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Christiane Germain, co-president of a chain of boutique hotels, loves to drive mile after mile with her favourite music (Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail)
Christiane Germain, co-president of a chain of boutique hotels, loves to drive mile after mile with her favourite music (Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail)

Road Tunes

Hotelier listens to folk songs while driving Add to ...

Powerful vocalists and folk-inspired songs help Hotel Le Germain president enliven her senses and check into some private time during business and leisure travel on the road.

Who: Christiane Germain, is Groupe Germain's co-president and in charge of operations for the Le Germain boutique hotels in Calgary, Toronto, Montreal and Quebec.

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Her wheels: A sand 2010 Audi Q5, which she considers a utility car for her with room for her 7-year-old Portuguese Water Dog, Cabot, and a blue 2010 Audi A6.

Christiane Germain

Her most memorable drives:

"I've driven from Quebec City to the ocean in Maine, that's about five hours. I like going there as much as possible every year, especially in the fall. This is when I really enjoy driving because nature is so beautiful here in Quebec. You go through Jackman, Maine, and the woods and the roads are a bit more … how would you say? The curves? So I enjoy it. Every year I've been going to Maine with my daughter and we rent a house and when spend two weeks. Now it's more of a longer weekend thing: You leave on Thursday and [come]back on Monday night. During the drive it's a good time to talk, just talk about things we never have a chance to. It can be serious talk, you know, it can be about life, about what she wants, and we have very intimate moments because nobody else is listening."

"Driving through the Rockies is also one of my favourite drives I like when I'm in Calgary. We have a location in Calgary and I take the car and go to Lake Louise, that's an hour and a half. There I drive a 2010 blue Audi A6 with tan interior. The A6 is a fast car, so you have to be careful, but it's so comfortable. I had never been until two years ago and since [then]I have discovered the mountains. When you leave Calgary and you get to the mountain it's quite sudden; you drive for some while and it's flat outside Calgary, and then [you see]huge mountains and the feelings I get at the place I arrive is really nice. I feel like I'm being wrapped around, embraced. I'm involved in the Banff Centre [a centre for culture and creativity education] so I go there for work/pleasure reasons. I have four meeting a year at the centre, so I try to do other things when I'm there. In the wintertime I arrange to do skiing and this time of year I do some hiking. When I'm driving in the mountains it's always time to myself. Yesterday I was there I was amazed at the beauty I saw."

Her playlist

Bridge Over Troubled Water

"For sure, I love listening to Simon and Garfunkel's album. I could listen and listen and listen, I really like it. Even today I think it's great music. To me it's one of those timeless pieces and I listen to it very often."

Crying

"k.d. lang is one of my favourite singers, for sure. What I really, really like about her is the voice, the deepness of her voice. I've seen her a few times on stage and every time I listen to her I still see her. The presence she has when she's on stage is quite amazing. Listening to k.d. lang when you're driving the Rockies is wonderful. The music is so well produced, so well balanced, and in a car her music gives me good energy."

Mille Après Mille

"It's a French song in English called "Mile After Mile" and I listen to it all the time. The singer is Fred Pellerin, he's a Quebec singer. It talks about how you drive mile after mile looking for the love of your life and you find it. You know, when you listen to music in your car it has to have certain rhythm. This is more a folk song than rock and roll. Rock in the car is not my beat."

When You're Smiling

"I like this song by Rufus Wainwright. It's from his tribute performance of Judy Garland's Carnegie Hall concert [1961]with an orchestra. He's the son of folk singers, but this song is a jazz song and most people know it sung by Louis Armstrong."

Viva la Vida

"For me, being on the road is more about feeling [as if]on vacation. Driving is a moment to myself. I don't like to be driven. And I have to say I don't mind driving by myself for a long number of hours. And this [Coldplay]song is big, gives me a feeling of freedom and energizes me."

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