At 40, Olivier Boussard has been awarded a first star, crowning a faultless career path. His restaurant, Le Beaulieu, has managed to convert a previously very conservative regional clientele to the subtleties of contemporary cuisine...
A few minutes’ walk from the historic centre, Le Beaulieu boasts a façade that is simultaneously monumental, grey and austere: it’s hard to imagine that inside this building, dedicated to La Mutuelle Générale Française Accidents insurance company in 1883, one can now enjoy knuckle of pork in pot-au-feu and pan-fried scallops with haricot beans. As soon as we pass through the beautiful entrance door, the décor designed by Laurence Boussard provides a sharp contrast, with blood red colours, paintings depicting clowns and chandeliers that are original to say the least... You will love it or hate it, but the most important thing is on your plate – and there you will find a remarkable display!
Son of a restaurant owner from the Sarthe, Olivier Boussard is the typical example of a prodigal child. Having set off on his travels at the age of 15 – working at Henri Seguin’s restaurant in Paris (Le Pressoir), Firmin Arrambide’s restaurant in Saint-Jean-Pied de Port, as well as in various Relais et Châteaux establishments – Olivier achieved his dream in 1996, setting up his own business in his home town.
Ten years after his return, he has finally won recognition, and Le Mans is now a compulsory stopping place for gourmets from France and elsewhere. “It was not easy to impose my cuisine because the people of Le Mans are difficult to budge... I still have to make concessions today, putting traditional products on the menu, like truffles, lobster and foie gras
. Above all, I have to make sure that I maintain a very strong link with the region’s heritage, such as rillettes
, game from the Bonnétable forest, cepe mushrooms, pigs, asparagus and strawberries from the Sarthe and poultry from the Ferme du Patis which, to my mind, is far better than Bresse chicken.” (see our article