Montreal city breaks cram in loads of cultural gems, from mega art galleries to some of Canada’s best-looking churches.

City breaks to Montreal

As Canada’s cultural capital, Montreal pulls in history buffs and art fanatics galore. It’s the biggest city in the country’s Quebec province, and it takes up a chunky island on the St Lawrence River, so you’re never far from the waterfront. Imposing churches and massive art galleries are among the city’s best bits. And, Francophiles will love the Parisian vibes and bucketload of bistros in the Latin Quarter.

An arty all-rounder

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts should be near the top of any art lover’s to-do list. The museum’s home to a whopping 45,000 pieces, from ancient sculptures to right-up-to-date paintings. And, it’s not just galleries that showcase this city’s love of art. The Saint-Laurent Boulevard area’s smattered with ginormous street murals that change every year for the MURAL Festival, giving the area an annual makeover.

Churches to check out

If history and architecture are your cup of tea, there are two churches in Montreal that you won’t want to miss. First, hightail it over to the city centre for a nose at St Joseph’s Oratory – a Roman Catholic basilica with sprawling gardens and a corker of a dome that stands nearly 100 metres tall. The Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal’s worth getting your camera out for, too. Outside, it resembles the Paris landmark it shares its name with. Inside, the walls and ceiling are decked out in tones of blue and gold.

Next up, nature

Swing your gaze away from the city, and Quebec’s natural scenery files into the picture. Sandy beaches lie in wait in nearby Oka – a region also known for its cheese. The Laurentians region’s a couple of hours’ drive away, plonking it firmly within daytripping distance, too. Here, forest-cloaked mountains, pond-still lakes and as-quaint-as-they-come villages make up the landscape.

At a Glance

  • Eye up classic paintings in the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
  • Saunter around the sculpture garden at St Joseph’s Oratory
  • Chow down on the likes of steak frites at a French bistro