Exploring Old Montreal
Montreal may be one of North America's most stylish and forward-thinking cities, but it's also one of its oldest—and there's no better place to discover the city's rich history than in its aptly named Old Montreal neighborhood. Here at the center of town within an easily walkable few blocks, quaint cobblestone streets, lovely early architecture and fascinating historical sites blend with trendy shops, ultramodern art galleries and exceptional restaurants and hotels to create what's easily Montreal's most wander-worthy district.
1. What to Know
2. Where to Go
To the east is the Vieux-Port (or Old Port), no longer Montreal's main commercial harbor but today a busy waterfront recreation area, including a recently added urban beach. To the south is the Centre d’Histoire de Montreal, with 3 floors of exhibitions revealing the many shades of the city's story, all set within its renovated central fire station.
To the north is Place Jacques-Cartier, a spot that served as a marketplace even prior to European settlement and is now one of Montreal's most bustling tourist areas, lined with outdoor cafés and filled with street performers. Nearby are both Champ-de-Mars Park, site of the longest remaining section of the city's early fortification wall, and Château Ramezay, Quebec's oldest private history museum, set in the 1705 residence of a former governor of New France, and featuring a beautiful French colonial style garden.
3. Where to Browse
Around the corner from the latter along St. Paul Street are many of Montreal's hippest clothing boutiques, including Denis Gagnon (headquarters for the local fashion icon of the same name), Cahier d'Exercices (selling eclectic women's runway designs from around the world), Michel Brisson (with its stylish suits and streetwear for men) and Reborn (offering a curated collection of international labels for both women and men).