Basilica of Notre Dame, Montreal, Canada

basilica notre dame montreal altar 3
The altar of the Basilica of Notre Dame, with its blue-lit background. An unusual effect made possible in a newer cathedral with modern lighting technology. Beautiful.

The symbolic color of the Virgin Mary is blue. Just look at the thousands of paintings around Europe and that should become obvious. And the Basilica of Notre Dame in Montreal, (Notre Dame means Our Lady, for those of you who are French-deficient,) is a riot of the royal holy blue. The Basilica of Notre Dame is particularly blue, as a matter of fact, because the ceiling is a blue firmament speckled with gold stars. Heaven.

notre dame montreal pulpit organ
The ceiling, the organ, the pulpit, and the gallery. More and more blue.

As you loyal followers of our travels will certainly know, I'm probably even more drawn to churches than I am to spectacular nature. I'm not particularly religious in the traditional sense. But I am always in awe of the result of the artists' inspiration that leads to such human inspired devotion.

I'm much more inclined to admire, and be in awe of, the achievements of man. I guess it's because I could reasonably aspire to create such art myself. Well, maybe not reasonably.

Like I said, just be in awe. And thank men such as James O'Donnell, Victor Bourgeau, and John Redpath, who designed and decorated this masterpiece of the new Gothic style.

notre dame pulpit top montreal
The carving on the pillar capital a the top of the pulpit.
notre dame montreal chapel decoration
A chapel carving, with the distinctive French decoration.
notre dame montreal confessional
The pure Gothic decoration at the top of the confessional.
notre dame montreal columns
The beautifully painted columns and gallery facade. The modern touch on the ancient Gothic easel.
notre dame montreal wedding chapel
The side “Wedding Chapel” with the modern altar tableau by Charles Daudelin added after the original was burned by an arsonist in 1978.
notre dame candles saint montreal
The devotional candles are blue and gold as well.
notre dame altar saints montreal
Detail of the altar and saints.
notre dame montreal carved pews
Pew topping carvings of the seats for the church sextons. A small token of appreciation on earth before their reward in heaven? These pews actually pivot slightly so the occupants can face the pulpit directly during the sermon.
notre dame montreal pulpit vert
The prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel provide the base of the pulpit.

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6 thoughts on “Basilica of Notre Dame, Montreal, Canada”

    • Thanks, Lillie. It’s a stunning building. I first saw it in 1997 and this trip to Montreal I was in a rush to get back to it. One of the very best we’ve seen.

  1. I first visited in 1975- before the fire out back. I can never can describe the first 30 feet I took when I entered the main entrance. I stood there with my jaw on the floor. It was unfortunate I had no camera capable of low light exposure. Maybe some day I’ll go back to revisit. Quite the sight. I wonder if Europe can at least equal the beauty?


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