Are you planning a Montreal Grand Prix getaway this summer? You should use this opportunity to see and experience the city of Montreal, the cultural capital of Canada. Since your calendar will be packed for three days from the 7th to 9th of June when the races take place, you should plan a holiday of at least five days so that you will have enough time to visit the beautiful city of Montreal.
The second largest city in Canada (after Toronto) and the second largest French-speaking urban center in the world (after Paris), Montreal is one of the top tourist destinations in Canada. This historic city was first settled by European immigrants about 400 years ago, but Native American settlements in the area date back to prehistoric times.
Montreal has many places of historic significance that attract visitors from far and wide every year. Your Montreal Grand Prix getaway will not be complete without visiting at least some of the following 7 places.
- Vieux Montréal:
This is the historic part of the city and its cobblestone streets and colonial style buildings date back to 1642. The center of the old city is Place Jacques-Cartier, which is famous for restaurants, boutiques and clubs housed in 17th century buildings. Something is always happening here and at times you may even be swamped by fellow tourists, but it’s a great place to be any time.
- McGill University:
Founded by a wealthy Scottish immigrant by the name of James McGill in 1813, McGill University is Montreal’s signature university. A tour of the university, which lasts about an hour and is led by students, takes you to the major buildings and facilities in both the original downtown and the Macdonald Campus.
- Musée du Château Ramezay:
Built in 1705, the Château Ramezay is one of the oldest buildings in North America. But it also owes it fame to Benjamin Franklin who tried to persuade Montreal to join the United States from here. It is now a famous history museum where artifacts from the 18th and 19th century are permanently displayed and a re-enactment of the 18th century life is performed live by actors.
- Basilique Notre-Dame:
Designed by the architect James O’Donnell, this neo-Gothic church styled after the great churches of Europe was built in 1829. It is famous for its fine woodwork, blue vaulted ceilings, rose ceiling windows and a massive church bell. There is also a museum that has religious artifacts and paintings on permanent display.
- Chapelle Notre-Dame-De-Bon-Secours:
This small chapel built by Marguerite Bourgeoys, the founder of the Notre Dame congregation of nuns, to provide refuge to weary sailors. Dating back to 1857, it is the oldest church in Montreal. It also houses the Marguerite Bourgeoys Museum, which has historical and archaeological artifacts on permanent display.
- Cathédrale Marie-Reine-du-Monde:
Built as a replica of Saint Peter’s Cathedral in Rome, it is one-fourth the size of the original. It was built in 1894 and is the third largest church in Quebec. In 2006, the cathedral was designated as a National Historical Site of Canada.