Alain Ducasse reinvents himself in Monte-Carlo

Once upon a time it was the Louis XV 

Everything started more than a quarter of a century ago. In 1987 HSH Prince Rainier III confided the direction of the restaurant “Le Louis XV” to Alain Ducasse, as well as the position of Chef of the Hotel de Paris in 1990 to be precise when Le Louis XV was the first hotel restaurant to receive the 3-star Michelin, when chef Alain Ducasse was 33 years old and the hotel had been opened for only 33 months. In July 2011, HSH Prince Albert II requested Ducasse to conceive his wedding dinner. The year after more than 200 chefs from 25 countries, totalizing more than 300 stars Michelin, were reunited to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the famous restaurant. Ducasse said: “The encounter with this country was a fundamental event in my life.”

Metamorphosis – Alain Ducasse at the Hotel de Paris

Alain Ducasse and Chef de cuisine Dominique Lory @Pierre Monetta

Alain Ducasse and Chef de cuisine Dominique Lory @Pierre Monetta

The restaurant reopens its doors this week after a few months of embellishment; everything has changed, including the decoration of the room, the menu and even the name as it is now called “Alain Ducasse at the Hotel de Paris”. Ducasse added: “Nothing has change in the end…the Riviera is always the prodigal muse of my cooking. In summary, history continues, more beautiful than ever.”

The products, the flavours, the colours, everything is there. The fishes supplied by local fishermen, the herbs and the vegetables from the rural areas. The melody is the same but the lyrics have been totally renewed. The menu of Chef Dominique Lory and Alain Ducasse got modernised and rejuvenated with vigorous juices, intense broths, fresh seasonings, revealing exactitude and precision in the taste.

You will find vivacity in the flavours, lightness by the use of season vegetables, freshness by following the main dish with an apple sorbet, authenticity by looking for native products like the lamb from the Pyrenees and the poultry from Landes; and most importantly respecting the products, the rhythm of nature and benefiting from the richness of the soil.

Honoring the producers

Alain Ducasse affirms: “Before cooking, there is nature.” Chef Dominique Lory would like to honour the producers with whom he works and recognise them for the quality of their products, their passion and respect of the Planet.

  • Mickael Perez, shell fishing (La Coquile D’or in Aigues-Moartes, Gard)
  • Arnaud Tauzin, poultry farmer (Saint-Sever, Landes)
  • Jean-Marc Salies, lamb farmer (Arette, Atlantic Pyrenees)
  • Isabelle & Georges Monteiro, goat cheese producers (Paymeinade, Maritime-Alps)
  • Pierre & Edit Poussou, olive growers (Domaine de la Royrie, Grasse)
  • Jean-Francois Tripodi, olive grower (Domaine de la Ginestrea, Sospel)
  • Lionel & Monique Brault, olive growers (Domaine de la Royrie, Grasse)
  • Noelle Taxil-Wardell for the chickpeas, wheat flour form Soisson, wild quince, blackberry, blackcurrant, etc. (Laze, Haute-Alps)
  • Patrick & Pascale Duler, peasantry cooks for the truffle corn (Domaine de Saint-Gery a Lascabanes, Lot)

Sandro Micheli, the pastry chef, has a preference for the products from the Riviera: the citrus come from Menton, the raspberries from the hinterland and the hazelnuts from Piedmont, “simply the best in the world” he says. It is with those noble products plus the utilization of innovative ingredients that he creates his fine desserts. His Rhubarb fondant, with sparkling white cheese and lavender honey, is truly mouth watering!

The famous wine cellar

In close collaboration with Gerard Margeon, Noel Bajor, chef sommelier, has developed a wine list where we find the immense richness of one of the most wonderful cellars of the world, and the best products of the Riviera’s soil. It is divided in three sections: 1) The Season, a short list, that changes four times a year according to the seasons, including productions from the biological viticulture or even certain forgotten grape varieties from the Riviera. 2) The Moment, a list that presents vintages at the precise moment to let them express themselves fully. 3) Legacy, a vast list that testifies to the famous cave of the Société des Bains de Mer. Among the many exceptional wines you will find Romanée-Saint-Vivant du Domaine Leroy (1989) or a Maziz-Chambertin Domaine d’Auvenay (1995).

French designer and Kenyan architect duo

The restaurant’s new look, signed by the duo Patrick Jouin and Sanjit Manku, brings about the art of living of the Riviera, with a contemporary touch in harmony with Alain Ducasse cooking. Jouin / Manku is the combination of a French designer and a Kenyan architect, coming from different creative worlds and forming an interesting interior and construction work power force.

Alain Ducasse, Sanjit Manku and Patrick Jouin

Alain Ducasse, Sanjit Manku and Patrick Jouin

When entering the restaurant time stops, problems are forgotten, and you enter a timeless world. The light of the Riviera enters through the grand bay windows, barely filtered by the ethereal curtains. The lighting system creates a special atmosphere, with the chandelier an exceptional artwork with 800 pieces of glass, all unique, integrating a sophisticated interplay of luminary points. Plus the discreet lighting over the tables that make them look like they are floating over the ground.

The service, flawlessly directed by Michel Lang, Restaurant Director, will now dance around a unique modular piece of furniture, the Pantry (office), located in the center of the room, specially created by designers Patrick Jouin and Sanjit Manku in close consultation with Michel Lang and his team. This incredible piece folds and unfolds according to the meal, with an officer permanently on guard charged with the preparations of the breads and the dairy. The sommeliers come to pick up the glasses. At the moment of the cheese service, a cook dresses the salads, and at the end of the meal, a pastry chef prepares an ice cream, while the officer prepares the chocolates and the coffees. At the same time the sommeliers work around the liquors.

The attention to the client becomes an art at the same time subtle and exigent, everything is done to leave a memorable experience. Michel Lang underlines: “We are proud of the happiness we bring our clients.”

A palette of gray and blue for the personnel clothing

Marine Halna du Fretay, a designer, style director and research specialist in fashion and design, who worked for a long time for Hermes, notably with Jean-Louis Dumas, designed the personnel signature clothing, with gray and blue as the main colors. About her encounter with Alain Ducasse, she explains: “Our exchange passed by the hand. When I proposed him the fabrics, he directed his hand instinctively towards the one he liked.”

Clear out the old to make room for the new (Feng shui)

Some of you will certainly miss the fancy luxury royal dining experience at the Louis XV. The golden dining room, sparkling chandeliers, portraits of King Louis’ mistresses, immense floral bouquet, marble clocks, the dishes specifically designed for the restaurant where each plate was engraved with the crest of King Louis, offering a journey back to the richness of the past.

All those things of yesteryears are gone and everything has changed, still keeping intact the soul of the place. Apart from the new look created by the pair of designers Jouin/Manku, several contemporary creators from different parts of the world contributed to the art of the table of the new restaurant. But I will let you discover them by yourself in your next visit to the restaurant Alain Ducasse at the Hotel de Paris. For reservations call +377 9806 8864 or by email 

“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.“ Winston Churchill




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