I just returned from our trip.....and as usual, had a great time. I love Montreal....love its vibe, the people, its free spirit. We stayed at the Residents Inn on Peel St....I would stay here again. An excellent location for the jazz fest, and just for visiting. The art museum was right around the corner, the Place D'Arts a ten minute walk, nice stores and restaurants close by.....I highly recommend this place.
I did venture into the art museum....free admission, but the Chihuly exhbit was $20...my wife went to that...he doesn't interest me. It is nice that the permanant collection was free to see, although I was not very impressed. I banged thru the place in an hour. I'm surprised that a city of the stature of Montreal, and its love for the arts doesn't have a more substantial collection. I've seen better in much smaller cities.....no offense, just my opinion.
We went up St Denis, and St Laurent, down to the Old City....ate at Schwartz's, a BBQ place on St Denis, and a dumpling place in Chinatown....all meals were excellent. There was a line at Schwartz's, but it moved quickly.
We were there for the jazz fest....so music was on the main menu, and there was plenty of it. I must admit.....I haven't been to the fest since '99, and I was a bit underwhelmed. My recollections were that they used to get more "big name" acts on the free stages. The only two I saw on the schedule were Fiest, and Larry McCray. Although we saw some good music, the star power was lacking on the free stages.
Another beef.....the tax on everything. A $5.44 beer at the festival turns into $6.50....it just seems as though everything seemed so much more expensive with the taxes. To put things in perspective....the tax on food in Massachusetts is 5%....there is no tax on clothes, and no tax on non-prepared food at the grocery store, and a 6.25% sales tax on everything else.
I would think this is a deterrent towards tourist shopping. The only thing we purchased besides food and beverage; my wife and daughter bought a couple of necklaces off a street vender. There is no incentive to purchase anything else....everything I can buy cheaper in the states.
Besides that...everything else was just excellent.....we had a great time, and will return.