Montreal faux France

Old Jul 29th, 2007, 12:47 PM
  #1  
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Montreal faux France

With some lovely urban greenery, beautiful plantings and lovely churches, excepting St. Joseph du Mount Royal, a very ugly edifice, Montreal seems to have had its day a decade or two ago. Are the huge taxes on restaurant bills paying for old olympic stadiums that were overbuilt for a city this size? It was hot and not airconditioned in many places. The Metro goes all over, but it is dated architecture and is being made even more unattractive with over sized advertising. Also not airconditioned and it ws 90 degrees in the sun.
Prices are high all over. The Botanic Gardens (we passed when we got to the gate) was $16.00 each at this writing 7/2007).
St. Catherine Street is a ghost of the magnificant street it once was. There are numerous beggars around the city and a handful of arrogant Quebecois Activists who hate everybody especially tourists.
The room at the Reine Elizabeth was not all that clean. The jacuzzi in that hotel was definately not clean.
Restaurant and tourist related Montrealers are very nice. There are some great things to see, but I would rather have had the very nice memories of my past trips intact. I would not return. Toronto has passed this city by as a great place to visit.
The food is not all that good. We ate at the Beaver Club, Merchant Hotel's restaurant, LePyrennes, Nizza...medeocre and expensive. We did have some wonderful dim sum in Chinatown which had a terriffic street market.
Tax on food in good restaurants is over 16%.
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Old Jul 29th, 2007, 03:35 PM
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The Montreal you describe is not the Montreal that I visit! Everywhere I go, it is airconditioned! I stay @ Hotel Le Germain on Mansfield or Omni on Sherbrooke. I go to nearby restaurants & all are excellent. Tax on restaurant bills is common in every Province in Canada. In Ontario you will find a Provincial Sales Tax(PST) & a Federal Goods & Services tax(GST) on all restaurant bills. So, if you go to a restaurant in Toronto the tax is 14%: 8% PST & 6% GST

It is always nice when people take the time to post a review. Yours reflects what you have experienced in Montreal which unfortunately, was not good for you. The Montreal that I visit is alive & exciting & I can't wait to go back in the Fall!
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Old Jul 29th, 2007, 10:17 PM
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When a poster registers a logon id purely to slam a destination and hotel as their first post, they can hardly be taken seriously.
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Old Jul 30th, 2007, 04:47 AM
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I'm headed for Montreal for the first time in a couple weeks. I am definitely looking forward to it and expect to have a great time.

I am currious about the "dated architecture" - weren't the Montreal metro stations specially designed? To me calling them "dated" is like calling the White House or the Parthenon or Notre Dame dated. Of course it's dated, it was designed in a previous era. That's the great thing about places like Montreal, there are buildings of all ages combined.
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Old Jul 30th, 2007, 12:29 PM
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Good point icithecat. Why wld somebody do that? It makes no sense to me.

Toedtoes: You wil love Montreal! When are you going? Where are you staying?
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Old Jul 30th, 2007, 12:43 PM
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I leave in 15 days and will be in Montreal from the 16th to the 20th.

Due to cost constraints, I'm staying just over the river in Longueuil. I'll have a rental car the entire time, so adding the cost of parking to the Montreal hotels just put me too far over my price range. I will be getting a Museums Pass with the 3-day metro pass to get around so I don't have to drive while I'm there.

I've got one day downtown and one day in Old Montreal. The first day will be spent at the Biodome, etc. for some dedicated photography.

I've got my French phrase book and am working on getting "I don't speak French, do you speak English please?", "thank you", "please", "yes" and "no" down pat. Of course, my pronounciation sucks big time, but I think I'm understandable.
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Old Jul 30th, 2007, 08:35 PM
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toedtoes: Sounds great! What a wonderful time to be in Montreal. The weather should be perfect. Don't worry about the French. Everybody understands English. Looking fwd to your trip report!
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Old Jul 30th, 2007, 08:51 PM
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Thanks. I figure the French will be good practice for France in a few years.
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Old Jul 31st, 2007, 04:33 AM
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I think the perception that things are "over priced" in Montreal is in part dueto the poor exchange rate for US tourists. It was certainly a better deal 10 years ago.

We have been going to Montreal regularly for about 20 years and I don't see any sign that the city has "had its day."

Toedtoes--hope you have a great trip. There is a good article in Frommer's budget travel magazine June issue.
http://www.budgettravelonline.com/bt...060601664.html








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Old Jul 31st, 2007, 10:58 AM
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Trolls aside, I always get a giggle out of people who go to Montreal expecting France. It would be like going to Boston expecting England, simply because of the historic quarters and that everyone speaks English.
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Old Jul 31st, 2007, 02:57 PM
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I know! That's why the "faux" thing seems so silly.
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Old Aug 1st, 2007, 08:16 PM
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Thanks Vttraveler! I've added several of those shops (mmmm, chocolate!) to my list.
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Old Aug 2nd, 2007, 11:02 AM
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We visited Montreal for the first time just a few weeks ago and loved the city. I found the architecture to be quite beautiful, and we loved the "frenchness" of the city. Granted its no Paris, but the people were friendly, the city was very clean, there are some great sites and the food is wonderful....all of that without the unfavorable exchange rate of going to Europe! We will definitely be returning.

Tracy
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Old Aug 3rd, 2007, 03:43 AM
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I have to question the type of traveller you are, if you are to balk at paying 16$ for an entrance fee, Butchart gardens in Victoria charges 25$ for adults.

The metro is 40 years old and has lovely architecture; I do agree that digital screens and monstrous ads don't enhance it, I hate them too. I guess you did not look past that. The metro in Paris is hot and stuffy also.

St. Catherine street is very commercial and always has been, it was never a grand street like Sherbrooke; I admit there are too many beggars and vagrants.

As for restaurants, you should have done a better search before leaving, there are tons of recommendations on this forum only; prices are reasonable for a large city.

You liked chinatown, this is one part of Montreal that I dislike; it's dirty and unsightly.

As a whole, I see some valid points in your post and you're entitled to your opinion; but costwise you probably don't travel often to large cities.





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Old Aug 3rd, 2007, 11:13 AM
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Montréal is a wonderful city. I love visiting, shopping and eating at the different restaurants.

As for the language barrier, I find it to be quite a bilingual city (like Ottawa). As a French Canadian who is not from Québec, I do get snubbed for having a slightly different accent at times (as many québécois do not know that there are French Canadians outside Québec), but once I explain, it's all good.

I find that, wherever you go, you meet all kinds of people. It all depends on your attitude and the way you present yourself too. It goes both ways.
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Old Aug 4th, 2007, 08:29 AM
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Toedtoes, how much are you paying to stay across the river from Montreal? I always use Priceline and save a lot of money. I went earlier this month and stayed at the Doubletree near St. Denis. I bid $65 US for a double room. After adding the $5 Priceline fee, taxes and $18 for parking it came to about $98. You can usually get a three star for $50 to $70 plus fee parking and taxes. Add another $20 to $30 for a 4 star. I usually get a three star. They've all been pretty good, although the Delta is just decent but good enough. Don't know if you know anything about Priceline, but you can't control the bed situation(two or one)or a smoking or non-smoking room (I've always been able to get non-smoking).

Here are some winning bids
http://p070.ezboard.com/Canada--Qube...gfrm213?page=2
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Old Aug 4th, 2007, 10:38 AM
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Thanks DanB.

I actually considered Priceline early on with this trip, but I can't do the non-refundable, non-changeable route.

I've actually changed my plans three times already and my Dad has health problems, so I figure I'm better off staying over the river and being able to change and/or cancel my hotels.

I'm not going to say what hotel I'm staying at now because I want to be unbiased when I get there, but I will do a write up on it's quality when I get home so others who are looking for budget but cancellable accommodations can have some info.

P.S. It's costing $79.10 per night and no parking fees.
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Old Aug 5th, 2007, 06:42 PM
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I just returned from six days in Montreal and found the city beautiful and the people charming. I stayed at the Hilton Bonadventure and loved it....centrally located in downtown Montreal and within walking distance to a number of sights and shopping. The food was fabulous. I was there for a conference but still found plenty of time to enjoy the old and new city. Hope my family will have the opportunity to visit sometime.
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