Hotel Nelligan, 106 rue Saint-Paul Ouest, Montreal QC H2Y 1Z3
A hotel can become your favorite because of the history, the location, the staff, or just the experience of being there. Hotel Nelligan, in the old town area of the city, opens onto a street first paved in the 17th century. Walking out the front door, we were immediately in the dream I had of Christmas in Montreal.
We landed as the biggest snowstorm in years was ending. Drifts of snow, three feet high, banked the sidewalks. The neighborhood streets were strung with lights and decorations. The hotel had a cozy lobby bar with a fireplace and tree, just right for coming from the cold. And cocoa.
While I wasn’t travelling alone, my evenings were free. The Nelligan is the best example of why location can make a trip. My first evening, bundled up to my ears, I was at loose ends. I turned to the right and then onto Saint-Suplice and walked toward the Basilica of Notre Dame just a few blocks away. The square was brilliant with lights on the trees around its edges. The snow had blanketed all the sound even though many of us were walking in the streets. As I turned back toward the hotel, I realized that I was just a couple of blocks from the waterfront. As I looked toward the water, the sky lit up with light and sound. I had happened upon the holiday fireworks display.
Snow, silence, a basilica, the mystery of urban stillness and then the surprise gift of a magnificent light display.
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