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Top Things to Do in Montreal

Basilique Notre-Dame-de-Montréal, Montréal

Everything about Montréal’s magnificent Roman Catholic basilica is grand, from the 228-foot twin steeples to the 7,000-pipe organ in the loft. The thousands of stars spattered across the vaulted blue ceiling are 24-carat gold and were painstakingly applied by hand. To experience a bit of heavenly pomp and hear the choir sing and the organ roar, consider attending the 11 am Mass on Sunday.

Parc du Mont-Royal, Montréal

The modest mountain that gives Montréal its name is at the center of a 500-acre park with wooded trails, a trio of chalets, and splendid views from the city’s highest point. City-weary people flirt here in spring, picnic in summer, enjoy the colors of autumn, and skate in winter.

Mont-Tremblant, Side Trips from Montréal

This towering peak of the Laurentian Mountains, northwest of Montréal, has become one of North America’s finest ski resorts, with 650 acres of skiable terrain, state-of-the-art snowmaking and lift equipment, first-class lodging, and an on-slope village of shops and restaurants.

Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal, Montréal

One of Canada’s oldest museums has an exceptional collection of Canadian art, from portrayals of pioneer life by Paul Kane to dazzling abstractions by Paul-Émile Borduas, all housed in a former church. The permanent collection features works by such world masters as Rembrandt, Renoir, and Picasso.

The Old Port, Montréal

In Montréal’s Old Port, centuries-old warehouses now house art galleries, ice-cream parlors, and other attractions. It’s one of the city’s most popular parks: a place to cycle, stroll, or take a boat ride on the Lachine Rapids.

La Citadelle, Québec City

The fascinating star-shaped fortress on Québec City’s Cap Diamant is the largest fortified base in North America still occupied by troops. Built in the 1800s to protect the city from an American invasion that never came, La Citadelle is currently home to Canada’s Royal 22nd Regiment. Every summer morning at 10 am, the regiment turns out in scarlet tunics and bearskin caps for the colorful, ceremonial changing of the guard.

Fairmont Le Château Frontenac, Québec City

The most photographed sight in Québec City, the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac towers above 18th- and 19th-century houses, which are now shops and bistros. At the hotel’s base is Terrasse Dufferin, a wide boardwalk with sweeping views of the St. Lawrence River and the Laurentian Mountains.

Tadoussac, Side Trips from Québec City

This old trading post north of Québec City, situated at the confluence of the St. Lawrence and Saguenay rivers, is now a major whale-watching venue. You may see minke, finback, and even blue whales, but more commonly the southernmost colony of beluga whales. Watch them from shore, or sign up for a cruise to get a closer look.

Plains of Abraham, Québec City

It’s a peaceful city park now, full of winding walking paths and bicycle trails, and a favorite in winter of Québec City’s cross-country skiers. But on September 13, 1759, it was anything but peaceful, when British troops defeated the French in a half-hour and changed North American history forever.

Updated: 2014-02-24

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