Tuesday, July 05, 2016
Canada: Vieux Montréal, Montréal.
We spent our second day in Montréal exploring Vieux Montréal (Vieux meaning Old) and Parc Jean-Drapeau. We visited the ice skating rink, walked by the river and ate lunch at a great restaurant called Le Cartet where we found a boutique French maple syrup to bring home. We didn't bother going ice skating as I had already performed a rather extraordinary fall at an outdoor skating rink in Calgary, leaving one of my knees crazy bruised for weeks and leaving me unwilling to repeat the experience quite so soon.
As the name suggests, Vieux Montréal is full of historic buildings, one of the most renowned of which is the Basilique Notre-Dame. The basilica is spectacular, with beautiful, ornate detail in every corner. The artist in me was in awe of the sheer dedication in every stained glass window, every wooden sculpture, every painted pattern, and how well preserved everything was. Even if you're not religious or have little interest in old buildings, the basilica is impressive and a nice, peaceful way to spend a couple of hours, so I'd recommend seeing it for yourself.
If you're visiting Montréal, leave a whole day to explore Vieux Montréal. The basilica chewed up a lot more of our time than I was expecting because we really lingered there, but there's plenty enough to explore that it would be best to set aside a whole day for it.