Place d’Armes, meaning parade square, is a major public venue in Old Montreal (Vieux-Montréal). The picturesque plaza is bordered by some of Montreal’s most notable architectural landmarks, including the 17th-century Saint-Sulpice Seminary, the Gothic Revival-style Notre-Dame Basilica, and the art deco Aldred Building.
Many Montreal walking, biking, and sightseeing coach tours come to Place d’Armes so visitors can see the historic structures that surround the square. Most walking tours of Old Montreal follow routes that incorporate Place d’Armes and other historic attractions in the area, such as the Old Port, Place Jacques-Cartier, Ramezay Castle (Chateau Ramezay), and Bonsecours Market.
Things to Know Before You Go
Place d’Armes is a must-visit for architecture fans, with many landmark buildings from different eras lining the square.
Bring a camera: The square offers some of the finest views of Montreal’s Notre-Dame Basilica.
Wheelchair users can access the square via the Place-d’Armes Metro station. The square’s main attraction, Notre-Dame Basilica, is also wheelchair accessible.
How to Get There
To get to Place d’Armes, take the Metro Orange Line to the Place-d’Armes station. The square is just a 5-minute walk from the waterfront Old Port.
When to Get There
Visit in summer or fall, when it’s warm enough to linger and take some time to admire the surrounding sights. The square is also appealing at night when the facade of the basilica is strategically lit, highlighting its exterior architectural features. On select nights, the basilica hosts an interior light show, which use lighting design and sound to showcase the beauty of the basilica’s artwork and interior decoration.
Place d’Armes Architecture
Next to the basilica is the Saint-Sulpice Seminary. Built in 1687 by Catholic Sulpicians, Saint-Sulpice Seminary is the second-oldest building in Montreal. On another side of the square sits the red sandstone 8-story New York Life Insurance Building—built in the late 1880s and considered to be Montreal’s first skyscraper—and the Aldred Building, a 23-story 1931 art deco gem that bears a strong resemblance to the Empire State Building in New York.