Montreal, You Had Me At “Bonjour.”

It is just a short 3 hour drive for us to Montreal, Quebec but it had been more than 11 years since we last visited.  That said, we agreed it was time to get back to Montreal and booked a four day excursion.    Sure enough, we cross the border and it seems like we have traveled across the world where people talk and dress differently.

As we pulled up in front of our boutique hotel, Auberge du Vieux Port  http://www.aubergeduvieuxport.com/, in Old Montreal, the bellhop, Frederic,  greets us with “Bonjour” and an enthusiastic welcome.    The charm, the architecture, the streets, the people was not only eye candy but it resonated through my bones.  I love this city. Yes, Montreal, you had me at “Bonjour.”

While quaint and very “Old Montreal,” the hotel had all the amenities we could desire.  Fully modernized (well, except for the elevator), we had a luxurious room overlooking the Port.

Exterior of hotel

Exterior of hotel

The hotel showcases the bones of their building by revealing stone walls and wooden beams.  The decor had a definite noveau rustic emphasis with leather, copper and wood infused furnishings.  Not your average turnkey setup. I’ve been working on a couple of projects that have a rustic and industrial theme so my eyes canvassed the public spaces for ideas.

Revealed stone walls with carrera marble floors are backdrop for leather and wood furnishings in lobby of Auberge du Vieux Port

Revealed stone walls with carrera marble floors are backdrop for leather and wood furnishings in lobby of Auberge du Vieux Port

The suppleness of the leather loveseat contrasts with the stone wall making this an inviting place to rest.  This was my little spot to gather myself before setting off to another exciting adventure around town.

Our room, #411, overlooked the Port and a lovely pedestrian park.  We had a large window that opened.  We spent many an hour just gazing out at the views from our room and listening to the sounds of hooves as horse-drawn carriages passed by.  While small in size, I loved the exposed brick walls and beams in the room.  It had an amazing shower with jets and rainhead faucets and a feather bed too!

Wine Window

A Room with a view, window overlooked Vieux Port.

Gasper’s Tavern was attached to the hotel and it was here that we enjoyed complimentary breakfast with an open menu and later, wine and cheese.

Bar of Gasper's Tavern features industrial and rustic details

Bar of Gasper’s Tavern features industrial and rustic details

A cozy table for breakfast at Gasper's Tavern

A cozy table for breakfast at Gasper’s Tavern

The Tavern was a feast for my eyes and full of inspiration from the vintage metal ceiling to the reclaimed lumber used to frame the bar and added texture to the wall while concealing wires and vents, etc.  More exposed brick walls and a very comfortable tufted leather banquette added to the overall ambiance of the tavern.

There also was a rooftop terrace.  We actually selected this hotel because of the reviews and this terrace but were disappointed to learn that it would not be open during our stay.  Not to worry, Frederic offered to take us up there anyway and even said he “could leave the 2 of us there to enjoy the moment.”  And that’s how we ended up viewing the panaramic view of the city.  The terrace contrasted with the quaintness of the hotel in that is was very contemporary with sleek white leather sofas and stainless steel countertops.  We promised to return as I want to experience this terrace at night with a bottle of wine overlooking the lights of the city and the water.  And we won’t wait 11 years!

View from the rooftop terrace of the hotel.  We need to return so we can enjoy a bottle of wine here when it is open.

View from the rooftop terrace of the hotel. We need to return so we can enjoy a bottle of wine here when it is open.

Here’s Frederic showing us the view from the rooftop.  When I viewed the photo I took of him (below), I had to smile when I saw the brilliance on his chest.  It looks like his heart is glowing although I’m sure it’s his nameplate.  He was one of the many friendly staff here who love what they do and do it well.

Frederic, the bellhop on the Rooftop Terrace Bar

Frederic, the bellhop on the Rooftop Terrace Bar

We did venture — often — from our hotel to enjoy Jacques Cartier Square, shopping, and visited the Botanical Gardens and Museum of Fine Art and ate at some of the best restaurants around.  Some of which I’ll share another time.  Yes, Montreal, you had me at “Bonjour” and kept me enchanted until it was time to say  “au revoir.”

The dual hearts say love to me.

The dual hearts say love to me.

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