Ville-Marie is the core of Montreal, encompassing most of the downtown area, including Old Montreal (Vieux-Montréal), the Quartier des Spectacles cultural quarter, the Gay Village, two islands on the St. Lawrence River, and most of Mount Royal Park (Parc du Mont-Royal). It’s jam-packed with museums, churches, shops, restaurants, and other top attractions.
Most visitors to Montreal spend time in Ville-Marie, as it’s home to many of the city’s biggest attractions, including the Old Port, Notre-Dame Basilica, the Underground City, and Place des Arts.
Sightseeing tours by coach often follow routes leading through Ville-Marie, past neighborhoods including Chinatown and the Latin Quarter and sights such as Habitat 67, the Moshe Safdie–designed housing complex built for Expo 67. Walking tours in Ville-Marie typically center on Old Montreal, a picturesque district with historical squares and Old World architecture.
Things to Know Before You GoBring a camera as Ville-Marie is home to many of Montreal’s photo-worthy sights.
How to Get There
Ville-Marie is well connected by public transport. Numerous metro stations are situated within the boundaries of Ville-Marie, including Berri-UQAM, where the Green, Orange, and Yellow metro lines all intersect.
When to Get There
Ville-Marie is arguably at its best during summer. In the warmer months, lots of festivals center on the borough, including the Les FrancoFolies de Montréal, which highlights music and other acts from the Francophone world; the Montreal International Jazz Festival; and the comedy-focused Just For Laughs festival.
Exploring Old Montreal
Old Montreal is the oldest part of the city, and its age shows with grand 18th-century buildings and historical sights at every turn. Wander here and you’ll find monument-studded public squares, such as Place d’Armes, Place Royale, and Place Jacques-Cartier, abuzz with people and photogenic streets such as Rue Saint-Paul, which is ideal for dining and shopping. Other highlights include the 18th-century Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel, one of the city’s oldest churches, and Bonsecours Market, which dates all the way back to 1847.