170919 Montreal

Today we will visit the exquisite Notre-Dame Basilica and explore Montreal through a guided tour.

It was good to start today off with a plateful of fruit. After a lighter breakfast than I have been having, we were taken on a city tour of Montreal. My impressions of Montreal have softened since the tour. Once we had driven for an hour or so through the old and French part of the city, we were taken over the 501 foot high “mountain”, to the English side of the mountain: lush green parklands with the leaves changing a little towards brighter reds and yellows. Although the French has much history and lots of eating places, I still enjoy the wide open parklands that a city has.

The city is having its 350 year birthday celebrations and Canada is having their 150 years as a country, celebrations this year. And outside the city hall are some interesting garden artworks depicting those celebrations.

After the city bus tour and a short lunch break, what more common site to visit is the city’s Notre-Dame. Construction took place between 1824 and 1829 in Gothic Revival style. The organ has 7000 pipes and looks very impressive. Each Sunday, a concert is performed by the choir and organ.

Lunch-time again and we chose a street-side spanish restaurant with entertainment on the sidewalk across from the restaurant. A very talented South American pan-piper band just finished as we were entering the restaurant precinct and then another guy, who didn’t pick up many tips from passing traffic at all, entertained us during our meal. He was an intense performer rather than an entertainer. Just as we were leaving, the South American band came back on – what a pity.

Montreal is known for an extensive underground shopping centre. We are happy to build up our steps and eventually found the centre after asking many guides and shopkeepers along the way, just where the entrance is. The centre is really a maze of 20 km of shopping malls so there must be many many shops; not a good place to be for many. Sorry, we didn’t take any photos.

At 6:30pm, we “crashed” on the bed for a short nap after which we were to go out to the city again to view the “lights” being shone on some of the buildings. However, that didn’t happen and we didn’t wake until 1:30am this morning (Wednesday). We needed the sleep but its a pity to have been awake for the last 3 hours. I just may go back to bed after completing this post.

Tomorrow, we head to Ottawa for a two night stay.