Germain Hotels invites you to meet inspiring Canadians who share their passion for hospitality, gastronomy, and the art of living well.
We invite you to meet them and discover their city, not as a guest, but as a member of the family.
Third stop: St. John’s.
Interior designer Sarah Parker Charles welcomes entrepreneur Nicolas Duvernois, founder of PUR Vodka.
Sarah has chosen the places we are going to visit carefully, to introduce her version of St. John's to Nicolas, who is not on his first visit to "The Rock". Indeed, this is the third time he’s in Newfoundland’s capital, but always for very short stays. He’s never really visited the city, not even went to the top of Signal Hill! Ah! This will be our first stop ... if the weather permits it.
Arriving in the underground parking lot of the hotel, Nicolas makes a funny statement: underground parking fascinates him. He notes the height of the ceilings, the cleanliness of the premises, if the exit is easy to access. He seems very impressed by ours at the Alt Hotel. What a relief!
As we begin the drive up Signal Hill, Sarah calls her husband, chef and owner of the famous restaurants Raymonds and The Merchant Tavern, to join us at the top to bring her flat shoes, which are more suitable for walking on the wet rocks than the heels she is wearing.
Once at the top, we realize that the weather is way too bad to film. We get Sarah's shoes and we go down again. The weather is changing so quickly in St. John's, we know we'll be back by the end of the day when the sun comes out.
Second stop: Christina Parker Gallery. Sarah asks Nicolas if he knows this art gallery and if the name tells him something. He makes the connection: Christina is Sarah's mom!
Nicolas is an art lover and it takes a big place in his business. His Romeo's gin's bottles are all decorated with original works by local artists. He is therefore pleasantly surprised (and a little jealous!) that Sarah's mother owns her own art gallery.
We tour the gallery together, he and I, and he is stunned by the wonderful works of Newfoundland artists (some born here, some not) found inside. He takes the time to observe the works, to contemplate them, to note down his favorites.
Admiring works of art opens the appetite. We head over to The Merchant Tavern, another one of Sarah’s achievements, where Nicolas asks her a series of questions, even if the camera is not rolling anymore! We talk about everything: their travels, St. John's, the beauties of Newfoundland, food, art.
The suns peaks out of the clouds just after lunch, so we take this opportunity to go stroll through the steep streets of St. John's and admire the typical colorful houses. Nicolas thinks it is a lot of sport! Sarah, in high heels, finds it rather comical. "People have to be in shape here," he notes, commenting about the many slopes of the city.
We go back to Signal Hill for the sunset, which we will barely have time to admire, since fog is setting up fast up on the mountain. It is no big deal to us as the mysterious atmosphere really suits St. John's.
We end the evening at the bar of Terre Restaurant for a quick drink to relax after an exhausting day in the (steep!) streets of St. John's. Sarah invites Nicolas to call him the next time he is in town, so they can see each other again. Something he will certainly be doing soon, very soon.