It’s a short post, but a second one nevertheless. I was considering not to post about this one, since it’s not a museum, but I looked back and saw I did a religious site before, so I might as well put it in, too. I won’t make a habit of it, but this one is another beauty…
Basilique Notre-Dame de Montréal, located in Montreal, Quebec
(Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal)
Basilique Notre-Dame de Montréal is open Monday through Friday from 8am to 4:30pm, Saturday from 8am to 4pm, and Sunday from 12:30pm to 4pm. Admission to the basilica is 6 USD or CAD (the basilica doesn’t offer change if you use USD, so it’s 6 bucks regardless of which currency you use). The Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal is accessible via walking, driving or public transportation. The basilica is located in Old Montreal, which is a major tourist attraction and has plenty to see, so if you are already in area, walking is the best option. However, if you are farther away, then walking isn’t a good option as Montreal is quite big and may take a while to get from one area to another. Driving is one way to get to the basilica if you are far away; however there’s no parking on site, but there are parking lots nearby and meters on the streets (not quite sure about the parking situation as I didn’t have a car). Public transportation is another option; there are few bus stops nearby or one can take the 2 train to the Station Place d’Armes and walk about 5 minutes to reach the Notre-Dame Basilica. There are several museums nearby, such as the Museum of Montreal Bank and Pointe-à-Callière, if you enjoy visiting museums (like me) or you can walk about Old Montreal and see the various old buildings (which is an enjoyable experience).
The Basilique Notre-Dame de Montréal offers a 20 minute guided tour in both English and French that provides an overview on the history of the basilica. (The first tour is at 9:30am.) The guided tour is included in the admission, so it’s a good opportunity to learn more about the basilica, but if you don’t have the time or can’t understand the languages, there are leaflets in various other languages that lets you explore the basilica on your own. The Basilique Notre-Dame de Montréal is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and is actually the 2nd church on site; the original stone church was built in 1672. By 1800, the original church wasn’t large enough to accommodate the congregation, so the current basilica was approved for construction in 1823. The basilica is built in the Gothic Revival style; the exterior is modeled after the Westminster Abbey in London, while the interior was inspired by the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris. Unlike many other churches, the stained glass windows of the basilica depicts scenes of Montreal’s religious and social history as opposed to biblical scenes. In addition, there is a pipe organ that is used regularly for weekend masses.
My usual travel buddy and I spent a total of 35 minutes at the Basilique Notre-Dame de Montréal; 15 minutes for self exploration (to take pictures and look around) and 20 minutes for the guided tour. As per usual, others will take more or less time depending on how interested they are. (The lines to enter the basilica do get longer as the day goes on, so if you are interested, make the basilica the first stop of the day, so that you can experience the basilica without the crowds and not have to waste time waiting on line.) The Basilique Notre-Dame de Montréal is splendid, so it’s well worth the admission, especially if you attend the guided tour, which is highly educational and includes some fun tidbits. Anyone interested in architecture and/or religion will definitely want to stop by and spend some time. Casual visitors, even non-religious folks, will most likely enjoy a visit to the basilica. The only ones who may not enjoy the visit as much are families with small children as there really isn’t anything geared towards the younger kids. The basilica truly is a splendor to behold, so if you are in Montreal, don’t miss out on magnificence that is the Basilique Notre-Dame de Montréal.