Versailles’ recently revamped Pavillon Dufour sets the stage for chef Alain Ducasse’s latest performance, Ore, an elegant contemporary French café that pays tribute to the glittering royal splendour that surrounds it. Visually, this is thanks to the Palace of Versailles’ head architect Frédéric Didier, who worked with fellow architect Dominique Perrault to create a space that tells a story of both the past and present via a subtle yet poignant amalgamation of iconography and colour.
The merger of parquetry and grey taupe panelled walls infuse the space with a sense of antiquity, a welcome counterpunch to the salon’s clean lines and gentle application of copper and zinc. Designer Patrick Jouin’s Ester chair, here upholstered in full grain prune leather, marks brass table tops and sits under Gaëlle Lauriot-Prévost’a imaginative chandeliers, inspired equally by the once exotic strawberry and the baton of authority.
Following on from the interiors, the cuisine is contemporary and resolutely French, with crowd-pleasing classics such as quail pâté en croute making an appearance alongside a substantial vegetarian selection and memorable plates like the coquillette pasta served with ham, comté cheese and topped with deliciously rich black truffle. Fittingly, for a location synonymous with indulgence and excess, the aptly named Les Versaillaises patisserie delivers an abundance of sweet pastries and beverages to the château’s visitors, no doubt starved having wandered the expansive palace. Let them eat cake indeed.