Today, we walked 11 miles. We walked up, down, and around Mount Royal–passing through Westmount from its eastern to its western border along Rue St. Catherine and Rue Sherbrooke.
Views of Rue Sherbrooke in Westmount:
Read on for a lot more details and photos of our adventure…
Off of Rue St. Catherine in Westmount, we discovered this old abandoned train station, apparently the old Gare Westmount (“Gare” is French for “train station”)
We checked out some shops in Westmount, and started working our way up Victoria Avenue (which heads up the mountain). We immediately came upon an awesome little tea shop where I bought a variety of flowering teas (which I’ve been dying to try) for a great price. If you don’t know what flower teas are, click here and check out the photo below.
We continued to walk/climb our way up the mountain through the beautiful streets of Westmount.
We saw spectacular views of Montreal from lookout points as we climbed our way up the mountain to St. Joseph’s Oratory.
And, finally, the dome of St. Joseph revealed itself to us over the trees. We made our way to it, slack-jawed over its size. From Wikipedia, more about the Oratory:
In 1904, Blessed André Bessette, CSC, began the construction of a small chapel on the side of the mountain near Notre Dame College. Soon, it became much too small. Even though it was enlarged, in 1917, a church was built, called the crypt, with a seating capacity of 1,000. In 1924, the construction of the basilica was inaugurated; it was finally completed in 1967. The Oratory’s dome is the third-largest of its kind in the world after the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace of Yamoussoukro and Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome, and the church is the largest in Canada.
We went inside and were amazed at how modern the interior is, which I’m guessing would have to do with it being constructed between 1924 and 1967. Take a look, and click the images to enlarge:
After seeing the oratory, we walked down the long flights of stairs leading to its grand entrance and hopped on the subway to Outremont. Outremont is another cute area with small shops and restaurants, tree lined streets with ornate houses, many of which are Victorian in architecture style. We loved it immediately. We stopped at a little cafe that was recommended in one of our tour books, called Cafe Souvenir.
We didn’t get any photos of it, but here’s a screenshot of their website… check it out here. It’s an impressive website with a full version of their menu, which is set up like a passport.
Jon and I split a caesar salad with grilled chicken, which was amazing, and then got espresso and crepes with chocolate sauce for dessert. The chocolate sauce turned out to be more like a melted chocolate bar than any chocolate syrup I’ve ever had. While I was unable to find a photo of Cafe Souvenir, I did find a great photo of Theatre Outremont, which was directly across the way from our outside table at the cafe.
We then walked our way to Plateau, another fun district in Montreal that Jon and I really enjoy. We walked along Parc Jeanne-Mance (which runs parallel down much of the length of Plateau) or down streets parallel to it, enjoying the architecture and beautiful gardens along the way.
We meandered over through the McGill “Ghetto”, which is McGill’s student neighborhood. The area is becoming discovered by more and more non-students who are moving into the area. It’s no wonder for its growing popularity, the area is filled with gorgeous Victorian architecture.
We headed to a section of Rue Prince Arthur that is sectioned off from car traffic, and completely lined with shops and cafes with outdoor tables. In the center is a pretty fountain and both times Jon and I have visited this area, musicians were playing. The area is so charming and very European, I love it!
We then hit the Latin Quartier (Latin Quarter, in French), which was all abuzz for the Brazilian Festival. Not much was going on, but plenty of people were milling around and stages were being set up for entertainment presumably to take place later tonight.
We then headed down St. Catherine to The Village, the gay-friendly district of Montreal, which was having an arts festival. After walking through much of The Village, we headed back to the nearest metro stop, Beaudry, which is shown below, complete with the colors of pride. 🙂 We then headed home to cool our heels.
Take a look at our full route, all 11 miles of it…