The luck o’ the Irish at the Pub St-Patrick

Photo: Jay Ouellet

Christiane Borgeat and Jean Barré, who first met in Switzerland in 1963, reunited in 2004 and are now married and work together at the Pub St-Patrick.

Well, I thought we were finished with "Irish" month, but this story about the owner of a certain "green" pub in the Old Town deserves to be told. 

While searching for the perfect place from which to take photos of the 2015 Défilé de la Saint-Patrick, QCT photographer Jay Ouellet met the owner of the Pub St-Patrick at the end of Rue Saint-Jean, where it becomes Côte de la Fabrique. That fabulous photo on the front page of our April 1 edition was taken from a window in the top storey of the pub, with the kind permission of the owner, Jean Barré. 

Barré has been the owner of the building since 1994. He first opened a German restaurant called the Falstaff, but in 2000 he changed its name to the Pub St-Patrick (and, fittingly, the menu too). This year the Irish pub celebrates its 15th anniversary. Barré used to own another popular pub further along Rue Saint-Jean, the Pub St-Alexandre, which he sold to one of his sons when he opened the Falstaff. 

Now we'll go back a few years.... to the winter of 1963 when Barré was a young man attending University of Lausanne in Switzerland. Jean loved to ski and, while going up a ski lift at the Crans-Montana ski resort in the Swiss Alps, he met a "good-looking" girl - Christiane Borgeat. It was love at first sight for both of them, and they spent a lot of time together that winter. However, it was eventually back to Canada for Barré, and over the years he and Christiane lost track of each other. Jean eventually married, but after 30 years he found himself single again. 

In 2004, 41 years after that star-crossed meeting on a ski-lift, Jean had some brewery business to attend to in Germany and thought that, with the advent of the Internet, he might be able to locate his long-lost girlfriend in nearby Switzerland. Sure enough, by doing a search, he found three people with the same name in Lausanne, and on his second attempt he reached the right Christiane by telephone. When he identified himself, she said, "I've never forgotten you, I've been waiting for you to call!" Christiane too was single again and they met while Jean was in Europe. Barré said that it was "as if we had never been apart." 

Within a year, Christiane had left everything in Switzerland and come to Canada, where she and Jean were married five years ago. Together, they now own and operate the Pub St-Patrick. 

Talk about luck!