorial to Canadian sailors who died in the First World War. The headquarters of Cirque du Soleil are also at the Old Port – while the circus is now a global phenomenon, which shows at places such as the ARIA Casino in Las Vegas, Montréal is where it got its start.
Shopping in Montreal
If you live to shop, then Montréal is one of the best shopping destinations in North America. There are fascinating and diverse shopping areas across the city and its suburbs, but the downtown area is truly unique. Here, you will find the Underground City, a series of interconnected shopping complexes that is arguably the largest in the world.
To put this in context, the Underground City covers nearly 5 square miles, and contains no less than 60 shopping malls and commercial complexes. These are connected by approximately 20 miles of broad tunnels – 500,000 people pass through these every day during the winter months.
Montréal also offers some of the most incredible nightlife on the continent. You will find Montréal streets crowded at 3 AM, with people just starting to make their way home. One of the most popular areas is Crescent Street, located on the west side of the downtown area. This is home to establishments such as the Winston Churchill and Ziggy’s – a Montréal tradition.
To experience the French side of the city, head east to Rue St. Denis and drink in the atmosphere. Make sure that you pick up a smoke sandwich at Reuben’s, Dunn’s or Schwartz’s on the way – this is a Montréal specialty that you won’t soon forget.