Montréal’s Auberge du Vieux-Port
What can be more romantic than riding in a horse driven carriage called a calèche through the cobbled streets of Vieux Montréal (Old Montréal) and marvel at the surrounding heritage buildings. It is like visiting Europe in North America! An ideal way to savour the “joie de vivre” and the romantic atmosphere of Montréal is to stay at one of the hotels located in the heart of the old city facing the St. Lawrence River.
The elegant Auberge du Vieux-Port with its historical décor certainly passes the test of being one of the most charming and romantic inns in Montréal. The building housing the hotel dates back to around 1882 and is a true reflection of the architecture of the time. As soon as you step into the quaint hotel lobby you are immediately fascinated by its high ceilings, wood floors, antique furniture, exposed stonewalls, massive wood beams, and original windows.
You will also notice the building’s original wrought iron staircase leading to its award-winning French dining cuisine “Restaurant Les Ramparts” located on the lower level of the hotel. The restaurant’s name was derived from the term rampart or barricade, and when the building was being renovated the owners discovered in the basement part of Montréal’s original embankment that fortified the city. Diners entering the restaurant can immediately view this precious discovery displayed within a glass case. You can even sense the walls vibrating with the sounds of bygone days when the building served many different purposes such as, a general store, grocery store, warehouse, depot and a leather goods store specializing in saddles, harnesses and trunks.
The inn is a superb example of eloquent recycling of a derelict building that was abandoned for 7 years and is a recent addition to the Montréal hotel scene, as it only opened its doors in 1996 at a cost of $2 million, including the building. Previous to becoming a boutique hotel, the Lamontagne family for 100 years had operated a leather factory within the walls of the building. In 1989 the business was terminated and the structure was unoccupied until its renovation into a 27-room boutique auberge in 1995.
Strategically situated in the heart of Vieux Montréal on the famous Rue de la Commune, visitors to Montréal are minutes away from the city’s historical attractions. It is very near to the venues of some of Montréal’s 40 annual international festivals and events, including the Just for Laughs Festival and the International Jazz Festival. In fact, during the annual fireworks festival you can dine or have a cool drink on the terrace of the hotel and have a perfect view of the fascinating displays.
Rue de la Commune has a very interesting history dating back to 1651 when the first governor and founder of Montréal, Paul Chomedy de Maisonneuve, granted to Monsieur Jean de Père a strip of land of about 40 acres in depth that extended along the banks of the St. Lawrence River. Its main purpose was that of a common public pasture and was also host to the annual fur fair where fur traders sold their skins.
The hotel’s 27 seductive and neo-classical rooms are spread over five floors that successfully blend the authenticity of the 1800s with modern conveniences. Within each room you are surrounded with brass beds, beamed ceilings, windows overlooking the Old Port of Montréal or rue St Paul, stone or brick walls, and polished floors. Moreover, in many of the suites you will be able to enjoy whirlpool tubs and Jacuzzis. Most of the rooms are king or queen size and if you book early enough you will be able to choose the rooms with magnificent views of the St. Lawrence River.
Afternoon wine and cheese with a full choice American breakfast is included in the cost of a suite. As for lunch or dinner, the hotel’s Restaurant Les Ramparts, winner of the Prix Ulysse 2001 gastronomy category, offers a French cuisine menu.
During the summer months the hotel fills up very quickly and it is necessary to reserve three months in advance.
ADDRESS: 97, rue de la Commune Est, Montréal, Québec
TELEPHONE: (514) 876-0081
FAX: (514) 876-8923
WEB SITE: www.aubergeduvieuxport.com