Montreal – ideas for free time

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Whilst in Montreal take some time to explore the Old City, with its charming shops and historic buildings. The Notre Dame Basilica is worth visiting to see the grand wooden panelling, intricate stained glass windows and hand-carved sculptures. An informative sound and light-show depicting the history of the building takes place daily and highlights the importance of this impressive church in the development of Montreal and indeed the province.

From here it’s easy to wander along to the central Place Jacques Cartier, one of the best places to soak up the city’s atmosphere, flanked with a number of cafes and often lively with street entertainers. The surrounding cobbled alleys are lined with boutique stores and little art galleries, many of which draw inspiration from the city. If you are looking for a souvenir of your time here, this is the place to find it. From here it’s just a short stroll to the waterfront and the Montreal Observation Wheel, the tallest in Canada and with extensive views over the city.

The many different neighbourhoods of Montreal are easily explored on foot but we recommend taking a guided walking or cycling tour to really get the most from this – a local guide can give a an fascinating insight in to the history of the city and how the distinctive cultural quarters have come about.

Finally, flex your limbs and climb the hill to Mont Royal, the lynch-pin of the city. This large park provides a large, leafy space for outdoor activities all year round, and, on a clear day, spectacular views over the city and the St Lawrence River. From the walking trails on top of this ‘mini-mountain’ all the way down to the leisure boats and paddleboarders on the river – modern day Montreal has plenty to offer.


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