Les Perles de Monaco: the Principality’s only locally grown oysters

les perles de monaco

Oysters growing in Monaco? A generation ago, that would have sounded preposterous, but today, with the help of two biologists, Les Perles de Monaco oysters are not only a reality, but a thriving business as well.  

In 2008, a virus ran through the juvenile oyster population of France. This was in conjunction with the arrival of a deadly bacteria that was also killing adult oysters, all but decimating the industry.  

That could have been the end to the story, except that two biologists, Frédéric Rouxeville from Saint Malo and Brice Cachia from Cannes, were working at the Monaco marine hatchery and made an incredible discovery.  


Whilst raising sea bass and sea bream there in 2011, they noticed that the small local oysters were blocking the filters in their ponds. Aside from being a bit of a nuisance, the duo noted that the species was, in fact, thriving.  

This led Rouxeville and Cachia to the idea of raising oysters in a protected environment locally. It was an entirely new concept for Monaco and this stretch of the Mediterranean coast.  

les perles de monaco
Locally grown oysters sit alongside premium seafood at Les Perles de Monaco’s eponymous restaurant

The pair began working with oyster larvae from Brittany, developing them in a closed-circuit hatchery fed on three different types of phytoplankton. They were then sent home to Brittany to mature before being brought back to the Principality to spend two to three weeks “ripening” in water pumped up from 12 metres down, which gave them a special something like no other oysters “farmed” elsewhere.  

Refining in the Mediterranean gives them a unique taste that is described as having an essence of hazelnut with a balanced taste and texture. In terms of eco credentials, they are organic and raised with respect for nature and the environment, with the aim of quality over quantity.  


These days, the duo get their oysters from Normandy as well as Brittany, and refine them on site at their “farm”, using much the same techniques. Their employees are former professional aqua-culturalists who have a deep understanding of the technical and biological processes needed to maintain the high standards set in the early days.  

Les Perles de Monaco has also expanded its operation to include a fantastic restaurant at the end of the pier in Fontvieille, where seafood of all types, including lobster, sea urchin, fish, clams and gambas, is served simply and tastily at plain wooden tables. This casual setting is a nice change from many other local eateries and adds a certain rustic charm to the overall experience. They also do take away, for those who prefer to enjoy their oysters and more at home.  

For more information, hours of operation or to make a reservation, visit the website here

Click on the images below to see more and check out our Instagram video…


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Photo source: Les Perles de Monaco