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Old Montreal

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North America > Canada > Quebec > Southwestern Quebec > Montreal > Montreal/Old Montreal
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Old Montreal (French: Vieux-Montréal) is what many visitors come to Montreal for: old cobblestoned streets lined with buildings dating from the 17th through 19th centuries, grand old French restaurants, history museums, and the riverfront Old Port. That's not to say that Old Montreal is completely removed from the rest of Montreal — back a few blocks from the mimes and steakhouses, you'll find warehouses converted to boutique shops and loft apartments.

During the summer, Place Jacques-Cartier is packed with street performers and restaurant terraces overflowing with tourists. Winter presents a much more subdued scene, with bundled figures hurrying from gallery to restaurant to hotel in the cold and snow.

It is a mistake to call Old Montreal the "Old City" or "Old Town". Locals do not call it this, only guide books do.

Get in[edit]

Map of Montreal/Old Montreal

By metro[edit]

Old Montreal is served by three metro stations — Square-Victoria, Champ-de-Mars, and Place-d'Armes. They are a short walk into the heart of things, but there's a bit of a hill.

By car[edit]

Street parking is scarce and runs $3 per hour. Parking complexes run $6/1hr, $15 max, $20 for 12-24 hours.

  • Clock Tower Quay, enter from rue Berri or rue de la Commune est.
  • Montréal Science Centre, take boulevard Saint-Laurent or rue de la Commune.
  • Alexandra Quay, either rue de la Callière or rue de la Commune ouest.
  • Complexe Chaussegros-de-Léry, next to Champ-de-Mars metro, has over a thousand spots.

A few small commercial lots operate around City Hall for $20/day. Note that the streets are small and one-way, and thronged with pedestrians in the summer. Plans are in the works to turn rue Saint-Paul into a pedestrian walk, further complicating things.

By bus[edit]

Buses don't run in Old Montreal itself, but they can get you within a few blocks.

From the Plateau, the 55 runs down Saint-Laurent to Saint-Jacques and up St. Urbain and the 30 runs down rue Berri (1 block east of Saint-Denis). From downtown, take the 75 de la Commune, get off at McGill/Wellington: it's then a four block walk to the edge of the cobblestone.

By boat[edit]

Ferries (navettes) run to and from Île Sainte-Hélène May to October and to the suburb of Longueuil on the south shore.

Get around[edit]

Old Montreal is small enough that walking is usually the best way to get around. Sidewalks are narrow and the streets cobblestone, making slow going for wheelchairs and strollers.

  • Horse drawn carriages (Calèche). Carriage tours departed from Place d’Armes and the top and bottom of Place Jacques-Cartier. They will not be running at all for the 2016 season. $45 for 30 min, $75 for 1 hour.
  • [dead link]Segway Tours, +1 514 613-3300, e-mail: . Guided tours on a Segway upright scooter, which is a novelty in itself.
  • Old Montréal: The Official Walking Tour, 110 rue Notre-Dame ouest (in front of Notre-Dame Basilica). May-Oct 11AM and 1PM. This 90 minute tour will get you oriented. $17.50 adult / $15.50 student and senior / $8.50 child.

Bike rentals[edit]

  • Vélo Aventure, quai des Convoyeurs, +1 514 288-8356. Summer bike and roller blade rentals.
  • Montréal On Wheels, +1 514 866-0633. Bikes, tandem bikes, roller blades, and accessories such as baby seats. Bike tours also offered. Weekdays $8/hr; weekends $9/hr..

See[edit]

  • Vieux-Port (Old Port), South of rue Saint-Antoine between rue McGill and rue Berri (metro Champ-de-Mars or Place-d'Armes). The Old Port is a large waterfront green space with attractions such as Cirque du Soleil, the Montreal Science Center, the Labyrinth, the Clock Tower, and a large outdoor audio-visual stage which is the site for the Canada Day fireworks.
  • 1 Place Jacques-Cartier. Pedestrian street filled with street artists and musicians, and there are numerous fine restaurants and private art galleries nearby.
  • 2 Bonsecours Market (Marché Bonsecours), 350 rue Saint-Paul est (between rue Bonsecours and rue Saint-Claude; metro Champ-de-Mars). 10AM-6PM daily.
  • 3 Notre-Dame Basilica (Basilique Notre-Dame), 116 rue Notre-Dame ouest (at place d'Armes/rue Saint-Sulpice; metro Place-d'Armes), +1 514 842-2925. Visitor hours M-F 8AM-4:30PM, Sa 8AM-4PM, Su 12:30PM-4PM. Probably the city's most spectacular church, a gem of Victorian Gothic. Service is at 5PM daily and on Sunday morning. Entrance is free for worship, but donations are suggested. During service, the organ music is not to be missed. While it shouldn't have to be mentioned, tourists should be respectful during services. Note that photography is not allowed during services. 20 minute guided tours offered in French or English. Adults $5, children 7-17 $4, children under 7 free.
  • 4 Montreal Clock Tower (Tour de l'Horloge de Montréal), Quai de l'Horloge (metro Champ-de-Mars), +1 514 496-7678. Early May and September (after Labour Day): Sa-Su 10AM-7PM; mid May-mid June and mid August-Labour Day: M-Th 10AM-7PM, F-Su 10AM-9PM; mid June-mid August: 10AM-9PM daily. Also known as the Sailors' Memorial Clock, the clock tower was built between 1919-1922 as a memorial to sailors lost at sea. Its clock mechanism is similar to Big Ben's and was known for its accuracy; sailors would often set their watches by it. From May to September, visitors can climb the 192 steps to the top of the tower for a good view of Old Montreal and the St. Lawrence River. Free.

Museums[edit]

Old Montreal has the largest concentration of historical homes and museums — plus the ultra-modern Montréal Science Centre.

  • 5 Marguerite-Bourgeoys Museum and Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel (Musée Marguerite-Bourgeoys et Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours), 400 rue Saint-Paul est (at rue Bonsecours; metro Champ-de-Mars), +1 514 282-8670, fax: +1 514 282-8672, e-mail: . May-Oct: Tu-Su 10AM-5:30PM; Oct-Apr: Tu-Su 11AM—3:30PM. Built in 1655, Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours, is the oldest stone church in Montreal. The museum houses artifacts from the church's history and pays tribute to Marguerite Bourgeoys, Montreal's first teacher. $3 child / $4 student / $6 adult / $4 senior / $12 family.
  • 6 Pointe-à-Callière (Montréal Museum of Archeology and History), 350 place Royale (at place d'Youville/rue de la Commune; metro Champ-de-Mars), +1 514 872-9150. Labour Day to 24 June: Tu-F 10AM-5PM, Sa-Su 11AM-5PM; 25 June to Labour Day: M-F 10AM-6PM, Sa-Su 11AM-6PM. A modern museum built over the ruins of Montreal's first settlement, Pointe à Callière. This museum uses audiovisual technology as well as surrounding archaeological remains to tell the story of Montreal from the first natives to the present day. $20 adult / $16 seniors (65+) / $12 student (13-30 with ID) / $7 youth (6-12) / free for children (0-5) / $42 family.
  • 7 Sir George-Étienne Cartier National Historic Site (Lieu historique national de Sir-George-Étienne-Cartier), 458 rue Notre-Dame est (at rue Berri; metro Champ-de-Mars), +1 514 283-2282. 6 Apr-19 June and 7 Sep-23 Dec: W-Su 10AM-5PM; 20 June-4 Sep: 10AM-5:30PM daily. Reconstruction of two 19th century Victorian homes. $3.90 adults, $3.40 seniors (65+), $1.90 youth (6-16), $9.80 families/groups (up to seven people with a maximum of two adults).
  • 8 Montréal Science Centre (Centre des sciences de Montréal), 333 rue de la Commune ouest (at boul Saint-Laurent on Quai King-Edward; metro Place-d'Armes, bus 55 or 515), +1 514 496-4724, toll-free: +1-877-496-4724. 10AM-5PM daily; check listings for IMAX movie times. Interactive science museum and IMAX theater. IMAX screenings $8.50 child / $10.50 teen / $11.50 adult / $10.50 senior; exhibitions $8.50 child / $13 teen / $15 adult / $13 senior / $40 family; see website for details.
  • 9 Centre d'histoire de Montréal, 335 place d'Youville (at rue Saint-Pierre; metro Square-Victoria), +1 514 872-3207, fax: +1 514 872-9645, e-mail: . W-Su 10AM-5PM. Covering the history of Montreal from its founding in 1535. The museum is housed in a former fire station that dates from 1903. $6 adults, $5 seniors, $4 children (6-17) and students, $15 families, free for children under 6. Centre d'histoire de Montréal on Wikipedia Centre d'histoire de Montréal (Q2945106) on Wikidata
  • 10 Bank of Montréal Museum, 129 rue Saint-Jacques ouest (at place d'Armes; metro Place-d'Armes), +1 514 877-6810. M-F 10AM-4PM. Hands-on museum focusing on the history of banking in Montreal. Free.
  • 11 Château Ramezay Museum, 280 rue Notre-Dame est (at rue Saint-Claude; metro Champ-de-Mars), +1 514 861-3708. Jun-Oct 10AM-6PM daily. 18th century Governor's residence and gardens full of historical artifacts from daily life. $4 child / $5 student / $8 adults / $6 senior / $16.50 families.
  • 12 DHC/ART, 451 rue Saint-Jean (at rue du Saint-Sacrement; metro Square-Victoria), +1 514 286-6626. W-F noon-7PM, Sa-Su 11AM-6PM. A privately endowed foundation, DHC/ART is a permanent location for exciting and relevant temporary visual arts exhibitions and projects. Free.

Do[edit]

  • Winter Ice Skating, the Old Port. Oct-Mar 10AM-9PM daily. $4 adults / $3 child (does not include skate rental).
  • Boat rental.
  • Jet Boating, Clock tower pier (metro Champ-de-Mars), +1 514 284-9607. $40 child / $50 teen / $60 adult / $70 with dinner.

Festivals[edit]

  • Igloofest.
  • Montréal High Lights (Montreal All-Nighter).
  • Harbour Symphonies.

Buy[edit]

Marché Bonsecours[edit]

Worth a visit for the neoclassical building itself, 1 Marche Bonsecours houses local art and design boutiques. The Market is open daily 10AM-6PM, 9PM weekends 1 Apr-31 Dec and daily 24 Jun-Labor Day.

Art galleries[edit]

  • 2 Galerie de Chariot, 446 place Jacques-Cartier (between rue Notre-Dame and rue Saint-Paul; metro Champ-de-Mars), +1 514 875-4994, fax: +1 514 875-6807, e-mail: . M-Sa 10AM-6PM, Su 10AM-3PM. Government-certified Inuit soapstone carvings and historical drawings.

Eat[edit]

Restaurants cater to tourists, but that doesn't mean there aren't a few gems that draw locals. Note that many of the restaurants along Place Jacques-Cartier shut down or at least close their terraces and gardens forcing patrons into a smaller, and often less charming, inside dining room. Prices for each range are slightly higher here than elsewhere in the city.

Budget[edit]

  • 1 Olive & Gourmando, 351 rue Saint-Paul ouest (at rue Saint-Pierre; metro Square-Victoria), +1 514 350-1083. Tu-Sa 8AM-6PM. Popular boulangerie offering fresh sandwiches, soups, and a daily lunch dish and baked goods. Also sells breads, jams, and snacks to take away.
  • 2 L'Aventure, 438 place Jacques-Cartier (between rue Notre-Dame and rue Saint-Paul; metro Champ-de-Mars), +1 514 866-9439. 8AM-3AM daily. Pub and bar featuring two terraces in the summer. French bistro cuisine plus soups, salads, pizza, and pastas. $7-15.
  • 3 Marché du Vieux, 217 boul Saint-Laurent (between rue Saint-Paul and rue de la Commune; additional entrance at 8 rue-Saint Paul est; metro Place-d'Armes), +1 514 393-2772. Su-Th 9AM-5PM, F-Sa 9AM-7PM. Equal parts bistro and fine-food boutique, Marché du Vieux is a cute spot for a gourmet lunch or snack.
  • 4 Le Saint-Gabriel, 426 rue Saint-Gabriel (between rue Notre-Dame and rue Saint-Paul; metro Place-d'Armes), +1 514 878-3561, e-mail: . Tu-F noon-2:30PM and 6PM-10PM, Sa 6PM-10PM. French fine cuisine with a taste of Quebec from the first North America alcohol licence, issued in 1754.

Mid-range[edit]

  • 5 Restaurant Bonaparte, 443 rue Saint-François-Xavier (between rue Saint-Paul and rue Notre-Dame, adjacent to the Auberge Bonaparte; metro Place-d'Armes), +1 514 844-4368. Lunch: M-F 11:30AM-2PM, dinner: 5:30PM-10:30PM daily.
  • 6 Le Jardin Nelson, 407 place Jacques-Cartier (at rue Saint-Paul; metro Champ-de-Mars), +1 514 861-5731. 11:30AM-10PM daily. Fancy and filling crepes are the main draw to this historic restaurant and garden courtyard. Offering outdoor jazz and other live music in the summer, it loses some of it's charm in the winter when things move inside.
  • 7 Boris Bistro, 465 rue McGill (at rue des Récollets; metro Square-Victoria), +1 514 848-9575. Summer: M-F 11:30AM-11PM, Sa-Su noon-11PM. Winter: Lunch: M-F 11:30AM-2PM; dinner: Tu-F 5PM-11PM, Sa 6PM-11PM. Popular bistro featuring a large courtyard. Menu offers meats, seafood, and pastas. Try the French fries cooked in duck fat. $15-20.
  • 8 Restaurant Le Fripon, 436 place Jacques-Cartier (between rue Saint-Paul and rue Notre-Dame; metro Champ-de-Mars), +1 514 861-1386, fax: +1 514 861-7748, e-mail: . Grand historic building with shaded terrace serving French bistro fare, seafood, and pastas. Note the terrace menu is limited to soups, snails, and fries. Bar features wide selection of domestic and imported beers.
  • 9 Chez Suzette, 3 rue Saint-Paul est (at rue Saint-Jean-Baptiste; metro Place-d'Armes), +1 514 874-1984. Crepes and fondue in a cozy, family-friendly spot. Wine and cider at SAQ prices + $5.
  • Sushi-ya, 350 rue Saint-Paul est (basement level in Marché Bonsecours; take stairs down under the big wooden fish), +1 514 315-7472. M-Sa 11AM-3PM and 5PM-10PM. Well-executed and beautifully presented sushi and tempura in an elegant dining room. Staff speaks English as well as French. dinner $10-20.

Splurge[edit]

  • 10 Gibby's, 298 place d'Youville (between rue Saint-Nicolas and rue Saint-Pierre; metro Place-d'Armes), +1 514 282-1837. M-F 5:30PM-11PM, Sa-Su 5PM-11PM. Fancy steakhouse housed in a 200 year old former stable, popular with tourists. Reservations strongly recommended.
  • 11 Chez L'epicier Restaurant Bar a Vin, 311 rue Saint-Paul est (at rue Saint-Claude; metro Champ-de-Mars), +1 514 878-2232. 5:30PM-10PM daily. Order from the imaginative menu or put yourself in the chef's capable hands for a five course tasting menu. Ask ahead for all-vegetarian or fish and vegetables only. Save room for the "chocolate club sandwich." $30-80.
  • 12 Kyo Bar Japonais, 711 côte de la Place-d'Armes (at ruelle des Fortifications, in the Hôtel Place d’Armes; metro Place-d'Armes), +1 514 282-2711. Lunch: M-F 11:30AM-2:30PM; dinner: M-Th 5PM-11PM, F-Sa 5PM-midnight. Upscale Japanese restaurant and sushi bar with a menu based on izakaya classics and an extensive sake selection.
  • 13 Toqué!, 900 place Jean-Paul-Riopelle (between rue Saint-Antoine and ave Viger; metro Square-Victoria), +1 514 499-2084. Lunch: Tu-F 11:30AM-2PM, dinner: Tu-Sa 5:30PM-10:30PM. In 1993, chef Normand Laprise put Montreal cuisine on the map with this landmark restaurant, and after more than 10 years, it's still going strong in a new location. Combining the latest trends in fine dining with local and regional produce, the chefs create spectacularly complex dishes in tiny, but strangely satisfying portions. The house specialty is an eight-course surprise menu, made up of many small dishes. This restaurant will take a bite out of your wallet, but serious foodies will find it worth the cost. $30-50.

Drink[edit]

Old Montreal has limited nightlife options as most bars and lounges are found in hotels or part of restaurants. Standalone bars are more popular for after-work drinks than the late-night partying which happens in the Plateau and Downtown's Crescent Street.

  • 1 Pub St-Paul, 124 rue Saint-Paul est (at rue Saint-Vincent; metro Champ-de-Mars), +1 514 874-0485. 11AM-3AM daily. Big space, popular with tours. Offers pub grub and a view of the river during the day and live music (Th-Sa 10PM). Cheap (for Old Montreal) and casual.
  • 2 Santos, 191 rue Saint-Paul ouest (at rue Saint-François-Xavier; metro Place-d'Armes), +1 514 849-8881. Tu-Sa 5PM-3AM. Cafe-by-day and bar-by-night, Santos is the place to escape your hotel lobby for a martini and late night snack of "Pop Food", their take on tapas. Live jazz on Thursdays, DJ on the weekends. Reservations recommended for Saturday nights. Weekend covers start around $20.
  • 3 Wunderbar, 901 rue du Square-Victoria (in the The W Hotel; metro Square-Victoria), +1 514 395-3195. W-Sa 10PM-3AM. Trendy spot on the edge of Old Montreal. Expect cover charges and a line at the door. Changing out of your sight-seeing clothes and into something swanky will probably help get you in the door.
  • 4 Suite 701, 701 côte de la Place-d'Armes (at rue Saint-Jacques, in the Place d'Armes Hotel; metro Place-d'Armes), +1 514 904-1201. 5PM-3AM daily. "Suite" sums it up for this high-end lounge popular with the executive set. Leather couches and sipping scotches. No cover.

Sleep[edit]

Budget[edit]

  • 1 Alternative Hostel of Old Montreal (Auberge Alternative du Vieux-Montréal), 358 rue Saint-Pierre (between rue Saint-Paul and place d'Youville; metro Square-Victoria), +1 514 282-8069, e-mail: . Housed in a 19th century warehouse, this hostel boasts fair trade coffee, wi-fi, an organic continental breakfast, and a range of activities and classes. Kitchen and laundry facilities provided. Often full, reservations recommended. $23 dorm bed, $60 double room.

Mid-range[edit]

  • 2 Auberge Vieux Port, 97 rue de la Commune est (at rue Saint-Gabriel; metro Champ-de-Mars), +1 514 876-0081, toll-free: +1-888-660-7678. A good deal for the price, this historical building, set back from the street, books up early.
  • 3 Le Westin Montreal, 270 rue Saint-Antoine ouest (between rue Saint-Pierre and rue Saint-François-Xavier; metro Place-d'Armes), +1 514 380-3333. Montreal's newest hotel offers 454 large and well-appointed guestrooms at the gateway to Old Montreal. Each room features the ten-layer Heavenly Bed, and the hotel also offers a unique glass-bottom pool.
  • 4 Hotel Epik Montreal, 171 rue Saint-Paul ouest (between Saint-Sulpice and Saint-Francois-Xavier), +1 514-842-2634, toll-free: +1-866-841-2634, e-mail: . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 12PM. Three-star boutique hotel. 140$-2000$.

Splurge[edit]

  • 5 Hotel St-Paul, 355 rue McGill (between rue Saint-Paul and place d'Youville; metro Square-Victoria), +1 514 380-2222, toll-free: +1-866-380-2202. This self-described "design hotel" features uber-modern rooms on the edge of the historical district. See Eat and Drink for bars and restaurants in the same building.
  • 6 Hotel Nelligan, 106 rue Saint-Paul ouest (at rue Saint-Sulpice; metro Place-d'Armes), +1 514 788-2040, toll-free: +1-877-788-2040. Falling somewhere between posh and opulent, the Nelligan offers large rooms with king beds, loft-style suites, and rooftop two-room penthouses above a fine French restaurant. Some rooms with fireplaces, and jacuzzi-tubs for two. $225 and up.
  • 7 Hotel Gault, 449 rue Sainte-Hélène (at rue des Récollets; metro Square-Victoria), +1 514 904-1616, toll-free: +1-866-904-1616. Feels like you're stepping into Architectural Digest with ultra-modern furniture and rooms. Located in a converted warehouse in Old Montreal. Very helpful staff.
  • 9 Le Petit Hotel, 168 rue Saint-Paul ouest (at place Royale; metro Place-d'Armes), +1 514 940-0360, toll-free: +1-877-530-0360. Check-in: noon, check-out: 3PM. Newest boutique hotel in Montreal, Le Petit Hotel is charming, chic and hip. Located right in the middle of fashionable Old Montreal, it combines 19th century architecture with 21st century delights such as wifi, iPod docking station, LCDs, Nintendo Wii and multi-jet showers. $195-350.
  • 11 W Montreal, 901 rue du Square-Victoria (at rue Saint-Antoine; metro Square-Victoria), +1 514 395-3100, toll-free: +1-866-716-8101. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. A luxury hotel, the W Montreal has 152 rooms, spa, and a restaurant - Otto Ristorante. This hotel is located between downtown and Old Montreal.

Connect[edit]

There are no cyber-cafes in Old Montreal, but a few cafes and restaurants in the area participate in Île Sans Fils, Montreal's free, public wi-fi program. Your best bet, if you're without laptop, is to ask to use the business center at one of the larger hotels-—expect to be charged accordingly.

  • Planète Sans-Fil, 333 rue de la Commune ouest. Free wi-fi access outside the Planète Sans-Fil (Wireless Planet) office.
  • Pizzedelic, 39 rue Notre-Dame ouest, +1 514 286-1200. Funky upscale thin-crust pizza place with full bar. Salads, soups, pastas also on the menu. Try the apples and sultana raisin pizza for something a little different. Free wi-fi.
  • Cluny Artbar, 257 rue Prince (metro Square-Victoria), +1 514 866-1213. M-Th 8AM-5PM, F 8AM-9PM. Hip art gallery/bar/café with free wi-fi.

Go next[edit]

Routes through Old Montreal
Saint-LaurentDowntown  W MtlMetro2.svg E  Quartier LatinLaval


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