Old Montreal is one of my favorite places in North America. I go there as often as possible for many reasons.
The area is amazingly beautiful for those who love architecture and history. One minute you can be looking at the Notre Dame Basilica, one of the most amazing churches in the city. The inside of which is amazing with its colors and history, which is noticed by all those who enter.
You can then walk down the old pier and look out on the St Lawrence or go to the IMAX theater or Science Museum. However to enjoy Old Montreal you have to go to Bonsecour Market and check out the sales. It is a huge flea market in an incredible old but very dignified looking building that has the most unique and original items for sale. There are also many other stores in the building.
After that you can walk down Rue de la Commune and have a row of restaurants on one side and the St Lawrence on the other. As you approach alleys and old buildings you can see the old faded print on the sides of the buildings dating back more than a 100 years. At the end you can go to one of the best little cafes around called Creme de la Creme and sit in a building that is so old that the walls are almost three feet thick and solid stone.
There is also the archeaology museum which has a whole underground portion to show the history of the city and its aqueduct system and also has interesting displays that not many other people get to see. For example several years ago it had the Dead Sea Scrolls on display, one of the most interesting and rare things.
You can also go to Jacques Cartier Square and look at local merchants wares, get a caricature, or have some of the tastiest food around. While you sit and eat you can enjoy a view of some of the old government buildings that look more majestic than most buildings we see today.
There is no real way to put into words the affect Old Montreal will have on a person. It has amazing architecture, art, and people. The food is amazing and the area is full of 4 and 5 star restaurants. There are side streets that are full of novelty stores, museums, and various other places. About a block away you have the entrance to China town which is fun an interesting in its own right.
Regardless wherever you walk in Old Montreal you are bound to find a store, restaurant, church, park, or cafe that steals your heart and makes you feel the history of Montreal.