So, I’m back with my regular monthly post about free activities to do in Montreal. Some from the JULY EDITION are still valid, such as the free meditation, ballroom dance classes and fireworks, but here are some all-new suggestions for the month of August to keep you from breaking the bank during your vacation.
FRANCOFOLIES is 11 days of celebrating the best musical talents of the French-speaking world. It’s actually the biggest French-language music festival in the world, and many of the shows are outdoors and free! Brought to you by the same minds who created the Montreal Jazz Fest, the 2009 edition of FrancoFolies pays tribute to the great Alain Bashung who passed away this year. Hundreds of great artists to choose from. CHECK OUT THE PROGRAM. Corner Ste-Catherine and Jeanne-Mance Street. (Place-des-Arts metro station.)
THE MONTREAL MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS’ permanent collections are always free. They include: Napoleon, Sacred Africa and The Body in Glass. The MMFA is great and EXTREMELY INNOVATIVE. Plus, they have some amazing SHOPPING! (Guy-Concordia metro station)
THE INTERNATIONAL BALLOON FESTIVAL is an activity for the entire family! A 45 minute drive from the city, this festival is really magical as hundreds of hot air balloons launch into the sky every day. It really brings out the child in me! Also, the festival includes free outdoors show by Montreal’s very own Simple Plan, not to mention Wyclef Jean and US rap sensation Flo Rida. August 8 to August 16, St-Jean-Sur-Richelieu.
ST-JOSPEH ORATORY is that big green dome that you see on top if the Mount-Royal. It’s a very popular pilgrimage site and, personally, I love to go there to gather my thoughts and light a candle. There has to be a few thousands of candles there, different colours, different purposes, different Saints. When you go, make sure you notice all the canes and other orthopaedic equipment hanging on the walls. They were left as a token from people that had been cured by brother André, the founder of the oratory. On Queen-Mary Street, corner Côte-des-Neiges. (Short walk from Côte-des-Neiges or Université de Montréal metro stations.)
MOUNT-ROYAL is a great destination for a picnic. You may choose to participate in some of our weekly drumming festivities – known as TAM TAMS — or watch the crazy medieval fighters that go at it hard every Sunday. However, what I would like to suggest this month is a walk up Mount Royal, where you will get a great view of the city. WATCH THE VIDEO ON ME JOGGING IT. Fun, healthy and free! (A 15-minute walk from Mount-Royal metro station.)
MARY QUEEN OF THE WORLD CATHEDRAL is the closest you’ll get to Rome’s St. Peter’s Basilica without having to cross the ocean. The Cathedral is in the heart of downtown Montreal on René-Lévesque Boulevard, amongst city lights, shopping malls and sky scrappers and is a scaled-down version of St-Peter’s. The only difference here is that the 13 statues on top of the basilica represent patron saints of Montreal parishes, while St-Peter was crowned with the 12 apostles. René-Lévesque Street, between Mansfield and Metcalfe. (Peel or Bonaventure metro stations.)
MONTREAL’S FESTIBLUES is a five-day music festival that kicks off August 12th and is fully dedicated to blues. Located in Ahuntsic Park, this is a great place for tourists to make some interesting musical discoveries and enjoy a night under the stars. Although it’s not quite free, Festiblues will cost you $5 a night and a passport for all 5 days is available for $12. We can afford that! (Ahuntsic metro station)
What to do
Let's experience Montréal
→ Select your interests
→ Live your Montréal moments
→ Get inspired for you next stay