When we visited Montréal last fall, we chose to stay in the historic “Old Montréal, the oldest area in the city of Montréal with a few remains dating back to New France. 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. The original site of Montreal in 1642, then known as Ville-Marie, is precisely known. This is the Pointe-à-Callière, a piece of land at the confluence of the St. Lawrence River and Little River. The founder, Paul Chomedey de Maisonneuve, built a fort in 1643 called Société Notre-Dame de Montréal for the conversion of the Indians in New France. The company was created by the Sulpician Jean-Jacques Olier and by Jérôme Le Royer (Sieur de La Dauversière) in 1642. The Société acquired sovereignty over the island of Montreal and brought the first settlers to house, feed, educate and care for the American Indians.
William Gray Hotel
We stayed at the William Grey Hotel, located in Old Montreal, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Jacques Cartier Square, Old Port, and Bonsecours Market. This was an exceptional hotel, comfortable with great service.
Offering a spectacular view of the river and the city, reinvented cocktails, a fresh and appetizing tapas menu and the best DJ of the metropolis, Terrasses Bonsecours are a must in summer in Montreal. In the fall, this a spectacular slice of Montréal, not only for the restaurant but for the natural beauty of the maples.
Vieux-Port de Montréal
The Old Port of Montreal (Vieux-Port de Montréal) is the historic port of Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Located in Old Montreal, it stretches for over two kilometres along the St-Lawrence River in Old Montreal. It was used as early as 1611, when French fur traders used it as a trading post. The Old Port was redeveloped in the early 1990s, under the direction of architects Aurèle Cardinal and Peter Rose. It is today a recreational and historical area and draws six million tourists annually.
Bonsecours Market (Marché Bonsecours), at 350 rue Saint-Paul in Old Montreal, is a two-story domed public market. For more than 100 years, it was the main public market in the Montreal area. It also briefly accommodated the Parliament of United Canada for one session in 1849. Named for the adjacent Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel, it opened in 1847. During 1849 the building was used for the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada. The market’s design was influenced by Dublin’s Customs House. Construction of this Palladian style building began in 1844 and was designed by British architect William Footner, and alterations completed in 1860 by Irish-born Montreal architect George Browne (1811-1885). Bonsecours Market also housed Montreal City Hall between 1852 and 1878.
Old Montréal (Vieux-Montréal)
These are just stray photos of color in Old Montréal. It is a small but beautiful area.
Jacques Cartier Square
The five-story Montreal City Hall (Hôtel de Ville de Montréal) is the seat of local government in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The original city hall was the work of architects Henri-Maurice Perrault and Alexander Cowper Hutchison, built between 1872 and 1878 in the Second Empire style.
In 1723, the Château Vaudreuil was built for Philippe de Rigaud, Marquis de Vaudreuil, its formal gardens occupying the space that is now the square. The Chateau burned down in 1803 and it was suggested by Jean-Baptiste Durocher and Joseph Périnault that the space be transformed into a public square, known as New Market Place. In 1809, Montreal’s oldest public monument was raised there, Nelson’s Column. Montreal’s oldest public monument, which was erected in 1809, just four years after the Battle of Trafalgar, is a full thirty years older than London’s much larger and more grandiose imperial tribute in Trafalgar Square. In 1847, the square was renamed in honor of Jacques Cartier, the explorer who claimed Canada for France in 1535.
After the bankruptcy of the Société Notre-Dame, the Sulpicians (who arrived in 1657) became in 1663 the Seigneurs of Montreal as Louis XIV took personal control over the colony. The new system gave them the island of Montreal, with the obligation to live there and ensure its development by cultivating the land. In 1665 the king sent 1,200 men, the Régiment de Carignan-Salières. The Sulpicians organised seigneuries at the centre of the island. François Dollier Casson established the first grid of streets in the colony, from existing trails. These early streets included the Rue Notre-Dame, the Rue Saint-Paul and Rue Saint-Jacques; the original grid remains visible as of 2014. Buildings of the era include the Hôtel-Dieu de Montréal, the Saint-Sulpice Old Seminary and Notre Dame Church (replaced later by the Notre-Dame Basilica).
Food at the William Gray
The William Gray had a nice selection of food. From the terrace bar to the Maison Edward-William-Gray the food and beverages are French and fresh. Hotel William Gray integrates Maison Edward-William-Gray, a historic building constructed in 1773. The restaurant, named after Margaret Oakes, wife of Edward William Gray, is managed by chef Derreck Bocking, who has worked at notable establishments in Montreal and also appeared on Top Chef Canada in 2011.
I hope you enjoyed the post, please leave a comment.
Old Montréal: http://www.vieux.montreal.qc.ca/
William Grey Hotel: http://hotelwilliamgray.com/
Terrasses Bonsecure: http://en.terrassesbonsecours.com/
Sisters of Bonsecure: http://bonsecours.org/
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