Dinner at Le Fouquet’s Cannes
Our wine tasting was the perfect segue into dinner at the Majestic’s Le Fouquet’s restaurant. The Le Fouquet’s brand is one of France’s most famous brasseries. Its Paris branch opened in 1899, while the Cannes outpost is equally regarded and serves inventive Mediterranean cuisine created by head chef Pierre Gagnaire. His restaurant on Rue Balzac in Paris has been awarded three Michelin stars, and in total, he has no fewer than 13, gleaned from the 11 restaurants that he has helmed. In addition, Gagnaire has been voted Best Chef in the World by his Michelin-starred peers.
The bar and dining area at Le Fouquet’s was warm and inviting: highlights of red, gold and taupe and sexy lighting with Art Deco mirror accents made for a relaxed ambience as we enjoyed drinks at the bar. Emanuele Balestra, Majestic’s bar manager (here and at the new property in St Barths), and all-round cocktail superman, is on hand to give us guidance. Gesticulating with Italian passion, he is clearly in his element and has a genuine love for the art of mixing.
“Our cocktails are unique,” he told us. “We grow all the herbs and flowers and vegetables for the bar on the roof of the hotel, from rose geranium to pineapple sage and fennel and basil.
“The plants have attracted bees, so we’ve started to make our own honey, too.”
Balestra’s favourite cocktail is the sage-flavoured Margarita. I had one of the best Mojitos I’ve ever tasted. Popular cocktails include Balestra’s Beetroot Gin Fizz, which mixes gin, icing sugar and lime juice, with the addition of artisanal beetroot-flavoured soda. There is also a selection of tasty non-alcoholic cocktails.
Moving from the bar to our window-side table (we could just about make out the terrace in the dark), we chatted with Regional Director of Sales and Marketing, Stéphane Trabet. The talk focused on Brexit – will there be a Frexit? And we get the feeling that the French are sorry to see us go. Over my delicious starter of wild prawns, avocado, pink grapefruit and mimosa egg, I heard about the newest Barrière hotel in St Barth’s named Barrière Le Carl Gustaf, which is due to open later this year and is the Group’s first foray into the Caribbean.
We then moved on to the main course, and my pan-fried scallops with sunchokes and lettuce were superb. Followed by a superb Crêpes Suzette that was flambeed at the table. Our medium-bodied red wine, the elegant Etna Bianco from the slopes of the Sicilian volcano, was the perfect accompaniment.
Cookery Lesson at BFire Restaurant on the Beach
A brisk walk the following day included a meander to the marina and a walk along the Croisette. A final gulp of coffee and we headed to Cannes Forville Market, with one of the chefs from BFire, to buy ingredients for our cookery lesson. The largest covered market in Cannes is located at the foot of the old town (Le Suquet) and boasts stalls selling fresh fish, the best selection of cheeses, Provençale pasta sauces, cold meats, fruits, vegetables…all alive with energy and vitality.
We returned to BFire on the Beach, the beachside restaurant owned by the Barrière Group, where we donned aprons and got to work creating our Pina Colada Sea Bream Ceviche. This was my first attempt at ceviche, and it was surprisingly easy, but we had a great teacher—such a joy to eat outside on the BFire terrace facing the ocean.
The menu at BFire is the creation of chef Mauro Colagreco, who oversees the Mirazur restaurant in Menton (awarded two stars in the Michelin Red Guide). The Argentinian, from an Italian family, focuses on seasonal produce and his superb selection of fish and meat dishes are mostly cooked or seared over a wood fire creating intense flavours. The ambience is relaxed and sophisticated, and it’s a great place to people watch. Coffee and desserts are delicious.
Diane Barrière spa
Each Barrière hotel has a spa named after the Barrière matriarch, Diane, and the Majestic is no exception. This 450 square-metre haven of peace has a fabulous Hamman, sauna and Zen area with a snow mountain (a giant snowmaker that drips ice from the ceiling). My massage therapist used Biologique Recherche and LIGNE ST-BARTH products with no artificial fragrances and was just the relaxation I needed. Unfortunately, I was never awake early enough to use the fitness centre, but this well-equipped sea-facing space offers plenty of weights and fixed machines, alongside Pilates classes and bespoke fitness sessions from the in-house trainers.
Café Croisette at the Casino Le Croisette
Emanuel Balestra created a superb cocktail masterclass before dinner in the Penthouse Suite of the Hôtel Barrière Le Majestic during our second evening, and we mixed up a storm with Clairin communal rum and pineapple. This was a kicker aperitif before heading to the famous Cannes Casino for a flutter and a meal. There are 110 slot machines here, alongside the roulette, blackjack and poker tables, and the restaurant on the upper floor is open for lunch and dinner.
Why We Love the Hôtel Barrière Le Majestic Cannes
Boasting an unrivalled location on the Croisette, facing the Mediterranean on one side, and the Palais de Festival on the other, the Hôtel Barrière Le Majestic Cannes is a luxurious home-from-home throughout the year, not just during the Film Festival.
A world-class penthouse with private pool and gym, private sandy beach during summer, three award-winning restaurants, water sports from the jetty and a 450 square-metre oasis at the Spa Diane Barrière are reason enough. Add the talents of head chef Pierre Gagnaire and outstanding service and cuisine, not forgetting butlers in all suites, and you have one of the most sought-after luxury hotels in Cannes!
Hôtel Barrière Le Majestic Cannes – Where and How?
Hôtel Barrière Le Majestic Cannes is located at 10 Boulevard de la Croisette, 06407 Cannes, France. For more information, call +33 4 92 98 77 00 or visit www.hotelsbarriere.com.
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Disclaimer: With the risks of the Coronavirus widely publicised, we do not accept any responsibility for any health concerns arising from visiting this property, and urge everyone to follow the latest advice issued by the Government and the Foreign Commonwealth Office prior to making a booking and travelling to their destination: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus.