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A feast fit for Louis XIV: inside the Michelin-starred restaurant in the Palace of Versailles

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Inside the Palace of Versailles’ astonishing Michelin-starred restaurant that takes guests back in time with a Louis XIV-style feast – served theatrically by staff in period outfits

  • The meal comes courtesy of Le Grand Control, an exquisite hotel in the grounds of the Palace of Versailles
  • Called ‘The Feast’, it was created by Alain Ducasse and features dishes inspired by meals eaten by Louis XIV
  • Ted Thornhill is invited to take a seat at one of the coveted tables. His verdict? ‘King Louis would be a regular customer’

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It is one of the most extraordinary dining experiences in France – in one of the most extraordinary locations.

Le Grand Control, an exquisite hotel on the grounds of the Palace of Versailles built in 1681 by Jules Hardouin-Mansart, the favorite architect of former resident Louis XIV, offers guests a breathtaking five-course Michelin-starred dinner by super-star chef Alain Ducasse who goes back to the time of the reign of Louis XIV.

Candles flicker as dishes inspired by meals from Louis, aka the ‘Sun King’, are announced theatrically by staff in period costume (complete with stockings and wigs) – then served on beautiful china. I am invited to take a seat at one of the coveted tables. The verdict? Louis XIV would be a regular customer.

Ted Thornhill sits down at one of the coveted restaurant tables at hotel Le Grand Control (above) to experience ‘The Feast’ – a Michelin-starred Alain Ducasse meal reminiscent of a King Louis XIV banquet

Le Grand Control (top right) is located on the grounds of the Palace of Versailles.  It was built in 1681 by the favorite architect of former resident Louis XIV, Jules Hardouin-Mansart

Le Grand Control (top right) is located on the grounds of the Palace of Versailles. It was built in 1681 by the favorite architect of former resident Louis XIV, Jules Hardouin-Mansart

The 'Party' of Le Grand Control is served on beautiful china and the drinks in beautiful glassware.  Above is Ted .'s table

The ‘Party’ of Le Grand Control is served on beautiful china and the drinks in beautiful glassware. Above is Ted .’s table

The dining room is seductively smothered in gold paint, thick curtains and twinkling chandeliers, and offers spectacular views of the Orangerie Gardens

The dining room is seductively smothered in gold paint, thick curtains and twinkling chandeliers, and offers spectacular views of the Orangerie Gardens

For starters, he would certainly approve of the dining room, seductively smothered in gold paint, thick curtains and twinkling chandeliers, and with a spectacular view of the Orangerie Gardens.

And the exuberance of the gastronomic delights served and the service would undoubtedly receive royal assent as well.

The theater begins almost immediately.

As soon as we express our preference for sparkling water to one of the waiters, he claps his hands enthusiastically and shouts to a colleague ‘water for the king and queen!’

(Nando this is not.)

Then we get glasses of house champagne in beautiful glassware and a loaf of rustic Crunch Me bread accompanied by two kinds of homemade butter – salted and lightly spiced with Espelette pepper.

House champagne is used almost immediately by the sommelier

House champagne is used almost immediately by the sommelier

Ted's amuse-bouche, including a delicious mini souffle with a dollop of lemon cream on top

Ted's egg, caviar and salad dressing

Pictured to the left is Ted’s appetizer, which includes a delicious mini souffle topped with a dollop of lemon cream. On the right is Ted’s egg, caviar and salad dressing

After an appetizer on a silver platter – with a delicious mini soufflé topped with a hint of lemon cream – we get the starters: summer vegetable croustade topped with basil, langoustine with a stock of langoustine infused with ginger, red pepper and mint, and my favorite – a sort of egg blancmange (made from beaten egg whites and injected with Noilly vermouth) in a ‘salad sauce’, with a generous sprinkling of caviar on the candied egg yolk in the middle. Plus edible gold leaf to match the paintwork.

So far, so deliciously decadent.

Turbot with cockles and green beans is then delivered; then pigeon stuffed with pigeon liver; duck foie gras tartine; airy potato chips; figs with herbs (entremets – small dishes historically served between courses); and desserts – fresh herb sorbet on an ice cube, strawberry Fontainebleau and ‘The King Cake’, vanilla sponge topped with ‘Anais’ strawberries.

The desserts – fresh herb sorbet on an ice cube (left), strawberry Fontainebleau (bottom right) and the 'King Cake', vanilla sponge topped with 'Anais' strawberries

The desserts – fresh herb sorbet on an ice cube (left), strawberry Fontainebleau (bottom right) and the ‘King Cake’, vanilla sponge topped with ‘Anais’ strawberries

A bewitched waiter announces the desserts, followed by a cry of 'aux gourmandises du roi!'  ('to the king's delicacies')

A bewitched waiter announces the desserts, followed by a cry of ‘aux gourmandises du roi!’ (‘to the king’s delights’)

The food is fantastic, beautifully prepared and presented. The wine is good enough for any royal palate (we especially enjoy the 2020 Chateauneuf-du-Pape white from Chateau de Vaudieu).

And the theatrics are the icing on the cake, culminating in when a spirited waiter appears to be announcing the courses, stepping between the tables holding a huge staff while describing the treats, then slamming the staff on the floor with a shout of ‘ aux gourmandises’ du roi!’ – loosely translated as ‘to the delicacies of the king’.

A really tasty time traveling extravaganza.

Full review of Le Grand Control come…

Ted writes: 'The food is exquisite, beautifully prepared and presented.  The wine is good enough for any royal palate (we especially enjoy the white Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2020 from Chateau de Vaudieu).'  Pictured above is the Grand Control bar

Ted writes: ‘The food is exquisite, beautifully prepared and presented. The wine is good enough for any royal palate (we especially enjoy the white Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2020 from Chateau de Vaudieu).’ Pictured above is the Grand Control bar

Unique: Le Grand Control (above) is an 'extraordinary' location, declares Ted

Unique: Le Grand Control (above) is an ‘extraordinary’ location, declares Ted

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