In the grandeur of Versailles, Chef Ducasse revisiting the Sun King’s meals

Invited to Luis XIV’s table, the hungriest of the 21st century gourmets would have a hard time keeping up with the King’s appetite, with his meals of thirty to fifty dishes divided into five to seven “services”.

With lots of game meat, freshwater fish, all kinds of birds (including peacock or swan), and vegetables from the royal garden (the king was addicted to peas), the cuisine of the time would find it strange today for the spices and food, very cooked or super well done. The service was also different, with the table always full of dishes, the guests eating without forks and the drinks being served separately.

“Contemporain CafĂ©â€ tables Ore

If King Sun and his splendor belong to the past, the famous star chef Alain Ducasse decided to bring back to Versailles part of the great culinary traditions of the 17th century. On the last 13th of September, in the Dufour Pavilion, at the entrance of the Castle, a Restaurant called Ore , a Latin word meaning Mouth , was inaugurated . During the day, starting with breakfast, Ore is an elegant “contemporary cafe” with a menu offering classic French cuisine recipes inspired by the season, but also simple or quick dishes, desserts or sweets to accompany a simple coffee or afternoon tea . In a place that attracted many families, Alain Ducasse also did not forget to offer a menu for children.

The restaurant rooms, rehabilitated by Dominique Perrault
The restaurant rooms, rehabilitated by Dominique Perrault

At night, the restaurant’s lounges, rehabilitated by the famous architect Dominique Perrault, can become the stage for a unique experience, a private dinner respecting the ceremonial, menus, dishes, service and decoration of the times of Louis XIV. Leading the guests to their tables, the maitre d’ shouts “Messieurs, Ă  la viande du roi !” (Gentlemen, let’s go to the King’s Meat) as required by protocol. The wig waiters wear period uniforms. The tableware from the “Manufacture royale de Limoges” was specially reissued by Bernardaud, and the crystal glasses are not standardized as usual.

Alain Ducasse wanted, in this unique place, to offer contemporary French food, inspired by the cuisine of the time of the kings, not just a dinner but a true historical and gastronomic experience. Guests can start with four starters (herb broth, natural vegetables, frog croquettes, crayfish with caviar and stuffed mushrooms), continue with three main courses (fish nailed in Hollandaise sauce, hot game meat pate, chicken with crayfish ), two smaller dishes (white and black truffle pies, wild mushroom stew), and to finish off with three desserts (red currants with rose water, Fontainebleau cake with wild strawberries, and the famous Louis XIV chocolate cake).

Alain Ducasse at his restaurant in Versailles
Alain Ducasse at his restaurant in Versailles

The creative chef’s new venture goes beyond the CafĂ© and the restaurant. The Ore also benefits from a 2,700 m2 reception gallery, a 150-seat auditorium, seminar rooms, and a kitchen with state-of-the-art equipment. The director of the Palace of Versailles , Catherine PĂ©gard, believes that, with the arrival of the Ore Restaurant , the art of French living will gain an exceptional showcase in Versailles, joining visitors from all over the world. Thanks to King Sol and Alain Ducasse .