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The Man Who Fell from the Sky: Le Louis XV

Jack Smith

Monaco

Like no other restaurant in the world, Le Louis XV at the Hotel de Paris in Monaco exudes privilege. Here, fleshy cupids people-watch from their perches on fluffy trompe l’oeil clouds while assorted 17th-century notables peer out from gilded niches. The cutlery, too, is gilded, as are the pilasters that run along the walls. No one snickers at the footstools or giggles when a waiter sculpts your butter out of a brick the size of a soccer ball; it is all, quite simply, part of the show.

Given the lushness of the setting, the restraint that chef Franck Cerutti exercises in creating tasting menus may surprise some guests. "Out of respect for the true flavor of vegetables and fruits, I may compose very simple dishes made with only two ingredients accented by a single aromatic," he says. Wine connoisseurs can select their libations—perhaps a Blanc de Blancs Champagne followed by a Château Haut-Brion—and ask the chef to create a menu to match the wines, rather than the other way around.

+33.7.98.06.88.64, www.alain-ducasse.com

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