The Quick Guide To Notre Dame Basilica in Montreal

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The Notre Dame Basilica is a Roman Catholic Church located in the city of Montreal in French-speaking Canada. American Architect James O’Donnell built it following the Gothic Revival Style. Unsurprisingly, he is the only man to have been buried in the church’s tomb.

Most of the construction took place between 1824 to 1829. However, the final tower was completed in 1843. At the time of its completion, it was the largest church in North America and remained so for about 50 years. Pope John Paul II gave the church minor basilica status in 1982. Additionally, in 1989 it became a National Historic Site Of Canada.

The Quick Guide To Notre Dame Basilica in Montreal
The Quick Guide To Notre Dame Basilica in Montreal

Interior Design Of Notre Dame Basilica

Victor Bourgeau worked on the interior design from 1870 to 1900. He accepted the challenge to redesign the church’s interior after the original layout by O’Donnel received a lot of criticism.

The Saint-Chappelle in Paris inspired the interior design of the basilica with its colorful vaults and columns. Consequently, the final effect is very elaborate and a perfect example of gothic revival architecture. The vaults are deep blue and have stars on them. Moreover, the walls are decorated with stained glass that depicts the religious history of Montreal. The sanctuary also has numerous colors, including red, blue, purple. Finally, the church is filled with numerous wooden figurines and religious statues.

The Quick Guide To Notre Dame Basilica in Montreal
The Quick Guide To Notre Dame Basilica in Montreal

Notre-Dame du Sacré-Cœur

Next to the main church is a small chapel that was completed in 1891 and used for smaller ceremonies and church services. The first building followed the gothic revival style, and architects Perreault and Mesnard designed it. Much of the first building burnt down in 1978, but Jodoin, Lamarre, Pratte, and associates rebuilt it in 1982. They kept most of the original design, only changing the vaults to allow more natural light to enter the church. Nowadays, only meditation and adoration take place in a small church.

The smaller chapel follows in the footsteps of the basilica as it also has very elaborate interior décor. It boasts a French-style organ that has 1648 pipes, 2 keyboards with 25 sets and a pedalboard.  

Tourist Information

The Basilica is one of the most popular North American tourist attractions, with over 11 million visitors annually. The Basilica is close to the metro station Place d’Armes. If you are attending mass at the cathedral entrance is free, but for normal tourist visits, the cathedral charges 8 Canadian dollars.

Notre Dame Basilica has a French mass every day. From Mondays to Friday they take place at 7:30 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. On Saturdays they are at 5 p.m. and on Sundays at 8 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 11 a.m., and 5 p.m. The 11 a.m. masses on Sunday have live organ music and songs from the basilica choir. The basilica has other regular organ performances, and many city residents attend the basilica’s rendition of Handel’s Messiah every Christmas.

‘Aura’ a 45-minute sound and light show takes place twice every night except on Mondays. It dramatically showcases the building’s splendor.