My parents and I went on a trip to Canada earlier this year. Our first stop was Montreal, a fun mix of the western world and France. Because of this, there is a plethora of beautiful old Catholic churches. Equally as impressive was the food!
St. Patrick’s Basilica
This was my favorite church of all that we visited. It was very quiet inside and the architecture was beautiful. I could see myself meditating here regularly if I lived in Montreal.
Notre Dame Basilica
My parents and I chose to visit during the evening light show. It was spectacular! Definitely one of the highlights of our entire trip. While a bit expensive, it was totally worth it! The only thing I wish is that we would’ve gone to see what the cathedral looked like in the daylight, as well, since it was cloaked in darkness when we were there.
St. Joseph’s Oratory du Mont Royal
Up on the Mont (mountain), this cathedral affords great views of the city. We went specifically for a summer concert; their website shows that they host various concerts throughout the year as well. It’s quite a hike to the top, though they do have an escalator for those not looking for a workout. The garden is worth the walk, too.
Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral
Built in the late 19th century, this cathedral is giant with ornate decoration all throughout.
Montreal is famous for bagels and poutine. We were on a mission to try the best of both! We went to St. Viateur for honey-dipped, wood-fired bagel sandwiches and La Banquise for poutine. I loved the bagels (and, dare I say, they rival New York bagels?!), and the poutine was…interesting. If you’ve never had poutine, it’s basically french fries topped with cheese curds and smothered in gravy.
A few other delicious places of note:
Our AirBnB was located in Verdun, a little neighborhood near the water. I quite enjoyed the area in part because of its many restaurant options. On our first night, we walked and walked, finally settling for a Peruvian restaurant called Villa Wellington. It was insanely good – both the meal and the dessert – and the waitstaff was impeccable. I may even go back to Montreal just eat there…
While we traipsed through the cathedrals in the financial district, we worked up an appetite so headed for Chinatown. We stopped in a restaurant called Ethan to have dim sum. There are tons of delicious looking restaurants in Chinatown, so I’m sure you couldn’t go wrong with wherever you choose, but we were in total like with our meal here. Okay, so when I come back to Montreal to eat dinner at Villa Wellington, I’ll definitely eat here for lunch!
But, wait, there’s more!
Besides the churches and food, there’s a lot to do in Montreal. Here are a few of our favorites:
So beautiful! From the chalet (chateau/castle) with fabulous views to the lake at the bottom, we loved Mont Royal. Take a hike around the top of the park to see a giant cross that lights up at night for the city to see.
Walking Tour of Old Montreal
Free Montreal Tours offers – you guessed it! – free tours of Old Montreal. I’ve done these free tours in multiple cities because it’s a great way to see the city and get in some history. Tip what you want, leave when you want. This tour walks you through the churches and markets in the historic Old Montreal.
McGill University and the Redpath Museum
It was a-pourin’ on our sightseeing day, so purchased umbrellas and made our way to the Redpath Museum at McGill University. A free natural history museum , there were taxidermied animals, as well as displays on world cultures and mineralogy. The museum is housed in the oldest building specifically built to be a museum in Canada, dating back to 1882.
Because we were only visiting Canada for about a week and wanted to also see Toronto, my parents and I only had a few days in Montreal. Montreal is the type of city where you could plop yourself down for a while in a hostel or Airbnb and just explore – eat at new restaurants, lounge at coffee shops, and peruse the many churches and museums.
**I made a Google My Maps for our time in Montreal, including all of the spots we didn’t get to. You can check that out here.