The Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal was one of the places that I had on my list to visit while planning my trip to Montreal, Canada. The cathedral is one of the city’s most popular attractions with 100’s of thousands visiting every year. The famous Pope John Paul II raised the church’s status to Basilica in 1982. The entry fee is $5.00 (cash only) and 20 minute tours are offered in both French and English. Mass is held twice daily during the week, once on Saturday and four times on Sunday.
The Notre-Dame Basilica’s architecture is Gothic Revival and it is a designated National Historic Site of Canada. Construction was between 1824 – 1829 and the Basilica’s architect was an Irishman named James O’Donnell. It was the largest church in North America for fifty years.
When I stepped inside the Basilica; it was like something out of a fairy tale. The interior is grand and colorful with a deep blue ceiling full of golden stars. The Sanctuary and Altar swirl in a mix of blue, red, purple, silver and gold. The colors combined with hundreds of wood carvings, several statues and stained glass truly make it a magical place.
The Casavante Freres pipe organ was built in 1891. It has 7000 individual pipes and 4 keyboards and sits upstairs of the Cathedral doors.
This wonderful building is not only a Church and attraction but, also hosts concerts at Christmas time and has been the site of some high profile weddings including Celine Dion.
When visiting Montreal, The Notre Dame Basilica should be at the top of your list of places to see!