Summer nomads – and even of all seasons – passing through Shawinigan can treat themselves to a charming and comfortable stopover at the Manoir du Rocher, in a building more than a century old adjoining the Saint-Maurice River and one of the symbols of the area of Grandmother. And just like its owner, it has a rich history.

For those who have known this happiness, spending a weekend with your grandparents is always something comforting, lounging in a cozy atmosphere. So one wonders if it is really a coincidence that the Manoir du Rocher on rue Grand-Mère, in the Grand-Mère sector of “Shawi”, was erected alongside the rock… of Grand-Mère (see framed).

However, it is anything but a grandmother who opens the doors of the establishment to visitors, in the person of Natacha Bustros, dynamic owner of the premises since the end of 2021. Anxious to preserve the original soul of the building, the latter wanted to add her personal touch, drawing on the experience of her extensive professional career; she was a federal official in economic development for more than 20 years, before turning to real estate brokerage. It was while prospecting in the vicinity of Shawinigan that she came across the manor, offered on the market. “Honestly, I was looking for plexes, but when I saw this building for sale, given my penchant for houses with character, I visited it and did what I call ‘my madness. pandemic,” she recalls.

After more than half a year of renovations, an operation of decorative sobriety, and the recruitment of Julie Daoust – a local woman who knows the sector like the back of her hand – the large, beautifully styled rooms have been handed over to the audience. Upstairs, there are two tastefully appointed bedrooms, as well as a lovely suite with mezzanine and whirlpool bath, all with exotic themes. That said, Ms. Bustros plans to rename them in homage to the rich past of the building, erected between 1916 and 1918, which first housed the Bank of Montreal until 1967, before becoming a municipal library, finally turning into tourist lodge.

Looking around the charming common rooms on the ground floor, between the beautiful welcoming furniture, some clues suggest that Natacha Bustros also brings, with subtlety and harmony, her stone to the historic building: certain paintings, works of art , books or games resonate with its identity. “I am a Quebecer of Haitian-Egyptian descent, she claims, I feel very close to my cultural origins and I would like us to find this little flavor here. »

Whether in the paint, the decoration, the materials (we find an interlacing of stone walls and exposed beams) or the height of the cathedral ceilings, chemistry proves successful in planting an atmosphere in which one feels good, as much in the up-to-date rooms as in the common rooms – kitchen, dining room and living room – giving a furious desire to grab a book (ah, the little chair at the foot of the stairs…). Yes, it’s a bit like grandma’s, even if the more studious will also find a conference room for meetings.

From the first floor, which was added over time, there is access to a large terrace, just renovated, allowing you to enjoy the surrounding assets, namely a view of the Saint-Maurice, as well as the peaceful Rocher park, which houses the natural monument that gave its name to the city of Grand-Mère, merged with Shawinigan in 2002. A stone’s throw away, a magnificent golf club, as well as a marina and the observation tower of Parc des Papetiers, inaugurated in 2021.

The manor also wants to place itself in a logic of multiple anchorages, by sticking to the local economy and by offering, for example, items from Ecogriffe, a local clothing and accessories manufacturer, or products from Mauritian market gardeners. Without forgetting the arts and culture, to which Ms. Bustros opens her doors wide.

Ms. Bustros has already organized a dance, artistic and gastronomic evening at the manor as part of Black History Month.

And speaking of gastronomy, it is a sumptuous breakfast that awaits guests upon waking, with an abundance of fruit and carefully concocted products, including the excellent products of the nearby bakery Les biscuits qui dansant.

A luxury stopover for those traveling to or from La Mauricie Park or Lac-Saint-Jean? Not so much: the two bedrooms rent for $149 to $179, while the suite rents for $169 to $199, depending on the season. Decidedly, Grandmother is full of good surprises.

A few meters from the establishment stands the Grand-Mère rock, so named because its profile seems to draw the face of an elder. Linked to an Amerindian legend, this mound was once placed in the bed of the Saint-Maurice River. The construction of a hydroelectric dam in the early 20th century threatened to submerge it forever; the rock was then dismantled piece by piece and rebuilt on dry land in 1916, becoming a major local and toponymic symbol.