Each May, like much of St Tropez, Dior des Lices awakens from its wintry slumber and comes into bloom, its gates welcoming an endless carousel of guests and pampered pooches alike. And whilst in the depths of the city's sweltering summer, when the town pulses with people, yachts and Vespas that zigzag wildly through coral-hued streets, Dior des Lices is zen-like.
A verdant, rarefied bubble that belies the fact it’s only mere minutes from the Taittinger-spraying decadence of the marina.
Situated on the grounds of the House of Dior's grand château: all champagne walls, duck-egg blue shutters and clambering ivy, the outdoor restaurant's backdrop is Provençal perfection. A cluster of parasols curl around towering palms whilst Breton-topped waitresses in billowing New Look style skirts shimmy past tables. Everything appears effortless.
all champagne walls, duck-egg blue shutters and clambering ivy, the outdoor restaurant's backdrop is Provençal perfection
Albeit it's marked by the odd ostentatious garden reminder of where you are: the branded motorbike and mirrored letters that spell out the name of the iconic fashion house glitter in the sunlight. And of course, everything is underscored by expectation, its weight as heavy as the scent of oleander that floats in the warm afternoon air.
But does expectation lead to disappointment? We didn't think so. Service is impeccable, and the restaurant's pastoral softness lulls guests into repose. But Dior des Lices is not a glorified beauty queen: it's run by three-star Michelin chef Arnaud Donckele (known for his wizardry at La Vague d'Or) with Yannick Alléno having taken the helm prior. Lunch or dinner could involve a sea bream ceviche with marinated vegetables, or a vitello tonnato: a traditional Piedmontese dish that marries aromatic veal with a full-flavored fish sauce.
We opted for brunch, where everything from viennoiseries to butter gets the Dior stamp of approval — literally. It's a simple touch that has maximum impact, and one that demonstrates how keenly they understand their clientele. Perhaps some more than others: guests who looked like walking shrines to the brand, emblazoned in head-to-toe Dior — like teens bringing their memorabilia to their idol's meet-and-greet session — were noticeably present.
But even if you thought you weren't the kind to be swayed by such marketing tactics, it's hard not to be thrilled with your little slice of stamped Dior. It really does elevate the experience, feeling like edible magic served on delicate bone china. The highlight is undeniably the D'Choux, tiny bright bites of profiterole that fizz with flavor: the lemon zest and green pistachio being the standouts.
Patisseries feel like edible magic served on delicate bone china
Afterward, we meandered towards the bar for a tipple. Though the term 'bar' feels a bit of a misnomer: you aren't angling for the barman's attention but rather your sinking into canopied, English country-garden style seats whilst cocktails are brought to you. Our favorite? L'Optimiste: Tanqueray with orange blossom syrup, lemon and grapefruit bitter. Accompanied with sea fresh poached langoustine and seaweed tartare, it was the perfect cooling antidote to a heady Côte d'Azur afternoon.
Are there any caveats? Yes, if you aren't organized. Dior des Lices is always busy, and a reservation is a must. Without one, you are trying your luck for a sit-down meal, and at best, you'll be able to get a place at the bar accompanied by a one-hour wait. In St Tropez, this can be particularly unpleasant as the temperature climbs. But otherwise, Dior des Lices is an utter delight.
To incorporate Dior des Lices into your next yacht charter, please consult your chosen yacht charter broker. They can craft a carefully curated itinerary that incorporates your individual needs, ensuring an unforgettable yacht charter vacation that surpasses your expectations.
Visited: 22/07/2021 and reviewed by Mairead Finlay
Dior des Lices
13 Rue François Sibilli,
Show Phone Number+33 4 98 12 67 65