Things To Do In Montreal
The French-speaking city of Montreal is the third-largest city in Canada. A favorite holiday region, the province of Québec is dotted with lakes and the landscape is perfect for all leisure and outdoor adventures. There are numerous quaint tourist villages, countless hotels of all categories and themed resorts that are very well equipped to accommodate the needs of families on vacation. Climb the beautiful 4-mile trail up Mont Tremblant and see a spectacular view of the region, with its contrasting colors of the forests and intense blue lakes.
When to Go:
The high season in the region of Québec usually begins every June 24 (Jean-Baptiste Day) and lasts until September (Labor Day). In Québec City, the period from Christmas to New Year's and February weekends throughout the huge season of the Carnaval Festival are the busiest season in Montreal. Toward the north, the Laurentian Mountains and its ski slopes are filled with tourists from all over the world, even during the cold months. The hotels are destined to be full and will charge their most astounding rates during this season.
Low season is through March and April, when few occasions are booked and winter activities begin to be risky. The late-fall months of October and November additionally have lower tourism because there are no major events to celebrate.
The season of fall (Sept-Oct) also short, with cold days and nights. It's throughout this season that Canadian maple trees burst with color.
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Winter brings in the snow for skiing enthusiasts. The snow and ice are available from November to March. For a lot of people, Montréal city can be visited any time of the year because of its particularly cool climate all year round.
These are the things to do when in the city of Montreal:
It is very impressive to see these huge sculptures made from plants and flowers. The most-liked mosaic here at the Mosaicultures Internationales features birds that are reflected in the water; Mother Nature is also popular. This is poetry, talent and imagination, combined all together in one attraction. The artist meticulously tames the plants to build these spectacular looking Mosaicultures. The sculptures depict picturesque images that tell stories, and deliver landscapes, environments, and symbolism -- in short it is superb and definitely a must-see when in Montreal.
The themes will delight you, the inventiveness of the gardeners will surprise you, and your eyes will be amazed.
Wear comfortable shoes to navigate the park and bring enough memory for your camera to capture all the great pictures. The set pieces are beautiful and well maintained, plus there are several benches to rest. Arrive early to avoid waiting in line and for the availability of parking. An Insectarium is right next door, and it is also worth seeing.
In Mount Royal, you can walk around and see lots of attractions. The uphill climb to this mountain begins from the campus of McGill University. Once you reach the Avenue des Pins after the traffic lights along Peel Street, you need to walk to the side of the mountain and there you will see a ladder to the top. Climb all the way up to the top and it will lead you directly to the observation platform.
This is the best part of the Royal Mountain. From the observation platform, you can see all of Montreal and the surrounding landscape. Near the lookout pavilion stands the Mount Royal Chalet, where you can warm up, use the restroom and in winter you will want to buy hot drinks from a vending machine. This mountain is a huge green area close to town with a preserved forest. There are provided tracks for jogging or cycling.
Notre Dame Basilica
The Notre Dame Basilica is one of the biggest and most beautiful Catholic churches in Montreal. It is best to visit this church in the evening to see a spectacular light and video show (with headphones). This show is called the "Et la lumière fut" or in English “And then there was Light.” It narrates the story of Montréal and particularly highlights the history of the old church. For this purpose, the whole church is initially covered. After the show, the covers are gradually lifted to reveal the wonderfully-illuminated golden altar with the lighted midnight-blue ceiling. It is a marvelous sight! After the presentation, visitors are given 30 minutes to explore the rest of the Church.
The Notre Dame Cathedral has striking architecture, stained glass windows, and religion-inspired mosaics on its walls and domed ceiling. The huge apse dominates over everything else and the majestic organ creates a metaphysical atmosphere. All visitors, regardless of faith, should see the Notre Dame Basilica.
Montreal Botanical Gardens
The Montreal Botanical Gardens stands opposite the Olympic Park in Montreal city. It presents plants from all around the world. The botanical garden has a café and a restaurant. Be sure to visit this garden in good weather. The park is so huge, you will get lost if you tour it alone and without the guide map. It is divided into several areas, and is an ideal choice to visit when in the city. Because of its size, it is hard to see everything in one day.
The most-visited areas are the Japanese and Chinese gardens. Upon entrance, these sections will immediately capture your attention because of the long lines. They have a butterfly garden (Les Papillons), where you can enter a room with hundreds of species of various butterflies flying around you. This botanical garden is a wonderful tour to do with children.
Old Montreal is definitely the most charming part of Montreal city. The place breathes history with its beautiful architecture, and everything is very well preserved. There are several nice restaurants and souvenir shops. The view of the harbor is wonderful. In winter the site also features an animated roller rink. You can try a local delicacy -- maple syrup poured on ice and then wound on a stick -- sold at a stall in the main square, truly a delight. The old port looks lovely especially if you approach it from the river.
The old mansions evoke a great sense of age. Immigrants from France founded old Montreal during the long confrontation with the British, and this is the reason why it has an unusual mixture of French and English spirit (predominantly French, however!). The majestic architecture of the old buildings is well preserved even though they are half-buried in snowdrifts for part of every year. Complete the tour with a ride along the canal by bike, or on board a small wooden vessel. Take a tour guide because they can explain the details and history of every structure you will find in this place.
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (Musee des Beaux-Arts)
Fabergé and Michel Lemieux Pilon are the not-to-be-missed exhibitions here in the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (Musee des Beaux-Arts). The museum presents excellent exhibitions that are both fun and educational. Some tips: buy the card for Montreal museums /transportation (bus and metro) for three days. If you are a tourist in Montreal for more than three days, and if you like cultural discoveries, this card can help you save money on admission fees. It is not expensive, especially compared to many European cities that offer an exhibition about Faberge.
Start the tour by watching the Fabergé film; it helps to understand the whole purpose of the museum. In the exhibition about Michel Lemieux, spend some time in the room with visual effects and take time to listen to the small video clips, they are very interesting. Also, do not forget to go to the McCord Museum located on the same street, as well as the City of Sciences (Lascaux), Tips to Callières (Marco Polo) and all around the complex of the Botanical Garden (Planetarium, Insectarium , etc.).
St. Joseph's Oratory of Mount Royal
The St. Joseph's Oratory of Mount Royal is an oasis of peace in busy Montreal. Located on the northern slope of Mont Royal (West side), the site offers a spectacular view of the entire northwest area of the city. From here you can see the planes landing at Dorval Airport. On clear days you can also see the serene region of "Laurentides". The oratory has an interesting museum and a nice presentation of the holy chamber dedicated to Frère André Saint André de Montréal.
The interesting part is the background of flower gardens that will appear in all their glory once you reach the place. It is not easy to get into this church because you have to climb a fairly extensive staircase. The effort is rewarded when you reach the imposing structure with elegant architecture and a panoramic landscape that you can enjoy from the top. Certainly, it is one of the most fascinating sanctuaries and noteworthy attractions in Canada. It welcomes masses of believers who gather in the chapel of St. Joseph in the most serious atmosphere of meditation and devotion. The nave and niches, and the chapel that characterizes the mission of St. Joseph immediately impress guests.
Cirque de Soleil
The Cirque de Soleil magic show in Montreal is very good, it has amazing artists and the quality is really unique. The choreographed acts are perfect and hold the attention of the audience from beginning to end. Even the wardrobes of the performers are eye-catching, as are the props and animals they use. The organization at this venue is very good, with several bathrooms available and many attendants to sell food and drink.
Besides the optimal structure of the place, there are discounted prices for students. And even if not in a seat close to the stage, your view will be very good and it's hard not to be moved by the spectacle. Recognized all over the world, Cirque du Soleil never fails to evoke imagination, the senses and emotions. Do not miss it because you will get carried away by the mystique and the live music that accompanies the show.
Lachine Canal (Canal de Lachine)
The Lachine Canal was -- until the opening of the St Lawrence Seaway -- the official waterway for trade between Europe and central North America in older times. It is now re-opened for boating and tourism purposes, it allows the small boats to go up the river without using the new Seaway. The bike path along the canal is beautiful and well maintained; it starts from Dorval and continues west up to the Old Montreal area. For pedestrians, it's a bit long to go through (7.5 miles the city center). For others, those few minutes on the bench facing the St-Laurent at the end of the journey will be a moment of pure relaxation and well-being. A tour of this place will take you back to the industrial past of Montreal.
Cathedral of Marie-Reine-du-Monde
The interior of the Cathedral of Marie-Reine-du-Monde is superb. The lamps are quite unique -- shaped like boats, as Mary Queen of the World is the recognized patron saint of fishermen. From the outside it looks simple, but the moment you enter the gilded ceiling, the starry sky in gold leaf, and the wooden columns at the altar will dazzle you.
It is a replica of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, and truly worth a visit -- which by the way is free. It is a magnificent cathedral with its large Greek columns and decorative cornice statues. The cathedral integrates well into its surroundings by its imposing style. Inside as well as outside it strikes a fascinating resemblance to the Church of Rome. Do not miss the side chapels and their decorations either! Besides being one of the most beautiful churches in Montreal, the Cathedral is near the financial center and other attractions.
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