La Boheme Restaurant-Bed & Breakfast
By Caroline Barlott

Historic Hallways

The floors on the upper level of La Boheme sigh as you walk through hallways that’s been unchanged since 1912, when the building operated as a high end apartment. Connie Comeau, the current owner, opens a door to one of the rooms, and as you step inside, you might as well be entering a different era.

A claw foot tub sits in the bathroom, while an antique couch, refurbished by Connie, occupies one wall of the living area. The back patio is the perfect place, Connie says,  to relax with a glass of wine. “Nearly everything remains the same,” says Connie. “The staircases, the layout of the suites, much of the furniture, even the squeaks in the original hardwood.”

I think the French understand how to dine. It’s an event for them. They take their time, and they eat by courses, and when we get a French table in, they tell us, 'we’re not in any hurry.' Our food is prepared to order. They understand and appreciate it. - Connie Comeau, owner
La Boheme, French food, bed and breakfast
Many of the original elements remain in the dining area of La Boheme. Photo by Caroline Barlott.

French Dining

On the main floor, the original character has been preserved, as well. There’s a beautiful wood burning fireplace from France set in a bar area that was originally a drug store. In 2004, Connie bought the business, and since then, she says, people continue to visit the hotel, sharing their memories of the past. “One girl was working here [while it was a drug store]. And she remembered a guy, who was staying in the suite above. And he was making moonshine, and it was leaking through the ceiling,” says Connie.

The ceilings are full of intricate detailing, which Connie explains is the original Edwardian pressed tin ceiling. As you walk towards the dining area, it’s easy to imagine finely dressed men and women from the turn of the 20th century eating many courses of fine French food.

While the dress code has changed — the only stipulations now are that people wear shoes and no hats in the dining area — the menu is still dedicated to traditional French fare. “I think the French understand how to dine. It’s an event for them. They take their time, and they eat by courses, and when we get a French table in, they tell us, 'we’re not in any hurry.' Our food is prepared to order. They understand and appreciate it,” says Connie.

La Boheme, French food, bed and breakfast
The building originally had a drug store on the main floor and high end apartments above in the early 1900s. Photo by Caroline Barlott.

Works of Art

Many of her customers also appreciate La Boheme’s fascinating history. And Connie never runs out of stories related to the building’s past. She swings her arms around the dining room, and says that in the late ‘70s, the main floor became a restaurant. But, she says, it was actually by accident. The owner prior to Connie wanted to turn the downstairs area into an art gallery, and some food was served as an after thought. “Well, the food took off, better than the art. So, they opened up a restaurant, and the restaurant became La Boheme,” says Connie. The restaurant became so popular that the downstairs wine room was used during that time by the Edmonton Oilers since they could enter the space from a private back entrance.

Connie is obviously happy with her business now, but 10 years ago before she saw the building, she had sworn off owning another restaurant. She had run La Petit France, a restaurant on 50th street for 20 years, and thought her days as a business owner were over. “And then I came here, and fell in love with it, and I’m still here,” she says.

La Boheme, French food, bed and breakfast
La Boheme serves French food that is crafted from scratch. Photo by Caroline Barlott.
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