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.
110 rue Notre-Dame Ouest, Montréal, Québec, H2Y 1T2, Canada
Jul 26, 2006
This church is quite beautiful and breathtaking. It is truly a must see in this wonderful city. I was disappointed in the evening light and sound show; though tickets were not terribly expensive. Be mindful of times that you may enter.
Aug 3, 2005
There was a wedding just ending on Saturday afternoon when we first tried to see the Basilica so no one was allowed to enter. [We were told you have to wait up to two years for a wedding date in order to be married in the Basilica so few people cancel, even if they change partners, once they have a date]. Both on Saturday and Sunday the bells peeling was impressive and thundering but magical. On Sunday between masses we sat in a pew and soaked in
the beauty of the carved wood, the stained glass, the serenity and the beauty of the organ quietly (for a huge organ) being practiced for the next service. This is a 'must see' in Montreal.
Sep 5, 2004
I can't believe that this historic landmark of Old Montreal has only recieved ONE review. I can honestly say that its worth coming to the Old Port section if only to see the incredible gothic influenced architecture of this fine cathedral. Its a humbling experience and a testimony to the dedication of those that built it.