Motown and soul-food come to the home of the jet set

THERE’S a reason that Monte Carlo is known as the playground of the rich and famous. Not only is it home to some of the world’s wealthiest men and women – Philip Green, Shirley Bassey, EasyJet’s Stelios and David Coulthard are among the principality’s residents – but it also draws an entire firmament of stars who either hole up in the penthouse suites of the city’s five star hotels (Bono, Heidi Klum, Claudia Schiffer, Gwen Stefani, Sting), or moor their mega-yachts in the shallows of one of Europe’s swankiest harbours (Naomi Campbell, P Diddy, Bernie Ecclestone, Roman Abramovich).

As you might expect, these people like to party and now international playboys and high-flying femme fatales have somewhere new to pop their corks. Black Legend sits in a plum position, opposite the Monaco yacht club, with a huge terrace overlooking the harbour. And with a laid-back lounge vibe inspired by Motown, looks set to take on Jimmy’z, Monte Carlo’s longstanding nightspot of choice for moneyed movers and shakers.

The club is the latest venture from the Floirat Group, the company behind two of St Tropez’s most fashionable locales, the Byblos Hotel and the hotel’s in-house nightclub, Les Caves du Roy. It’s the brainchild of the group’s director, Antoine Chevanne, whose long-standing passion for the soulful sounds of Motown legends led to the club’s creation and the decision that it should be not just a nightclub but a live music venue too.

“I wanted to create somewhere that would really pay homage to the Motown scene,” explains Chevanne, “and that would also encourage bands who have been inspired by this sort of music. Ultimately I’d like the Black Legend to become a showcase for young, unsigned soul bands in the Motown tradition.”

Those young bands have a lot to live up to after an opening night at the end of October set the tone with jaw-dropping sets from The Supremes and Martha Reeves & The Vandellas, not to mention the debut performance from the club’s house band, The Soul Tigers, and later on, a DJ spinning a blend of R’n’B, funk, disco and soul for a crowd of VIPs until the early hours.

But it’s not just the music that draws heavily on American culture. Black and white prints of Motown legends paper the walls, while low slung brown leather easy chairs give the place a relaxed, speakeasy feel. Original 70s spotlights supplement a modern lighting rig and the underlit checkerboard dancefloor is straight out of Saturday Night Fever.

While clubbers will only be able to strut their stuff on the flashing dancefloor between Thursday and Sunday, the bar and restaurant will be open seven days a week, serving Med-meets-Motown cuisine, including the already infamous French Fry Menu – five types of chip, from skinny matchsticks (christened 6/6s, because their cross section should be 6mm x 6mm, I kid you not – there are also 9/9s) right the way through to chunky wedges.

“Not everyone likes their fries the same way,” shrugs Chevanne in explanation. He’s right of course, and when your potential clientele are the sort of stellar celebrities and billionaire businessmen who are used to getting what they want, how and when they want it, it pays to have this sort of attention to detail.

As a young upstart, Black Legend might not be able to challenge say, the casino and Grace Kelly when it comes to true Monte Carlo legends, but, to wilfully misquote another Motown legend, Give Them Just A Little More Time...

l Claire travelled with Elegant Resorts (, and stayed at the Hotel Metropole, Monte Carlo. A three night stay is from £875 per person, including B&B, flights from Heathrow and private car transfers.