Must see

Jan. 26, 2024

Montréal’s Underground City Tour: A Guide to Hidden Treasures


Regardless of the season, shopping malls – perfect shelters against bad weather – become favorite places for weekend shopping. Montreal’s famous underground pedestrian network, known as the RÉSO, offers a unique shopping experience in the heart of the metropolis.

Connecting metro stations to numerous shopping centers over a distance of 32 kilometers, the RÉSO is located mainly in the city center. This playful and fascinating journey is ideal for an outing with friends, a shopping session as a couple, or a moment of relaxation sheltered from the rain, snow, or cold.

Here is our recommended itinerary for a relaxed stroll full of unique discoveries in Montreal’s underground walkways, featuring our current favorites.

Le Complexe Desjardins: An ideal starting point

With an area of 4 million square feet, Le Complexe Desjardins is the most spacious building in Montreal. It houses the prestigious DoubleTree by Hilton hotel, three office towers, 110 shops and restaurants, as well as one of the most beautiful food courts in downtown. Impressive indeed!

The large public square at the heart of the complex, modernized and functional, offers a space for relaxation near a spectacular fountain. There, you can take a pleasant break while admiring the luminous water jets dancing up to the ceiling.

Montréal souterrain : Complexe Desjardins
© Complexe Desjardins

The Historic Mural by Frédéric Back at Place-des-Arts

Just a few steps from Le Complexe Desjardins is the entrance to the Place-des-Arts metro. There, you will discover a mural dating from 1966 designed by Quebec artist Frédéric Back, which tells the story of music in Montreal.

The work visually represents important moments and prominent personalities from the city’s music scene, from the first concert held on the island in 1535. It features emblematic figures such as Guillaume Couture, Calixa Lavallée, and Emma Lajeunesse, alias La grande Albani.

Montréal souterrain : fresque Frédéric Back

An original tasting at Place Montréal Trust

After admiring Frédéric Back’s work at the Place-des-Arts metro, head to Place Montréal Trust where a unique experience awaits you: The Carlo’s Bakery Cake ATM!

Each generous slice, carefully prepared in the original bakery in Hoboken, New Jersey, is a true feast for the taste buds. With an enticing choice of flavors such as rainbow vanilla, chocolate fudge, funfetti, and the famous carrot cake, there is something for everyone’s taste.

Montréal souterrain : gâteaux Carlo's Bakery place Montréal Trust
© Place Montréal Trust Bagel Factory at Carrefour Industrielle Alliance

Located in the Carrefour Industrielle Alliance, La Fabrique de Bagel offers a selection of fresh bagels with various flavors. An authentic taste experience for bagel enthusiasts. No more room after your generous slice of Carlo’s Bakery cake? No problem, you can take them to go for a tasting later, thus adding a delicious touch to your Montreal gourmet tour.

 Montréal souterrai : La fabrique de Bagel
© La Fabrique de Bagel

Harry Potter-themed Candies and Barbie Exhibition at Cours Mont-Royal

Continue your walk by passing through Les Cours Mont-Royal, a must-visit place for those who love cultural discoveries and unique shopping. This destination offers an experience blending art, history, and fashion, with its diverse boutiques and fascinating exhibitions.

Here, a stop at Carré Confiseries is an absolute must. This shop will delight both children and Harry Potter fans with its range of candies inspired by the iconic characters of Hogwarts.

Les Cours Mont-Royal also hosts the Expo Barbie, a free exhibition celebrating one of the most beloved dolls. With over 1000 figurines on display, including unique models inspired by Hollywood stars or dressed by major international designers, this exhibition is sure to please a wide audience, including those who are not particularly fans of Barbie.


A social break at Le Cathcart

Le Cathcart, located near the Bonaventure metro in Montreal, is the ultimate epicurean space for locals. This spacious 35,000 square feet area, located in Place Ville Marie, offers a variety of food counters, full-service restaurants, cafes, and a Biergarten.

You will also be charmed by its large garden flooded with light thanks to the glass pavilion that overlooks the place. This location offers a perfect setting for a coffee break or an evening drink.

Montréal souterrain : le Cathcart
© Le Cathcart

Atrium Le 1000 Skating Rink: Year-Round Skating Joys

End your journey with a wow effect at Atrium Le 1000 de La Gauchetière! This venue boasts a year-round skating rink beneath a glass dome, delighting both skating aficionados and families. 

Located on the ground floor of the tallest building in the city center, the rink operates from Thursday to Sunday, providing a distinctive urban skating experience.

Montréal souterrain : Atrium 1000 de la Gauchetière
© @iuc_singh04

Stay tuned for downtown news