5 Things You Must See in Old Montreal

Old Montreal is an enchanting location that has retained a charm not found anywhere else in the city. Authentic buildings, horse-drawn carriages and street artists give an unmissable glimpse into the city’s history – attracting tourists and locals year-round. 

Boutiques, cafés and forward-thinking restaurants line the vibrant neighbourhood’s cobblestone streets that will leave you feeling transported back to a century gone by. But while many areas will have rested on the historical draw, Old Montreal is an evolving and dynamic quarter with new attractions that mix history and modernity. 

Old Montreal has so many sights that it can be hard to know where to start. So that you enjoy your time and don’t miss out on any of the must-see attractions, this guide provides a complete list of what to see in Old Montreal.

Notre-Dame Basilica

Not only is the Notre-Dame Basilica an attraction within Old Montreal, but the church’s unique beauty makes it an unmissable stop-off for all Montreal visitors. Notre-Dame Basilica is the city’s oldest Catholic parish church, founded in 1656, and houses an impressive interior with breathtaking woodcarvings and stain glass illustrations. 

The church is often referred to as Canada’s most stunning, so don’t miss this one.

Fronting Notre-Dame Basilica is Place d’Armes, a bustling square that you can relax on once you’re finished exploring the church’s interior. The square is framed by some of Montreal’s finest buildings such as the historic Bank of Montreal, the first skyscraper, and The Old Seminary of Saint Sulpice (the oldest stone dwelling in a city).

The streets

Perhaps the best thing about Old Montreal is the reward you get for simply walking around the entwining streets. Charming streets dating back to the 17th century for many years served as the city’s main thoroughfare but now 

Streets that are well worth a potter along include Rue Saint Paul, Rue Saint Urbain and Rue des Recollets. During your exploration, you will no doubt also reach Place Jacques Cartier. This square is somewhat a tourist hub but it’s well worth a visit for the stunning architecture that encases it. 

Bonsecours Market

Bonsecours Market is the oldest and largest public market in Montreal, dating back to 1847.

The market has changed somewhat in recent years, now housing 15 boutiques featuring everything from leather goods to native art. Not only will the market satisfy your shopping needs, but Bonsecours Market is acknowledged as one of Canada’s ten finest heritage buildings.


Montreal’s leading art museums tend to be located in the city’s downtown, but fittingly some historic museums are found in Old Montreal. 

Pointe-à-Callière is a history and archaeology museum built on Montreal’s birthplace. The museum specializes in urban archaeological and history but also international exhibits in ancient cultures.

Château Ramezay is a museum found opposite Montreal City Hall that takes you through Montreal’s 500-year history via exhibits, a French colonial-style garden, and portrayals of historical figures.

The shops

Copy-and-paste shopping malls certainly aren’t found in Old Montreal but you will find a specialist range of boutiques selling art and designer clothes. 

The fashion industry and Montreal have a longstanding relationship. Top designers that choose to make Montreal their home base themselves in the heart of Old Montreal. High-end and smaller boutiques can be found on the cobbled streets and tucked away in historic buildings – adding some extra glamour to the shopping experience.There is so much to discover in Old Montreal, and residents have something to keep them occupied every day of the year! Old Montreal real estate is, of course, one of the most in-demand in all of Montreal. To find out more about why purchasing real estate in Old Montreal is a why investment, click here.

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