A place where old Europe meets cutting-edge, contemporary design -- where city strolls take you past gracious buildings to high-end shopping plazas and the excitement of the waterfront. The city, originally named Ville-Marie, was founded as a mission settlement in 1642. Today, this major port is the second-largest French-speaking city in the world. A city that demonstrates its creativity and joie de vivre with over 90 annual festivals.
Things to Do
Montreal delivers more than a hint of Parisian-style with its intimate cafés and Summer al fresco dining, while its attractions provide a real sense of cultural diversity. The city is prepared for all seasons, so whatever the weather join the residents in their love of the outdoors.
The best view in the city
Head to the top of the Montreal Tower and start your visit with a bird's-eye view of the city. Super-fast lifts whisk you up and on a clear day, you can take in the skyscrapers of the city centre, the St Lawrence River and the distant mountains. It's set in the 1976 Olympic Park, where the flame still burns.
A cathedral with an ornate heart
The stained-glass windows of the Notre-Dame Basilica chronicle the history of the city and are just part of the ornate interior of this 19th-century cathedral built on the site of an original settlement church. Its Gros Bourdon is said to be the largest bell in North America.
Down by the waterside
Day or night, Winter or Summer, you can be sure of plenty of fun at the Old Port. A park stretches along the banks of the St Lawrence River and is a draw for cycling and skating in the Summer, and in Winter an ice-rink appears. Relax with a drink while admiring the cruise ships and boats coming in and out of the harbour.
Calendar of Events
Summer is the best time to visit Montreal if you want to catch a festival or two; it's a time when city streets are closed and stages appear ready to host free concerts and cinema screenings. Winter, however, is not without its cultural attractions such as Nuit Blanche.
Nuit Blanche. The whole city stays awake for one February night for Nuit Blanche. All-night performances, art installations, concerts and film screenings take place while museums and many normally closed city buildings open their doors to the public. A real cultural feast!
L'International des Feux Loto-Québec. This is one of the hottest firework displays on the planet! Saturday nights and some Wednesday nights throughout July are lit up with the sight and sound of colourful pyrotechnical displays. Head to a hotel rooftop or the Pont Jacques-Cartier for the best views.
Taste MTL - Restaurant Week. The city's gastronomic scene grows more exciting year on year, and for a week in November, well over 100 Montreal restaurants showcase this with a week of specially designed fixed-price menus. A sure-fire way to entice you out on a Winter's evening.