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Highlights of Montreal's Notre-Dame Basilica: A Family Day Trip in Canada

Updated on September 29, 2014

A Grand Church in the Old World Fashion!

The Notre-Dame Basilica in the Vieux-Montreal section of the city is well worth a visit, as it is considered one of the grandest churches in North America. Completed in 1829, The building's Gothic Revival style makes it feel like it should be in Paris or a French city, not in the New World. The twin 228-foot towers wouldn't be out of place against a Parisian skyline, and once inside the basilica you really feel like you stepped into another world.

Please note that there is an entrance fee to help maintain the building, and that you can't tour the entire place during Mass or weddings. There are guided tours available. We walked around by ourselves instead of taking a tour, and spent about an hour looking at things.

The photos here are by us unless otherwise noted.

Montreal Notre Dame Basilica Stained Glass
Montreal Notre Dame Basilica Stained Glass

Stars Above and Beautiful Stained Glass

Inside the Main Church

The first thing that jumped out when we entered the building was the ceiling, which is blue with seemingly tens of thousands of 24-Karat gold stars. The view is amazing, and reminded me more of a palatial ceiling than a church.

The main altar is lavish, with statues set to either side and plenty of side areas for you to view. One of the more interesting aspects to the building is that the stained glass panels aren't biblical scenes like in many churches. Instead they are scenes of Montreal's religious history, and looking at them you really get the sense of just how important religion was in the early days of the city.

The panel here shows the city's first Mass, which occurred in 1642.

Montreal Notre Dame Basilica Sculpture
Montreal Notre Dame Basilica Sculpture

The Modern Chapel Behind the Altar

Love it or Hate It, It Is Memorable

Behind the main altar is the Chapel of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, and what a contrast it offers. The original chapel had been destroyed by fire in 1978, and the rebuilt one is way too modern for me.

Shown here is the large bronze mantelpiece by Quebec sculptor Charles Daudelin. Consisting of 32 panels, the artwork is 16 feet by 25 feet and weighs 20 tons. It is huge and overwhelms the room.

The basilica's website says the piece represents mankind's march toward God, but I just thought it looked ugly in contrast to the main building. Most tour literature says it is a ''love it or hate it'' piece of art, and I'm guessing most people come down on the ''hate it'' side.

See below for a close-up photo of one of the panels.

Video of the Basilica

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A Close-Up Lookof the Chapel's Bronze Mantelpiece

A Close-Up Lookof the Chapel's Bronze Mantelpiece
A Close-Up Lookof the Chapel's Bronze Mantelpiece

Inside the Main Area of the Basilica

Inside the Main Area of the Basilica
Inside the Main Area of the Basilica

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I hope you enjoyed reading this review as much as we enjoyed our travels and writing it. Now it's your turn!

Thanks for visiting!

Now It's Your Turn!

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    • profile image

      Jimcalagoure 3 years ago

      Thanks for a mix bag collection. For most the favorite one is Notre-Dame Basilica as it resembles the history of Canada. Keep posting.

    • Heidi Vincent profile image

      Heidi Vincent 3 years ago from GRENADA

      Thanks for the guided tour of this Basilica, goldenrulecomics! When you can't be there in person, reviews like this give you a travellers' experience. Happy Valentine's Day!

    • GeorgeneMBramlage profile image

      Georgene Moizuk Bramlage 3 years ago from southwestern Virginia

      This is indeed a beautiful and very special church. I purchased a striking Madonna of Notre Dame statuette when I visited in the early 2000s. We also were able to attend a wonderful evening concert here.

    • profile image

      GrammieOlivia 3 years ago

      A beautiful old Church that just seems to breathe faith into you as you enter.

    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 3 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      I've been to Montreal but didn't get to visit the Notre Dame Basilique - love the city though :)

    • CaztyBon profile image

      CaztyBon 4 years ago

      I would Love to visit Montreal and Notre Dame maybe someday I will be lucky!! Until I can Than You for the visit it was quick but great

    • shellys-space profile image

      Shelly Sellers 4 years ago from Midwest U.S.A.

      I have never been to Notre Dame, but would love to visit there someday!

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 4 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      I would love to see Montreal's Notre Dame Basilica and sure enjoyed your sharing these great photos and information.

    • BLouw profile image

      Barbara Walton 4 years ago from France

      I realise that I've rarely seen a European-style cathedral in the US. I've enjoyed my virtual tour around Montreal Notre Dame, though.

    • Socialpro54 LM profile image

      Socialpro54 LM 4 years ago

      Good review!

    • profile image

      MaggiePowell 4 years ago

      I think I'd like a closer look at the bronze mantlepiece.... Will have to get myself to Montreal.