My Top 5 Favourite Sites in Montréal

I only gave myself one weekend to see all of Montréal – no easy feat. Of course, I won’t have been able to see absolutely everything, but I did cram a lot into three days. These are my picks of what to check out if you are in Montréal for a short stay.

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A horse and carriage outside of the Notre-Dame Basilica

1) OLD MONTRÉAL

Old Montréal is a great place to start your Québec adventure. It is full of gorgeous old architecture, cute little boutiques and lovely cafés. It isn’t quite as impressive as it’s Québec City counterpart, but it’s still wonderful in it’s own right.

Jet Set Brunette Tip: Just remember that Old Montréal is famous with tourists (with good reason), so beware of pricey knick-knacks and overcrowded areas. You may be able to find more options outside this neighbourhood.

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Old Montréal harbour from the lookout tower

2) Point-À- Callière

Point-À-Callière is a history and archeology museum. Being a history nerd, this place is absolutely amazing! The original foundations of Montréal have been excavated and the tunnels are quite extensive. They were built in layers, and you can easily see the different building eras based on the building materials that were used, There was also a visiting exhibit Ancient Greece from Athens and Sparta that was really great! Statues, helmets, royal crowns and burial finds were everywhere and there was hardly enough room to house it all! Before I left, I was sure to check out the view of the Old Port from the lookout tower before heading underground to explore the tunnels.

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A very happy otter at the biosphere

​3) The Biosphere

I had planned to explore Old Montréal one afternoon but it was so cold (-14 Celsius plus wind chill!) that I decided to check out the Biosphere instead. The Biosphere is in the old Montréal Olympic Stadium, repurposed into an indoor conservatory. An indoor zoo filled with small, squishy, fluffy animals? Oui oui, merci! There were many ecosystems, including a wonderfully warm rainforest ecosystem. It was perfect for a cold day. I saw huge aquariums and many animals, including some weird and colourful looking ones that I’ve never seen before! My favourites were the penguins and the otters. They were very playful and liked to interact with everyone.

4) Centre d’Histoire de Montréal

On my second day in Montréal, I slept in since I didn’t sleep the best on the bus ride in. I had a huge breakfast then spent a lazy afternoon exploring my way through Old Montréal. I stumbled across the Centre d’Histoire de Montréal, a small museum I hadn’t heard about, so I spent some time in the exhibits. They were about Montréal through the eras, from the natives and the European immigrants, to the 20th century with jazz, rising stars, gangs and crime. Each room was a great recreation of its era, complete with artifacts from the time. Old typewriters and real mugshots were displayed in the ‘police station’ while black and white videos of 1930’s singers played on the stage of the ‘jazz club’. It’s a cute little place tucked away close to the river and it wasn’t busy at all while I was there. Another great gem for the history buffs of the traveling world!

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Atop of Mont Royale

5) Mont Royale

For the adventuresome, there is Mont Royale. The last item on my Montréal itinerary, it was the most exhausting yet! I hiked up to the top of Mont Royale, a rather steep hill-mountain hybrid. The first half was easy, but then the second half nearly kills you. When I started my way up Mont Royale, the air was clear, but it wasn’t long until wind and ice pellets started flying around. When I finally made it to the top, I felt (and probably looked) like I had just made it up Everest. There was a nice, convenient chalet at the top of the mountain which I stepped inside to warm up. I sank into a big leather chair by the fireplace and listened to a couple play on the grand piano. The lodge is a huge structure with big vaulted ceilings and old French paintings hanging on the walls. Once the piano players had gone and the fire had done its job, I stepped out onto the lookout and watched the skyline of Montréal as the sun set. It was soon time for me to head to the bus station and return to Toronto. Bonsoir, Montréal.

 

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