Category Archives: Montreal

Places: Le Parc du Mont-Royal, QC, Canada

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Before coming back to the States, we had to get a scenic view of the city at le Parc du Mont-Royal.

It was quite a misty morning, so we didn’t get the greatest view, but it was beautiful nonetheless.

Some tourists books say that le Parc du Mont-Royal is actually an extinct volcano, but according to wikipedia (can you tell how serious I am about solid research) it says, “The mountain is not a traditional volcano as such. However, it is the deep extension of a vastly eroded ancient volcanic complex, which was probably active about 125 million years ago.”  Well, extinct volcano or not, the park is beautiful and so are the views from it.  McGill University is situated on this gorgeous “not-traditional-volcano,” and all of the buildings literally look like castles out of a fairy tale.  (And I thought Blanchard Hall was pretty…)

I was too busy mesmerizing over the enchanted dorm halls to take any pictures, but here are a few more from the clearing:

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Places: Le Métro de Montréal, QC, Canada

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So you may be wondering…a whole place post on the Métro??  But transportation is a very important part of a city, so we had to have our fair share of public transport sampling.  In fact, one of our major activities while in Montréal was riding around on the Métro.  I’m not much for planning, so we decided to be spontaneous and pick places at random to get off.  Turns out that we discovered one of our favorite parts of the trip by doing this.  It was an interactive public art display called Éclats de Verre, consisting of colored panels, mystical music, and interactive lights projected on a skyscraper. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my dslr with me for this adventure, but we got a couple with the point and shoot, and you can click here for a picture and here for a better understanding of our experience.  Make sure you watch the video!!  Here are our pics:

(Don’t ask me why I’m posing like that…)

We also found another art display we liked around the corner.  I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves:

The translation means something along the lines of: “There will be a place where you have the freedom to express yourself.”  Pretty cool, eh?

Anyway, I highly recommend our method of spontaneous touristing, at least for an afternoon.  A 24-hour pass on the Montréal Métro is $7 and it’s the best way to take advantage of it!  Let me know what you discover when you follow my genius advice…

Places: Le Vieux-Port de Montréal, QC, Canada

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Voilà!  Une vue du vieux port:

Here is a taste of the charming sights we took in on an evening promenade along the Old Port of Montreal.

Small confession:  I don’t know what this building is, but it’s pretty, isn’t it??  Can anyone enlighten me on what this lovely building is?

View of Old Montreal skyline:

Brrrrr…..

Ice skating!!!

Moi:

Le Vieux-Port de Montréal stretches for about two kilometres along the Saint Lawrence river in Old Montréal.  Old Montréal was originally used as a fur trading port in 1611.  It is now a historical tourist attraction featuring several events and activities throughout the year including the Montréal Science Center, the IMAX theater, and the Montreal Clock Tower, which was pictured above.  The riverfront offers a prime place for walking, cycling, roller-blading, quadricycle, pedalo and segway rentals.  As you can see, it is also a popular place to go ice skating in the winter.  We decided against getting on the ice, but we had fun watching others skate while we enjoyed the sights and sounds of the harbor.  Hope you enjoyed what we were able to capture!

Places: Basilique Notre-Dame de Montréal, QC, Canada

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Behold, the glorious Basilique Notre-Dame de Montréal!

Pictures really cannot do justice being surrounded by such reverent beauty, but at least you can get some idea.

Love the detail:

St. Peter w/ the keys:

Aaand the outside:

Moi:

And now a little about the basilique.  The bastilique was designed and built when the original Montreal Catholic congregation outgrew their first cathedral, the parish church of Notre Dame (built in 1672), which had served as the first cathedral of the Diocese of Montreal.  Irish-American architect James O’Donnell was commissioned to design the new building.  A proponent of the gothic revival, he produced the beauty we see today with its pointed arches, flying buttresses, and intricate detail.  Although originally a Protestant, he eventually converted to Catholcism on his deathbed (In 1830), possibly so that he could be buried in the chambers of his masterpiece.  He is, in fact, the only person buried in the church’s crypt.

Upon the exterior completion of the bastilique in 1843, it was the largest church in North America and remained so for the next fifty years.  The interior took a bit longer, and was completed in 1879.  Unlike most churches, the stained glass windows depict scenes from the religious history of Montreal, rather than Biblical scenes.  (Which I found interesting.)

The bastilique also features a small chapel called, “Chapel of Notre-Dame du Sacré-Cœur (Our Lady of the Sacred Heart),” which is used for more intimate settings such as weddings and funerals.  I got one quick shot of it, but was quickly ushered out before I could go in because there was a wedding!  (Wish it had been mine!!  ^-~)

We were also lucky to catch the tail end of an organ performance when we first entered the bastilique.  This great casavant organ is over 100 years old and boasts of 7,000 pipes!  The largest pipe measures 32 feet and the smallest 1/4 of an inch.  Wow.  Here it is in all it’s splendor:

I could go on and on sharing more pictures and stories of countless saints and stained glass windows featured in this beautiful church, but you really should just go check it out yourself.  The bastilique requires a $5 entry fee for visiters, unless they are there to attend the mass.  (Which I hope to attend next time.)  They also offer a light show Tuesday-Saturday evenings for $10 ($9 for seniors and $5 for children.)  You can get there by taking the metro to Place d’Armes.  I highly recommend visiting this glorious bastilique–it is well worth the five bucks!

Places: Old Montréal, QC, Canada

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Bonjour!  Happy New Years from Montréal, Québec!  Okay, so posted a little late, but this is how I spent my new years eve and new years day: wandering the streets of the lovely Montréal.  See for yourself!

As you can see, Christmas decos were still up:

C’est belle, non?  I still can’t wrap my mind around this fabulous city of Montréal.  I mean, you drive just a few hours and all of a sudden everyone is speaking French, everything is in French, it’s like you’re in France w/out having to ever step onto a plane!  And yet, almost everyone we encountered was impressively fluent in English as well.

Not every part of Montréal looks like this, though.  This was the “Old Montréal,” which is only about half a square mile. Old Montréal is, well, the oldest area of Montréal, Québec.  It dates back to the 16th century when it was the French colony, “New France.”    Bordering the Saint Lawrence River, it was a strategic place for French colonization.  The French cultivated the land, paved the streets, and constructed some of the great buildings that still exist today, including the Basilique Notre-Dame de Montréal.  Since then, it has been through a lot including British rule (in 1763 following the French and Indian War), several fires, and reconstruction.  It now serves as a major tourist attraction, nestling many art galleries, restaurants, cafes, and historical churches and buildings.

Hope you enjoy the pics we took, promenading through this quaint little area of Montréal!  More to come soon on la Basilique Notre-Dame de Montréal, le Vieux-Port de Montréal, le Parc du Mont-Royal, le Métro de Montréaland of course, la délicieuse cuisine de Montréal!

Au revoir!