Old Montréal and Old Port

© Tourisme Montréal, Stéphan Poulin - Place Jacques-Cartier© Tourisme Montréal, Stéphan Poulin - Notre-Dame Basilica of MontréalOld Montréal
© Tourisme Montréal, Stéphan Poulin - Old Port of Montréal© Pointe-à-Callière, Montréal Museum of Archaeology and History - Pointe-à-Callière, Montréal Museum© Société du Vieux-Port de Montréal, Miguel Legault

© Tourisme Montréal, Stéphan Poulin - Place Jacques-Cartier

As I stood on the cobblestone corner, dazzled by the sheer scope of possibility for adventure, I wondered, “Should I turn back or go forward?”

It was a toss-up between a history lesson at the Pointe-à-Callière Museum of Archaeology and History (built atop the remains of the old city) or a designer and artisanal boutique shopping spree. Finally, I decided upon a little street performer- and people-watching, drink in hand, from a terrace on the lively Place Jacques-Cartier.

My plan was to amble, soak up the European charm of Old Montréal and maybe even learn a thing or two along the way. I began with some pampering at the boutique hotel spa—oh là là—and then whisked off to a picturesque rue Saint-Paul art gallery. Next, I strolled over to the Quays of the Old Port to take in the view while I dined al fresco at a café. The harbourfront was abuzz with cyclists, rollerbladers, pedal-boaters and passers-by. I could easily imagine the same energy in the winter, with ice skaters and lovers snuggling close for a romantic wintry promenade.

More sightseeing and a tour of the Notre Dame Basilica later led to Place Jacques-Cartier, where I met up with the love of my life for a romantic evening of discovery. As our calèche merrily clip-clopped along the streets, we marvelled at how, in Old Montréal, you can step back in time or rush forward into the future at every turn: this is where the action began and where it continues, both night and day.

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