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Inn of the Month: A L'Abri De La Tourmente

Inn of the Month: A L'Abri De La Tourmente

Features
posted: 12/12/2002

Saint Joachim, Quebec
First, about that name. In French, it means "shelter from the storm." And cozy indeed is the sanctuary provided by 2-foot-thick limestone walls, a massive fireplace and the four-poster beds swaddled with fluffy duvet comforters.

The only "tourmente" in question is a punning reference to the inn's location near Cap Tourmente, a navigational challenge for early sailors on the St. Lawrence River. Today, the setting is a no-brainer for skiers: The inn is 10 minutes from Mont-Sainte-Anne and 20 minutes from Le Massif. Cross-country skiers and snowshoers can make first tracks through maples and birches on the 700-acre property.

Built in 1825, the house and surrounding farm were bought in 1999 by Marie-Christine Perreault and her husband Jean-Nil Bouchard. A star of French-Canadian stage and television, Marie-Christine now has taken the leading role in restoring the property. In "Goldilocks" terms, every detail in the seven guest rooms is "just right." "We tried to keep the cachet of the house when it was built," says Marie-Christine. Antiques mingle with period reproductions, such as an Edwardian mahogany mirror or a Austrian stepladder for climbing into a tall feather bed. Bathrooms are more modern and are tiled with polished granite.

Aromas of fresh-baked croissants and breads lure guests from their chambers in the morning. The full country breakfast might include yogurt with maple syrup (produced on the farm), cherry clafouti (with preserved fruit from the tree outside the dining-room window), or pancakes (a family recipe). Four nights a week, a four-course table d'hôte dinner is served, with robust fare like veal stuffed with wild mushrooms. Accompanied by local Quebecois wine, the meal-like the inn-nurtures both body and spirit. -Risa Weinreb

Details,br>Room rates run $85 to $104 per couple, per night, including continental breakfast. Ski packages are also available, starting at $143 for two days' skiing and two nights' lodging (per person, double occupancy). 888-530-3025 or 418-827-3025; abridelatourmente.com. All prices in U.S. dollars, approximate.

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