Old Montreal charms visitors with its picturesque squares, grand old-world architecture, and winding cobblestone streets. Whether in the Old Port or walking down the main street Rue Saint-Paul, it’s easy to feel transported back in time—in fact, some architectural remains date back to New France. The historic site is considered to be the best preserved Old Town in North America.
Exploring Old Montreal is the best way to experience the city’s history, culture, and architecture. Myriad group and private tours are designed to introduce visitors to a combination of all three on foot, by bike, by scooter, or even from the air. Most city tours include time in Old Montreal, with tour guides providing context for and explanation of all the Canadian history within its walls. Choose a night tour if you prefer to explore after dark or a food tour to dive into the local food truck and craft beer scenes.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Walking tours are a great way to experience Old Montreal, as the best way to get around this old part of the city is on foot.
- Old Montreal is known for its quaint sidewalk eateries and café culture, so be sure to take the time to enjoy one.
- Be sure to wear appropriate footwear for the cobblestone streets.
- Private tours often also visit nearby Mont Royal.
How to Get There
Old Montreal is bound by Rue Bern to the west, Rue Saint-Antoine to the north, Rue McGill in the east, and Old Port and the St. Lawrence River to the south. The area is easily accessible from downtown via the Underground City, and is also served by several bus routes and Metro stations.
When to Get There
Montreal draws many visitors year-round. Summer typically brings the best weather, the biggest festivals, and the most tourists. But the city is charming in winter as well, and Old Montreal becomes even more scenic and romantic after fresh snowfall.
Highlights of Old Montreal
The historic area’s pulsating center is Place Jacques-Cartier. From here, its center promenade slopes down from Rue Notre-Dame to the Old Port, lined with 18th-century stone buildings. At the base of the plaza are horse-drawn carriages, outdoor cafés, art galleries, and street performers. Nearby, you’ll find the Bonsecours Market, the oldest and largest public market in the city, and the stone Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel. West of Place Jacques-Cartier is the beautiful Place d’Armes, dominated by the Notre-Dame Basilica. The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and Museum of Archaeology and History are also worth visiting.