Friday, January 6, 2012


Over all, and compared to Quebec City, my visit to Montreal was a disappointment. I was expecting to feel like I was in Europe (like I did in Quebec City) and instead I felt like I was in New York City with a lot of French tourists. But that's just my opinion.

There were a few note-worthy sites.

The first is the Notre-Dame Basilica or Basilique Notre-Dame de Montréal, in Old Montreal. It is a beautiful example of Gothic Revival and has a world famous altarpiece. The construction took several decades, beginning in 1824 and ending with the completion of the pipe organ in 1891.

The interior of the church is a done in blues, azures, reds, purples, silver, and gold and is filled with hundreds of intricate wooden carvings and several religious statues. Unusually, the stained glass windows depict Montreal's religious history instead of biblical scenes.

The exterior of the basilica from the Place d'Armes.

The world famous altarpiece.

Another highlight of our visit was the Pointe-a-Calliere, an archeological museum that explores Montreal's past.

The name comes from the fact that Chevalier Louis Hector de Callière, the third governor of Montréal, had a home built on the spot in 1688. The museum is built upon evidence of more than 1,000 years of human activity and houses remarkable architectural remains. It has six sections: the Éperon, a modern building that has won many architectural awards (seen in the photo below); the archaeological crypt on the lower level; the renovated Ancienne-Douane building (Montréal’s first Custom House), the Youville Pumping Station, the Archaeological Field School and the Mariners House.

The tower of the Éperon overlooks the Port of Montreal and has fantastic views of the city. The crypt actually links the Éperon and the Ancienne-Douane underground, beneath the Place Royale. The Youville Pumping Station, Montréal’s first electrically operated waste water pumping station, was built in 1915 and is now an interpretation centre. It contains preserved motors, pumps, valves and electrical equipment are used to explain the role, components and operation of the station.

The Éperon

There is relatively little of Old Montreal left (at least that I saw), which I think was a major source of my disappointment.

Old Montreal. They were shooting a movie nearby, but I never found out what movie.

Another highlight was riding the Montreal Metro, because as we all know, I LOVE trains.