Monday, April 14, 2014

Et La Lumiére Fut: And Then There Was Light Ignites Notre-Dame Basilica in Montréal for Families


**Disclosure: We received complimentary admission in order to facilitate this review. No compensation was received. All opinions are 100% my own.


After leaving Burlington, Vermont on our road trip, we ventured further north to Montréal. Montréal is not very far from Burlington--just under 2 hours. While I do highly recommend traveling to Montréal for a vacation on its own, if you are in Burlington it is definitely worth carving out a day or so to visit. Montréal is a city with so much flavor and charm that every visit is a treat. This past visit was our third visit to Montréal and while we felt quite at home, we enjoyed exploring new places along with some of the old. While we were in Old Montréal, it began to snow which was pretty heavenly! Snow kissed Montréal is serene and beautiful!



While in Montréal, we attended Et La Lumiére Fut {And Then There Was Light} at the grand Notre-Dame Basilica. A few years ago, we visited Notre-Dame during the day. The basilica faces Place d'Armes and the whole area is quite alive during the warm months. Since we visited during March, we benefited greatly by smaller crowds. In fact, the entire area was quite peaceful. We were able to spend some time admiring the basilica before entering. I do enjoy the buzz of the crowds. However, there is something to be said about exploring during off season and benefiting from the calm. Without having to contend with crowds, you really have time to be in the moment.



Place D'Armes
The interior of Notre-Dame is brilliant. Notre-Dame is one of the most beautiful churches that I have ever stepped inside. One look at the altar and you cannot help but feel your spirituality:




For the show, we were all provided headphones for listening. Multiple language options including French, English, Spanish and Mandarin are available. Once seated in our pew, we took a look around before the show began. My husband in particular was very impressed by how screens and curtains were draped in different sections of the church.There were even some directly above us! An all around experience!


Et La Lumiére Fut uses multimedia to teach the audience the history of Notre-Dame as well as detail some of the history of Montréal. Through voices that came to us through the ages, we saw how Notre-Dame grew from a small wooden chapel to the current basilica with grand, noble steeples. The show allowed us to "listen in" on various conversations about the development of Notre-Dame. My daughter enjoyed listening to the conversations and especially enjoyed following along as different characters appeared on different screens. She would periodically nudge me to make sure I was looking at the appropriate speaker. Through the show, we were able to see the visions that converged to create beautiful Notre-Dame. The show makes use of curtains all around you to engage the senses with light displays in addition to the characters in the show. I really loved how light was used to highlight the growth of the church! After the show, we were amazed to see how swiftly yet discreetly the curtains were put away to review the basilica in all of its glory!






The organ
Tip: You will not be permitted to take pictures during the show. However, you will be able to take pictures after the show. You will want to be prepared to stick around for an extra 10-15 minutes!

Be sure to take a look around and walk around the outside of the pews. The artistry around the church is breathtaking. This visit marked my second time to the church and I found that there is always something new to admire, something you missed before. Beautiful. 





Et La Lumiére Fut is a great way to help families learn about Notre-Dame as well become acquainted with the history of Montréal. The use of light and sound illuminated the church while notables from the past told the story of Notre-Dame. The combination really resonated with my daughter. I feel that the theatrical aspect of the show really reaches children and will leave them with connections to the church that they will remember. The revealing of the church after the show was amazing and everyone in the family will appreciate the beauty of the church.

The show is recommended for children 7-years-old and up. Because of the length (approximately 30 minutes) and the theatrical components using light and sound, I agree with the recommendation. Showtimes vary throughout the week and according to season, so check the schedule. Tickets are $10CDN per adult, $9CDN per those 60+ and $5 for children. You may purchase tickets at the Gift Store, next door. Notre-Dame Basilica is in Old Montréal so in an ideal area for a charming stroll and in close proximity to other historical attractions, shopping and restaurants.

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