By Don Douloff, June 19, 2008
No doubt about it, Montreal possesses a unique French flair. From its restaurants, wine bars and nightclubs to its fashions and Old World architecture, the city sizzles.
Now, the Antonopoulos Group, owners of boutique hotels and fine-dining eateries in Old Montreal, has partnered with language and cultural-training organization Berlitz Canada to offer a unique programme that lets visitors delve into the city’s French soul.
Called the French Learning Experience Package, the programme provides for a five-night stay, in an executive suite, at Hotel Nelligan or Le Place d’Armes Hotel & Suites, visits to Old Montreal restaurants and private French instructional sessions specially designed for tourists. The idea is that guests can practice their newly learned language skills while they explore Montreal during the course of their stay.
Each package is designed for two people sharing a single hotel room. The programme can accommodate groups (subject, of course, to availability of hotel rooms), sticking to that one-package-per-two-people formula.
On the food side, the two main participating restaurants – Verses, located inside Hotel Nelligan, and Aix Cuisine du Terroir, inside Le Place d’Armes – boast delicious-sounding culinary creations.
At Verses, for instance, lunch guests choose from seared foie gras with peach chutney; seafood tart with red mullet and tapenade; crispy-skin salmon with basil cream and lime tagliatelle; and seared duck breast with shiitake risotto.
Over at Aix Cuisine, lunch dangles such temptations as portobello mushrooms stuffed with spinach and ricotta; roast leg of lamb with rosemary jus and squash flan; sole meuniere with carrot mousse; and an omelet stuffed with wild mushrooms and fried leeks.
After feeding their bodies, guests feed their minds with 18 hours of private French lessons given by a Berlitz-trained instructor.
Combining different disciplines and areas of interest, the programme dovetails with travellers’ desire for a more participatory experience. Or as Dimitri Antonopoulos, vice-president of marketing for the Antonopoulos Group, puts it, people “are increasingly looking to expand their cultural and intellectual horizons through travel.”
And possibly expand their waistlines with some fabulous French food…
Visit www.hotelplacedarmes.com (Click on Promotions, then Packages).