Notre-Dame Basilica - Notre-Dame Basilica information and pictures

Notre-Dame Basilica - Basilique Notre-Dame is in Vieux-Montreal (Old City) in the center of Place d’Armes. The Basilica was built in the 17th century but the new current building was commissioned in 1892. Notre-Dame Basilica was designed by architect James O’Donnell, an American, an architect and Protestant, for this purpose. He chose the Gothic Revival style, and the new construction project was launched at the turn of the 19th century. This style of architecture was very popular in the US and England at the time. Construction took place mainly between 1824 and 1829. Unfortunately, O’Donnell died before finishing the project. The old church was destroyed in 1830, and the only part of it that survived was the bell tower, which remained standing until 1843. This year new twin towers were erected. The western tower is called Perseverance, and the eastern – Temperance. They were finished in 1841 and 1843 respectively. The twin towers of the Notre-Dame Basilica are 69m (226 ft) high. The eastern tower holds a carillon with 10 bells and the western tower hold a 12 ton bell, rung on special occasions.

The new chapel was commissioned by Curé Léon-Alfred Sentenne in 1889. This was so that marriage ceremonies and funerals could take place there. The new chapel was named the Chapel of Notre-Dame du Sacré-Cœur (Our Lady of the Sacred Heart). It was completed in a matter of two years and consecrated in late 1891. It features the Gothic Revival style as well and boasts a wide variety of sculptural motifs.

The chapel was damaged by fire in 1978, following which it was reconstructed. The new chapel opened in 1982. By then the interior’s appearance was a far cry from that of the original church. Earlier, the wall at the end of the sanctuary was flat and light came in through a big window, something that was typical of English Gothic churches. An Italian artist was commissioned to paint the columns in the nave so as to appear as if made of marble. A second wave of decoration commenced around 1870 until 1900. The interior decorations were modeled after the tendencies in France at the time, such as blue and gold colors, sculpted wood and gilded objects.

The basilica holds archeological treasures. Visitors are impressed by the crypt of the church, which makes it possible to study its origins. Because the basilica was not built on the exact place of the original church, many archaeological treasures are found underneath its front square and around the basilica itself.

Religious services are held in the basilica, including baptism, funerals, marriages, and more. Other services are Communion of the Sick, the Anointing of the Sick, confirmation, and other sacraments. A magnificent show that takes place here makes use of advanced multimedia techniques, highlighting the architectural, cultural, and historical legacy of the basilica. “And Then There Was Light” features the work of skilled technicians and artists. Twenty-six silent motors move the curtains, projectors, and screens in this superb production.

Notre-Dame Basilica is a must see when you visit Montreal and is a popular tourist attraction.

Where is Notre-Dame Basilica: 110 rue Notre Dame W, Place d’Armes

How to get to Notre-Dame Basilica: Subway Orange line to Place d’Armes station

Opening hours: Daily from 8AM to 5PM

Notre-Dame Basilica Montreal
Notre-Dame Basilica Montreal, inside
Notre-Dame Basilica Montreal

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