It is not so surprising that Alain Ducasse has found another burst of creativity, another salute to the apex of the aristocracy of France – first Louis XV in Monaco twinned with the iconic Hotel de Paris. Louis XIV’s Versailles is the focus of his new creation. Not surprising but it has taken nearly thirty five years to build on his initial masterpiece in Monte Carlo. Louis XV, figurehead of the Hotel de Paris gourmet paradise, was also known as Louis the Beloved.
Alaine Ducasse’s new creation salutes Louis’ great-grandfather Louis XIV who succeeded him at the age of five. Known as the Sun King his reign of 72 years and 110 days is the longest recorded of any monarch.
He has teamed up with Stéphane Courbit, owner of the Airelles group, to create a place that like Hotel de Paris is more a Palace than a hotel establishment. And where else could Monegasque Alain Ducasse find another regal site than the Chateau Palace of Versailles.
Here you can now stay and feast like Louis XIV himself surrounded by architecture and furnishings of the 17th and 18th centuries.
Forget modern life in this wing of the castle, built in 1681 by Jules Hardouin-Mansart, favourite architect of Louis XIV. Uncompromised refinement from the era of the kings of France awaits you ….where it is you who will be treated like royalty.
The costumes of the staff, the furniture, the gorgeous fabrics, the decorations and above all the art of cuisine are from the periods inspired by the style of the Sun King of France and the later Marie Antoinette. No ordinary tableware, the glasses, plates and cutlery, unique pieces, reportedly come from the private collection of the Monegasque chef himself. It’s called the Le Grand Controle and a day there is like a several act play punctuated by delicious breaks – much like it was during the reign of Louis XIV. And the “piece de resistance” is the evening Feast imagined by Ducasse himself.
Caviar, turbot, blue lobsters fruits and vegetables from the Potager du Roi. The menu is the same for everyone, in order to organize the ultimate in gastronomic service to accompany the feast.
The Dinner is a really theatrical affair, reminiscent of the King’s royal banquets, with the restaurant team in period costume. A bell rings at 8pm to signal the beginning where guests will experience the five-course gourmet feast including adaptations of 18th century favourite dishes.
The Hotel-Palace comprises 14 rooms and suites. It has been created from a trio of Louis XIV buildings beside the Orangerie within which is the Grand Salon, Alain Ducasse’s restaurant and a Valmont spa and pool.
With uninterrupted views onto the Orangery, the restaurant will also serve a selection of reimagined French classics during the day along with a dedicated Marie Antoinette afternoon tea.
Airelles has created a number of unique experiences to add to your stay:
- providing access to areas of the Château and grounds that are normally closed to visitors. One such experience is, ‘A supper & symphony’, a dinner for two created by Ducasse in the setting of the Orangery and Garden with the accompaniment of a string quartet.
As part of the experience guests can enjoy a private tour of the gardens of Versailles complete with a picnic lunch; a tour of the Queen’s vegetable garden with the hotel’s head chef; a cookery masterclass with the Ducasse culinary team using freshly-picked produce; and a dinner enjoying the dishes created earlier during the masterclass.
Want to see a menu inspired by the flamboyant nature of Louis XIV’s meals? Here is a sample in the language of Moliere.
Artichauts poivrade, girolles, amandes et roquette
Langoustines en Bellevue à l’oseille
Terrine de foie gras de canard, orge toastée, pommes et verveine
Coquilles Saint-Jacques dorées, racines et safran
Dos de bar de ligne au plat, courge et algues pilées
Filet de barbue à la meunière, haricots cocos et sucrine grillée
Veau au jus, pomme de terre et trompettes des morts
Pigeonneau rôti, navets et châtaignes, sauce salmis
Vanille de Madagascar, fines feuilles craquantes
1724 au chocolat et croustillant de pralin
Agrumes au naturel, sorbet à l’huile d’olive
Mangue rôtie, riz au lait et herbes fraîches
The Grand Control – 12 rue de l’Indépendance Américaine in Versailles.
The hotel : +33 (0) 1 85 36 05 50.
The restaurant (lunch, dinner, Sunday brunch): +33 (0) 1 85 36 05 77.