Montreal is the second largest city in Canada with a population of about 1.6 million. It is located in the French-speaking province of Québec in the eastern part of the country. It is said to be the second largest French-speaking city after Paris. When the Summer Olympics were held here in 1976, the city took advantage of this to undertake many construction projects, such as the shell-shaped Olympic Stadium, which is well worth seeing. In the old town, the Vieux Montreal, located on the St. Lawrence River, there are still many historic buildings. Also worth seeing is the St. Joseph’s Oratory on Mount Royal, the residential and park district Mount Royal or the Notre Dame Basilica. A visit to Montreal promises a wonderful diversity. Old and new complement each other beautifully. Montreal is stylish, modern, familiar and cozy at the same time. By the way, Montreal hosts the largest jazz festival in the world. The Festival International de Jazz de Montréal takes place every summer.
Tip 1: Notre Dame
On the south side of the Place d’Armes, it towers into the sky above Montréal – the twin-towered Basilica of Notre-Dame, built in the neo-Gothic style. In 1829, the dedication ceremony took place. The Notre-Dame Basilica of Montréal is one of the largest churches in North America and thus dominates the central square in the Old Quarter.
From the outside it is reminiscent of the Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral, from the inside it unfolds a breathtaking beauty. Whoever enters the nave, the side aisles, the sacristy and the adjacent chapel of the house of God, is greeted by a magnificent interior decor with countless, detailed sculptures, elaborately decorated woodwork and very filigree fresco work. The warm colors of the wood from brown to brown-black as well as gold and blue dominate. In addition, there are the extremely magnificent stained glass windows and an impressive organ of enormous size. Now the visitor understands why the Canadians call their church the most beautiful in the country.
Tip 2: Biosphere Montreal
The Biosphère Montréal was built in 1967 on the occasion of the world exhibition Expo 67. Similar to the Atomium in Brussels, it looks very futuristic. The imposing 62-meter-high steel sphere is located in Parc Jean-Drapeau on Ile Sainte Hélène.
The designs were created by architect Richard Buckminster Fuller (1895-1983). He was already considered a visionary at the time. For Expo 67, the Biosphère Montréal was the United States pavilion; today it is used as a water and environment museum. Which is perhaps reflected in the vision of its architect.
Tip 3: Old Montreal
No visit to Montreal should be complete without a stroll through the Vieux-Montréal district – Montreal’s old town, located near the harbor. Here, numerous worth seeing buildings in Victorian style from the 17th and 18th century are lined up next to each other. In between there are always cafes and restaurants and also many boutiques that invite you to linger and stroll.
The Basilica Notre-Dame de Montréal can also be found here. Other interesting buildings are for example the Old Customs House, the Hôtel de Ville or also the Place d’Armes in general. This is the former Montreal parade ground. Diagonally across from this square is the Seminaire de St-Sulpice, built in 1685, a neighborhood nestled along the St. Lawrence River and downtown.
Tip 4: Botanic Garden
The Jardin botanique de Montréal, the botanical garden of the city of Montreal covers an area of 75 hectares. Thematically separated, the garden presents more than 20,000 plant species of different vegetations in 20 thematic gardens in different greenhouses. With its themed gardens and a large arboretum, the Montreal Botanical Garden is the second largest botanical garden in the world. This oasis is located west of the Montreal Olympic Stadium.
In 1988, a Japanese Garden was opened, featuring garden art and bonsai trees up to 150 years old, as well as exhibits on the tea ceremony and other Japanese ceremonies. The Chinese Garden, opened in 1991, takes visitors into the world of traditional Chinese garden art. It is the largest of its kind outside China. Other gardens show the alpine area, among others. An exhibition shows the life, lifestyle, art and building techniques of the First Nation. An insectarium was built on the grounds in 1990. It is worthwhile to look at this living museum.
Tip 5: Museum of Fine Arts
Located on Rue Sherbrooke, the Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal (English: The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts) is the oldest art museum in Canada. The museum was founded in Montreal in 1860. More than 500,000 people visit the Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal, which is divided into five pavilions, every year. The entire museum presents itself on an area of 53,000 square meters, 13,000 square meters of which are exhibition space.
In addition to classical works, the Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal also displays contemporary works. The collection includes works by American artists such as Sam Francis, Robert Rauschenberg and Alexander Calder, as well as artists from Europe such as Gerhard Richter, Jörg Immendorff and Rebecca Horn.
In permanent and temporary exhibitions, the museum also presents cultural-historical testimonies, such as from the Mediterranean, art from Asia, America and Africa.