Chef Alain Ducasse Gives Monaco Restaurant Le Louis XV a New Design, Menu, Name

Courtesy of Le Louis XV
Alain Ducasse’s central service station is obscured by a mulberry wood and metal cage.

Cannes festival attendees gladly take the one-hour drive to his original outpost, which is getting a refresh after 30 years.

This story first appeared in the May 15 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

I fell in love with Monaco at first sight: The light and the landscape are unique, and the produce, whether from the Mediterranean Sea or the fruits and vegetables, among the best in the world," swoons Alain Ducasse. Indeed, it was in Monte Carlo that he opened his first restaurant, Le Louis XV, at Hotel de Paris in 1987. It quickly earned the wunderkind chef three Michelin stars and the loyalty of Cannes Film Festival attendees, who gladly take a one-hour drive there.

Now the 58-year-old culinary statesman, who boasts 25 restaurants from Las Vegas to Doha, Qatar, has given his original outpost a new name — simply Alain Ducasse — and a new design steered by Patrick Jouin and Sanjit Manku. The Paris-based duo introduced a fresh look to the storied Belle Epoque space while retaining the classic ambience that has lured the likes of Karl Lagerfeld, Cary Grant and Roman Polanski.

 

 

"When you walk in, we want people to be caught in a time warp, not quite sure if they're in The Jetsons or the 1930s," says Manku. The centerpiece of the retro-futuristic fusion is a circular chandelier that hovers like a twinkling UFO. Constructed of more than 800 pieces of Murano glass, it was produced by glassblower Aristide Najean and JM Tech, a firm best known for expertise in producing concept cars.

The chandelier spotlights the fresco on the ceiling, which depicts a woman floating through the air whom Manku calls "the happiest person — you almost blush at her smile," and the restaurant's new central service station. Dubbed the Office, it brings the food preparation closer to diners as staffers — clad in minimalist uniforms by Hermes designer Marine Halna du Fretay — dole out bread and butter, coffee and liqueurs.


Ducasse overhauled the former Le Louis XV menu with fresh Mediterranean dishes like lobster with myrtle berries and ginger.

Ducasse overhauled the menu with his signature haute cuisine simplicity (and haute prices): green pea and fava bean risotto ($90), locally caught fish with asparagus ($112) and lobster with myrtle berries and ginger ($130). "Every dish expresses the heart of the Riviera and its produce as well as my culinary vision: light, vivid and fresh," he says. Reservations during the festival are as prized as the Palme d'Or, but if you want a table, befriend Ducasse regulars like Joshua Jackson and Diane Kruger — or, of course, President Obama. One tradition remains: No one can enjoy Ducasse's cooking or Manku's opulent interiors without a jacket.

Ducasse overhauled the former Le Louis XV menu with fresh Mediterranean dishes like lobster with myrtle berries and ginger.

 

 

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Bon Appetit: 6 Spots for Every Occasion

You Need to Be on the Croisette: La Palme d’Or
At about $56,000 a night, the Grand Hyatt Martinez has the priciest penthouse in town, and its restaurant is equally upscale. A 1930s art deco masterpiece with panoramic waterfront views and sumptuous food, it’s the only place in Cannes proper to have earned two Michelin stars. This year’s six-course degustation menu ($230) marks a celebration of the restaurant’s 30th birthday. (73 La Croisette, Cannes)

You Need to Get Off the Croisette: La Mere Besson
Founded in 1959, this local favorite is renowned for its authentic Provencal cooking, especially chicken a la nicoise (with bay leaves, white wine, tomatoes and olives; $25) and estouffade, a hearty beef stew ($23). An airy spot set on a tiny street 100 yards from the Croisette, it’s liveliest in the evening — though the tables aren’t packed so tightly as to preclude privacy. (13 rue des Freres Pradignac, Cannes)


Chez Tetou

You’re Taking a Beach Day: Chez Tetou
Slurping the bouillabaisse here ($122) is a festival rite of passage. Perched on the water about a 10-minute drive from central Cannes, this beach shack from the 1920s continues to lure foodie pilgrims with its outstanding Provencal fish stew — it has welcomed Clint Eastwood, Cameron Diaz, Leonardo DiCaprio and many Coppolas. Even for Oscar winners, though, it’s cash-only. (8 ave. des Freres Roustan, Golfe-Juan)

You Want a Quick Island Escape: La Guerite
A 15-minute jaunt across the water via shuttle from Port du Moure Rouge lands one on Ile Sainte-Marguerite, where this scenic spot features the work of chef Yannis Kioroglou — known for such seafood dishes as sea bass with artichoke puree and whole roasted sea bream stuffed with Provencal herbs. For the ultimate in privacy and convenience, make like Beyonce and Jay Z and hire a private launch to lunch, which will set you back about $250 for two. (Ile Sainte-Marguerite)


Le Cagnard

You’re Looking for a Hillside View: Le Cagnard
Le Cagnard in nearby Cagnes-sur-Mer, a hotel bolted to the steep ramparts of a castle owned by the Monaco-ruling Grimaldis, underwent a welcome renovation in 2012. The overhaul preserved the restaurant’s landmark hand-painted mural of the night sky by architect Philippe Roberti, hidden behind movable panels in the ceiling, and upgraded the food to impress guests like Robert De Niro with dishes including lightly seared foie gras with beetroot ($28). (54 rue sous Barri, Cagnes-sur-Mer)

You’re Indulging in Time (and Money): Eden-Roc
It’s worth the 30-minute drive from the center of Cannes when the reward is a meal at the restaurant inside the Cote d’Azur’s storied Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc. Linger over a buffet lunch ($90) under a white parasol on the terrace — at an adjacent table, don’t be surprised to see DiCaprio or producer Charles Finch, who has made this spot his de facto canteen and hosted a dinner every year for the likes of Rachel Weisz and Ralph Fiennes. (Boulevard JF Kennedy, Antibes)

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