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Basilique Notre-Dame-de-Montréal (Our Lady of Montréal Basilica)
Basilique Notre-Dame-de-Montréal (Our Lady of Montréal Basilica) Review
Few churches in North America are as wow-inducing as Notre-Dame. Everything about the place, which opened in 1829, seems designed to make you gasp—from the 228-foot twin towers out front to the tens of thousands of 24-karat gold stars that stud the soaring blue ceiling.
Nothing in a city renowned for churches matches Notre-Dame for sheer grandeur—or noisemaking capacity: its 12-ton bass bell is the largest in North America, and its 7,000-pipe Casavant organ can make the walls tremble. The pulpit is a work of art in itself, with an intricately curving staircase and fierce figures of Ezekiel and Jeremiah crouching at its base. The whole place is so overwhelming it's easy to miss such lesser features as the stained-glass windows from Limoges and the side altars dedicated to St. Marguerite d'Youville, Canada's first native-born saint; St. Marguerite Bourgeoys, Canada's first schoolteacher; and a group of Sulpician priests martyred in Paris during the French Revolution.
For a peek at the magnificent baptistery, decorated with frescoes by Ozias Leduc, you'll have to tiptoe through the glassed-off prayer room in the northwest corner of the church. Every year dozens of brides march up the aisle of Chapelle Notre-Dame-du-Sacré-Coeur (Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Chapel), behind the main altar, to exchange vows with their grooms before a huge modern bronze sculpture that you either love or hate.
Notre-Dame is an active house of worship, so dress accordingly (i.e., no shorts or bare midriffs). The chapel can't be viewed weekdays during the 12:15 pm mass, and is often closed Saturday for weddings.
Old Séminaire. The stone residence on the west side of the basilica is the Old Séminaire, Montréal's oldest building. It was built in 1685 as a headquarters for the Sulpician priests who owned the island of Montréal until 1854. It's still a residence for the Sulpicians who administer the basilica. The clock on the roof over the main doorway is the oldest (pre-1701) public timepiece in North America. 116 rue Notre-Dame Ouest, behind wall west of Basilique Notre-Dame-de-Montréal, H2Y 1T2. Place-d'Armes.
- Address: 110 rue Notre-Dame Ouest, Old Montréal, Montréal, QC, H2Y 1T2 | Map It
- Phone: 514/842-2925; 866/842-2925
- Cost: Tours C$5, La Lumière Fut C$10
- Hours: July--Sept., daily 8:15--4:30; Oct.--June, weekdays 9--3:30, Sat. 8--3:30, Sun. 12:30--3:30; tours in French and English every ½ hr.
- Website: www.basiliquenddm.org
- Metro Place-d'Armes.
- Location: Old Montréal (Vieux-Montréal)
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