City Orientation Walk II, Montreal (Self Guided)

Montreal is an old, yet at the same time, modern metropolis, flagship of Canada's Quebec. Sitting on an island in the Saint Lawrence River with Mt. Royal (to which the city owes its name) at its center, Montreal represents a blend of architectural moods, from French colonial to bohemian, and a wealth of cultural trends and notable attractions – historic buildings, parks, museums, galleries and more. To appreciate Montreal in its entirety, take this orientation walk and enjoy yourself in this beautiful city to the fullest!
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City Orientation Walk II Map

Guide Name: City Orientation Walk II
Guide Location: Canada » Montreal (See other walking tours in Montreal)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 10
Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.2 km
Author: doris
1
Place d'Armes

1) Place d'Armes (must see)

Place d’Armes square is one of the oldest public sites in Montreal. This square was developed in 1693 and played a major role as a stage for various military events in the past. Located between Notre Dame and Saint Jacque Streets, Place d’Armes square is an outstanding historical vista.

The square boasts of Paul de Chomedey monument designed by Louis Philippe Hebert. Buildings that represent different eras surround this square. Montreal’s first skyscraper – the New York Life building – is located along the square.

An exquisite art deco was added to the square in 1929. The Aldred building is another impressive skyscraper situated nearby. This architecturally impressive building is designed in such a manner that the street below gets maximum natural lighting.

The National Bank of Canada Tower, built in 1967, is also a part of Place d’Armes square. This building was constructed in a post-war architectural style and is the only example of its kind in the city.

Notre Dame Basilica is the centermost local attraction. It was built in 19th century and is an excellent example of neo-Gothic movement. The decorative elements of this basilica are impressive. The interiors are carved from rare woods and are painted or gilded. The large rose windows allow muted light inside enhancing the ambiance.

Why You Should Visit:
Beautiful place to stop, have a coffee or snack and marvel at the historical, French-inspired architecture and monuments including a memorial monument to Paul de Chomedey de Maisonneuve, the founder of Montreal. Beautiful views of Notre Dame to boot.
Sight description based on wikipedia
2
Notre-Dame Basilica

2) Notre-Dame Basilica (must see)

Notre-Dame Basilica is renowned for its lavish, colorful and enticing interiors. It is a stunning example of Gothic Revival style architecture. It took years to complete this majestic structure. The original church was demolished in 1830 and was reconstructed.

The interiors are carved from gilded and painted rare woods. The imported glass windows expertly depict the rich history of Montreal as compared to other churches here where you will only find biblical scenes. The ceiling is deep blue in color and decorated with golden stars. Interior walls of this Basilica are painted in sky blue color offering a stunning effect. Look around and you feel like you are standing under the vast open sky. The impressive paintings, religious statues, exquisite wooden carvings, rich altar and appealing stained glass windows are some of the notable features of this basilica. The 10 bells that toll on special occasions cast a spell on the worshipers. This church was designed by Irish-American architect James O'Donnell.

Pope John Paul II was instrumental in raising the status of Notre-Dame church to a basilica in 1982. This church was also declared a National Historic Site of Canada in 1989.

Notre-Dame Basilica has witnessed several grand weddings and funerals of eminent personalities. If you plan on visiting Notre-Dame, do not miss the live concerts in the basilica.

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 of the basilica – 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
Sight description based on wikipedia
3
Chinatown

3) Chinatown

Chinatown in Montreal is located in the area of De la Gauchetière Street in Montreal. The neighborhood contains many Asian restaurants, food markets, and convenience stores as well being home to many of Montreal's East Asian community centers, such as the Montreal Chinese Hospital and the Montreal Chinese Community and Cultural Center. The part of La Gauchetière that crosses through Chinatown is a pedestrian walkway, making it more inviting for a stroll. On several weekends during the summer, the street becomes a lively outdoor fair.
Sight description based on wikipedia
4
Old Montreal

4) Old Montreal (must see)

Taking you back to New France era, Old Montreal is one of the oldest areas frequented by tourists. This neighborhood is ideally located in Ville-Marie’s borough and is flanked by Ruelle des Fortifications at the northern side, McGill St. on the western side, Saint Lawrence River on its southern side and Berri St on the eastern side.

Ville Marie borough is kept vibrant and energetic by its ever active neighborhoods such as the downtown core, McGill Ghetto, Latin Quarter, Chinatown, Gay Village and Old Montreal. Tourists enjoy getting around this place in public transit to enjoy shopping, eating at the restaurants and visiting top Ville-Marie museums.

If you visit Old Montreal between July and October, you can enjoy the famous Montreal Ghost Walks here. The darker side of local history is revealed to you by a local storyteller who will take you on an eerily exciting trip through haunted locations. You can choose to go on the west or east side walking tour. Old Montreal definitely packs a punch in terms of visitor experience.

Why You Should Visit:
A stroll through Old Montreal will give you a feel of European charm in North America. The cobblestone streets, the architecture, the restaurants and art galleries – all make an irresistible combination.

Tip:
You can walk from one end to the other of what is Old Montreal in 15-20 minutes, but there is a lot packed into that small section so you can easily spend 2 to 3 days exploring it.
Sight description based on wikipedia
5
Place Jacques-Cartier

5) Place Jacques-Cartier

Place Jacques-Cartier is a square located in Old Montreal and an entrance to the Old Port of Montreal. During the high tourist season, the street hosts many street artists and kiosks. At any time of year, one can find restaurants on both sides of the street and many more on the surrounding streets of Vieux Port, notably on Rue Saint-Paul.
Sight description based on wikipedia
6
City Hall

6) City Hall (must see)

Montreal City Hall is a five-storied flashy building exclusively constructed to house the municipal administration. Built in the second empire style, it is one of the most impressive and spectacular buildings in Old Montreal. It was constructed between 1872 and 1878 as per the designs suggested by architects Alexander Cowper Hutchison and Henri-Maurice Perrault. This building survived a major fire break in 1922 after which architect Louis Parant completely remodeled the same with more robust construction.

The exterior of the building is decorated with attractive turrets, balconies and mansard roofs. You can enjoy an amazing sight of the building in the evenings when it is completely illumined with hundreds of bulbs. The interior is decorated with elegant and exquisite art pieces collected from all over the world. The marble flooring, hand-carved ceiling, stained-glass windows, decorative lampshades and a huge bronze and glass chandelier add to the glamor and beauty of the hall. The hall of honor is very interesting as it displays portraits of all the mayors who have held office.

As opposed to many government buildings where public entry is restricted, Montreal City Hall permits visitors to take a quick 15-minute tour.

Tip:
Just walk into the City Hall and you'll be given a free tour of the building. There are a handful of tours to choose from, with the schedules clearly visible when you walk in.
Tours are both in French or English, so check the schedule for the language you need.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri: 8:30am-5pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
7
Bonsecours Market

7) Bonsecours Market

What to buy here: Artisan Jewelry.

Quebeckers have a long history of working with their hands, ever since the first settlements in the 17th century, whether they were carpenters, painters, cooks or jewelers. This heritage is still very strong today and results in beautiful local works of art, always made with love by expert artisans, and jewelry being the prevalent industry. With the ever growing popularity of certified Canadian diamonds, which are mined, cut and polished in the Northwest Territories of Canada, it’s only natural that this trend has inspired the artisan-jewelers of Montreal, offering a few hand-made and unique items. Rings, earrings, bracelets, necklaces, there is certainly something perfect for a special someone – and nothing says “from Canada with love” like a certified diamond! The best place to get your hands on such coveted treasures is at the Bonsecours Market (350 Saint-Paul Street East, opening hours vary) in Old-Montreal, the local artisans’ Mecca. Obviously, these treasures come with a salty bill, but an exceptional piece of diamond jewelry is a priceless and timeless souvenir.
8
Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours

8) Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours (must see)

Built in 1771, Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours is today regarded as a treasure in Montreal. It is the oldest surviving chapel in old Montreal and offers a peaceful ambiance for worshipers. This chapel sits on the ruins of an older church of 1950 that was burnt in fire during a war when Montreal was under French rule.

The decor of the chapel is simple and elegant. The hanging lamps shaped like sailing ships are very pretty and give the chapel a nautical flair in keeping with its reputation as a Sailors' Church. As you visit the chapel, climb up the spire and enjoy the spectacular views of Saint Lawrence River and Old Port.

Generations of staunch worshipers have contributed wholeheartedly to the renovation, restoration and decoration of this chapel. Recent restoration work revealed several frescoes that were hidden for centuries.

The chapel houses a museum dedicated to Marguerite Bourgeoys, the founder of the congregation of Notre-Dame. Under the chapel, you can find interesting archaeological excavations that give you an insight into the history of Montreal.

Why You Should Visit:
Definitely worth a peek inside to see the cool miniature boats hanging from the ceiling. The museum attached to the church is also well worth the time. Included is access to the tower with some of the best views of the harbor. You also have the opportunity to visit the archeological dig of the first church under the current church.

Tip:
Make sure you go around to the back of the church. This could be the only church you'll ever see where the view of the back of the church eclipses that of the front!

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sun: 11am-4pm
Jan 16 - Feb 28: closed
Sight description based on wikipedia
9
Saint Denis Street

9) Saint Denis Street

Saint Denis Street (officially in French: Rue Saint-Denis) is a major north-south thoroughfare. Saint-Denis serves as one of the primary thoroughfares of both the Latin Quarter, where it plays host to a number of bars and restaurants, to the Plateau Mont-Royal, where it is known as one of the best places to view Montreal's distinct style of architecture.
Sight description based on wikipedia
10
Plateau Mont-Royal

10) Plateau Mont-Royal (must see)

Located to the east of Mont-Royal and to the north of downtown and Sherbrooke Street, Plateau Mont-Royal is a must-visit destination on your trip to Montreal. The name reflects the fact that it is located on Sherbrooke Street’s flat terrain.

The Western part of the Plateau was previously inhabited by Jews and the Eastern part by Quebecois. This was predominantly a working-class neighborhood and was also home to famous Quebec writers such as Mordecai Richler and Michel Tremblay. Read their books and you will find that most of their stories were set in the Plateau of fifties and sixties.

You will be pleasantly surprised by the vibrant atmosphere at the Plateau Mont-Royal with brightly collared homes, bookshops, charming cafes, and a great attitude. Do not miss out on some of the popular tourist attractions on Saint Laurent Boulevard.

Visit the source of the delicious Montreal smoked meat at Schwartz’s Deli. If you visit Plateau Mont-Royal during summer, you can enjoy the crowded weekend street fair. This neighborhood exudes a bohemian aura. It is also close to the popular McGill University which is one of the reasons why many people decided to settle down here.

Today you can find an array of nightclubs, upscale restaurants and exclusive fashion stores along St-Denis and St-Laurent strip.

Why You Should Visit:
This part of town has a unique architecture with many wrought iron staircases outside the homes. Really elegant area and a great place to walk.
It's worth a trip just to visit Parc de La Fontaine during the summer or fall.

Tip:
Nightlife is good: make sure you go by St Denis or St Laurent street.
Sight description based on wikipedia

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.
The Titanic Walking Tour, Montreal

The Titanic Walking Tour, Montreal

Thanks to James Cameron's blockbuster movie, "Titanic", people from all over the world are aware of the luxury liner that sank 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 the main Montreal sights related to the famous Titanic.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 7.9 km
Religious Buildings Walking Tour, Montreal

Religious Buildings Walking Tour, Montreal

Montreal is considered one of the most amazing Canadian cities. With an old and rich history, this city offers some great sights for those who are interested in religious buildings, not to mention the world’s famous St. Joseph's Oratory of Mount Royal that is a gem of Montreal. Take this walking tour to discover some of Montreal's most famous religious buildings.

Tour Duration: 4 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 9.3 km
Le Plateau-Mont-Royal Night

Le Plateau-Mont-Royal Night

Montreal is a vibrant, multicultural city, offering fascinating nightlife options. The choice of bars, dance clubs and lounges is fabulous. Take the walking tour suggested below to experience the most exciting nightclubs in Montreal.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.8 km
Souvenir Shopping Part 2

Souvenir Shopping Part 2

It would be a pity to leave Montreal without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Montreal, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 6.8 km
Old Montreal Walking Tour

Old Montreal Walking Tour

Take a tour to discover the oldest district in Montreal. It features numerous unique houses dating back over 300 years, museums, art galleries and a great choice of fine restaurants and cafés. Here you'll also find two of the most popular churches in Montreal - the Basilique de Notre Dame and the Chapelle de Notre Dame de Bon-Secours. Enjoy exploring the highlights of Old Montreal.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.0 km
Famous Architecture Walking Tour in Montreal

Famous Architecture Walking Tour in Montreal

Montreal is an old, but a very modern city. The architectural sights provide ample opportunities for exploration. Modern buildings are situated right next to some of the oldest and most fascinating structures. Take this walking tour to discover the most famous architecture Montreal has to offer.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.3 km

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...

Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Montreal for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Montreal has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Taking Care of Your Feet


To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Montreal, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device


Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.