Montreal’s Notre Dame Basilica

The interior of Old Montreal’s Notre Dame Basilica has to rank it as one of the most stunning churches or cathedrals in North America.

Interior Notre-Dame Basilica in Montreal
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When it was first built in the mid-19th century, Notre Dame Basilica (or the Basilique Notre-Dame de Montréal, in French, still the primary language of Québéc) was the largest church in North America. It has since been eclipsed in terms of square footage by the modern evangelical mega-churches in the South and Midwest, but Notre Dame still surely ranks as one of the most spectacular.

And with a prime spot in the heart of Old Montreal fronting onto Place D’Armes, its quaint environs of cobblestone streets and European architecture add to its old-world charm.

You don’t need to squint too hard to see the French-Catholic influence, but then this is the Québécois heartland, after all. With the twin towers on the outside reminiscent of its Parisian namesake, the Gothic revival interior is extraordinarily ornate, combining incredible detail and the traditional Gothic sharp arches with a modern twist of dramatic accent lighting in a range of hues, especially a rich blue.

The effect isn’t what you’d call subtle, and it’s perilously close to something Disney would dream up, but it is quite something to behold.

Photos of Montreal’s Notre-Dame Basilica

Notre-Dame Basilica with Horse and Carriage at night
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Notre Dame Basilica paintings and candles
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Interior of Notre-Dame Basilica in Old Montreal
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Basilique Notre-Dame de Montreal
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Angel Christmas lights at Notre-Dame Basilica
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Alcove in Notre-Dame Basilica
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Basilique Notre-Dame de Montreal
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Christmas lights at Notre-Dame Basilica in Montreal
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
High Altar of Notre-Dame Basilica in Montreal
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Notre-Dame Basilica in Montreal main hall
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Christ on the Cross with candles in Notre-Dame Basilica in Montreal
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com
Basilique Notre-Dame de Montreal
Photo © David Coleman / HaveCameraWillTravel.com

What to Know Before You Go

Like other active churches, it’s sometimes closed for services and events.

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David Coleman / Photographer
by David Coleman

I'm a freelance travel photographer based in Washington DC. Seven continents, up mountains, underwater, and a bunch of places in between. My images have appeared in numerous publications, and you can check out some of my gear reviews and tips here. More »