Old Montreal is the historic heart and soul of the city and, as its name suggests, the oldest section of the city. Once upon a time, a stone wall fortified this area, but today, it welcomes visitors from all over the world who want to walk its charming cobblestoned streets, admire its elegant architecture and explore the numerous historical sites that have wonderful stories to tell.
Strolling around Old Montreal (Vieux-Montréal to the locals) is like taking a little trip to Europe without leaving North America. You’ll find many of the city’s biggest drawcards here, making it a great base from which to explore this part of the city and beyond. Make your way down Rue Notre-Dame to the extravagant Notre Dame Basilica and the strikingly beautiful – especially when lit up at night – Montreal City Hall. And don’t miss the opportunity to travel back to a bygone era at the Château Ramezay historic governor’s residence and museum. Exhibits, multimedia presentations and a replica of a French colonial garden shed light on the Montreal of the past.
Running parallel to Rue Notre-Dame is Montreal’s oldest street, Rue Saint-Paul, with its paved cobblestones, excellent restaurants and galleries, and the domed Bonsecours Market, a grand heritage building that’s been a Montreal shopping destination for more than a century. Further along the street is the Old Port of Montreal, which stretches for a couple of kilometres along the St Lawrence River. The Old Port is home to some wonderful waterside eateries and even a seasonal urban beach where locals and tourists alike kick back in the warmer months. A 45-metre-tall clock tower was completed here in 1922 to commemorate wartime sailors who died at sea.
Two metro stations – Champ-de-Mars and Place-d’Armes – conveniently border the district. You’ll also find plenty of up-market places to rest your head here, from charming boutique hotels to historic-buildings-turned-four-star accommodation, ensuring close proximity to the best of beautiful Old Montreal.