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


At the stunning, Michelin-starred Palace of Versailles restaurant, which takes guests back in time with a Louis XIV-style feast – theatrically served by staff in period attire

  • The food comes courtesy of Le Grand Controle, an exquisite hotel in the grounds of the Palace of Versailles
  • It’s called “The Feast” and was created by Alain Ducasse. It offers dishes inspired by the meals of Louis XIV
  • Ted Thornhill is invited to take a seat at one of the coveted tables. His verdict? “King Louis would be a regular”

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It’s one of the most extraordinary culinary experiences in France – in one of the most extraordinary places.

Le Grand Controle, an exquisite hotel on the grounds of the Palace of Versailles built in 1681 by Jules Hardouin-Mansart, the favorite architect of the former Resident Louis XIV, offers guests a stunning five-course Michelin-starred feast a superstar chef Alain Ducasse that takes you back to the reign of Louis XIV.

Candles flicker as dishes inspired by the meals of Ludwig, also known as the “Sun King,” are theatrically announced by staff in period costume (complete with stockings and wigs) and then served on beautiful china. I am invited to take a seat at one of the coveted tables. The judgment? Louis XIV would be a regular.

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

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

Le Grand Controle's

Le Grand Controle’s “Feast” is served on beautiful china and the drinks are served in beautiful stemmed glasses. Above is Ted’s table

The dining room is seductively bathed in gold paint, thick curtains and sparkling chandeliers and offers spectacular views of the Orangery Gardens

The dining room is seductively bathed in gold paint, thick curtains and sparkling chandeliers and offers spectacular views of the Orangery Gardens

First of all, he would surely like the dining room, which is alluringly bathed in gold paint, thick drapes and sparkling chandeliers, and offers a spectacular view of the Orangery Gardens.

And the extravagance of the gourmet treats served and the service would undoubtedly garner royal applause as well.

The theater begins almost immediately.

As soon as we tell one of the waiters of our preference for sparkling water, he claps his hands enthusiastically and calls out to a colleague, “Water for the king and queen!”.

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(Nando is not.)

We are then served glasses of house champagne in beautiful stemmed glasses and a loaf of rustic Crunch Me bread, accompanied by two kinds of homemade butter – salted and lightly seasoned with Espelette pepper.

The house champagne is used almost immediately by the sommelier

The house champagne is used almost immediately by the sommelier

Ted's amuse bouche, which includes a delightful mini souffle with a dollop of lemon cream on top

Ted's egg, caviar and salad dressing

Pictured left is Ted’s amuse bouche which includes a delightful mini souffle with a dollop of lemon cream on top. On the right is Ted’s egg, caviar and salad dressing

After an amuse bouche on a silver platter – which includes a delightful mini souffle with a dollop of lemon cream on top – we are presented with appetizers: summer vegetable croustade with basil, langoustines with a ginger-infused langoustine broth, red chili and mint, and my favorite – one Sort of like egg custard (made with whipped egg whites and spritzed with Noilly vermouth) in a ‘salad dressing’, with a generous sprinkling of caviar on the candied egg yolk in the centre. In addition, edible gold leaf to match the paintwork.

So far, so delightfully decadent.

Next comes turbot with clams and green beans; then pigeon stuffed with pigeon liver; duck foie gras tartine; fluffy potato chips; Figs with spices (appetizers – small dishes traditionally served between courses); and desserts – fresh herb sorbet on a block of ice, strawberry fontainebleau and The King Cake, vanilla sponge with Anais strawberries.

A wigged waiter announces the desserts, followed by a shout of “aux gourmandises du roi!”.  ('to the delights of the king')

A wigged waiter announces the desserts, followed by a shout of “aux gourmandises du roi!”. (‘to the delights of the king’)

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

And the theatrics are icing on the cake, the highlight being when a wigged waiter appears to herald courses, struts between tables with a giant staff while describing the treats, and then raises the staff with a yell of ‘aux Gourmandises hit the ground du roi!’ – roughly translated “to the delicacies of the king”.

A really delicious time travel extravaganza.

Full review of Le Grand Controle to follow…

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

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

Unique: Le Grand Controle (above) is an “extraordinary” venue, explains Ted

Unique: Le Grand Controle (above) is an “extraordinary” venue, explains Ted



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