A time for everything

By turnx3

Notre Dame Basilica

The day dawned bright and sunny, and after a very good breakfast at our hotel, we walked down into Old Montreal. Our first destination was Notre Dame Basilica, which faces Place d'Armes. As you can see, the interior is incredibly beautiful and ornate. The sanctuary was finished in 1830, and the first tower in 1843. The interior took much longer, and Victor Bourgeau, who also worked on Montreal's Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral, worked on it from 1872 to 1879. A more intimate chapel, Chapelle du Sacré-Coeur (Chapel of the Sacred Heart), was built behind it, along with some offices and a sacristy, completed in 1888. Unfortunately this chapel was destroyed by fire on December 7, 1978. It was rebuilt, with modern vaulting and reredos and a striking huge bronze altarpiece by Quebec sculptor Charles Daudelin.

From there we walked to the water front and along the harbor to another, smaller church, Notre Dame du Bonsecours. One of the oldest churches in Montreal, it was built in 1771 over the ruins of an earlier chapel.
In the 19th century, the chapel came to be a pilgrimage site for the sailors who arrived in the Old Port of Montreal; they would make offerings to the Virgin in gratitude for her "good help" for safe sea voyages. In 1849, the Bishop of Montreal gave the chapel a statue of the Virgin as Star of the Sea, which was placed atop the church overlooking the harbour. Due to this connection of the chapel and the port, the chapel is often called the Sailors' Church. You can climb the tower and have a great panorama over the river and port area. Below the chapel, the crypt is being excavated as an archeological site, which visitors can also see. In the evening we returned to Notre Dame Basilica to see the sound and light presentation about the history of the church and the founding of Montreal, which was really great, then had another great dinner in Old Montreal.

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