Notre-Dame Basilica, Montreal

Notre-Dame Basilica, Montreal (must see)

A stunning example of Gothic Revival architecture, the Notre-Dame Basilica is renowned for its lavish, colorful and dramatic interior. Filled with hundreds of intricate wooden carvings and several religious statues, it was declared a National Historic Site of Canada in 1989. The $10 admission fee doesn't turn away tourists who line up to be admitted, using the very informative brochure as a self-guide (additionally, a 20-minute English/French tour is free with entry).

You get a feel for the basilica's grandness right as you approach its bell towers rising high and its three statues looking out over the metropolis: the Virgin Mary (representing Montréal), St. John the Baptist (representing Québec), and St. Joseph (representing Canada). Inside, the vaults are colored deep blue and decorated with golden stars, while the rest of the sanctuary is decorated in blues, azures, reds, purples, silver, and gold. Unusual for a church, too, the stained glass windows along the walls do not depict biblical scenes, but rather the religious and social life of the early Ville-Marie settlement, showing the city's strong ties to the Catholic religion. Another spectacular highlight is the Casavant Frères pipe organ, dated 1891, which comprises four keyboards and 7000 individual pipes.

Notre-Dame Basilica has witnessed several grand weddings (including Céline Dion's) and funerals of eminent personalities. If you're interested in classical and religious music, the building plays host to concerts throughout the year.

Tip:
The 'AURA' light show (presented usually at 7 and 9pm) is exceptional but sometimes full so plan your visit: you can book your ticket online or come early before the show timing. Try sitting somewhere in the middle – between 50-70% from the front, and more towards the middle to get the best music & light experience.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri: 8am–4:30pm; Sat: 8am–4pm; Sun: 12:30pm–4pm

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Montreal. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Notre-Dame Basilica on Map

Walking Tours in Montreal, Canada

Create Your Own Walk in Montreal

Create Your Own Walk in Montreal

Creating your own self-guided walk in Montreal is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Montreal Introduction Walking Tour

Montreal Introduction Walking Tour

The second-most populous city in Canada, Montreal is an old, yet at the same time, modern metropolis, flagship of Canada's Québec province. Sitting on an island in the Saint Lawrence River, with Mount Royal at its center, the city owes its name to this triple-peaked hill (Mont Royal in modern French, although in 16th-century French the forms réal and royal were used interchangeably).

The...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.6 Km or 2.2 Miles
Souvenir Shopping Tour

Souvenir Shopping Tour

It would be a pity to leave Montreal without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. On this walk, you will find some of the most interesting shops and markets in Montreal. Take this self guided tour to hunt for a truly unique and authentic made-in-Canadian product that will mesmerize your trip for the years to come.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.3 Km or 0.8 Miles
The RMS Titanic Walking Tour

The RMS Titanic Walking Tour

Largely owing to James Cameron's blockbuster movie, "Titanic", people from all over the world are aware of the luxury cruiser's sinking on its maiden voyage in the early morning hours of April 15, 1912. However, not everyone knows that Montreal has a significant number of Titanic-related sites. Take this walking tour to discover them!

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.5 Km or 2.2 Miles
Beautiful Religious Buildings Walking Tour

Beautiful Religious Buildings Walking Tour

This walk is designed to give you a religion- and architecture-infused introduction to Vieux-Montréal, the city's oldest part, full of hot spots and hidden gems. Most churches, chapels and cathedrals here stand as testament to the religious fervor that inspired the French settlers who landed in the mid-17-th century to build a “Christian commonwealth”. Notably, however, this is all...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.2 Km or 2.6 Miles
Historical Buildings Walking Tour

Historical Buildings Walking Tour

Home to four centuries of architecture, Montréal is a place all its own, shaped by French and English influences, where modern buildings coexist with some of the oldest and most fascinating structures. Along with areas from Expo 67 and the 1976 Olympics, Old Montréal's historic buildings stand out as some of the most enduring sights, continuing to thrive in the city and to define its...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.8 Km or 2.4 Miles
Old Montreal Walking Tour

Old Montreal Walking Tour

Old Montreal (French: Vieux-Montréal) is a historic neighborhood southeast of downtown. Founded by French settlers in 1642 as Fort Ville-Marie, Old Montreal is home to many structures dating back to the era of New France. The 17th-century settlement lends its name to the borough in which the neighborhood lies, Ville-Marie.

Most of the city's earliest still-standing buildings,...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.3 Km or 2.1 Miles

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip


Montreal Souvenirs: 15 Trip Mementos to Bring Home

Montreal Souvenirs: 15 Trip Mementos to Bring Home

The outpost of Frenchness in North America (and the world's 2nd largest francophone city after Paris), Montreal is the meeting point of the New and Old World styles, the collision of the French, English and Aboriginal cultures. The historical and ethnic uniqueness of the city is seen throughout...