Dining elite robbed at gunpoint

RIVIERA restaurant owners fear a spate of terrorist-type attacks after an armed robbery at one of the favourite eateries of the rich and famous near Cannes.

For 25 years the Ferme de Mougins has been the favourite haunt of such celebrities as Roger Moore, Joan Collins, Adnan Khashoggi, the King and Queen of Belgium, the Duchess of York and Paloma Picasso.

Originally a sheep farm, it stands in two acres of olive groves and lush parkland at the entrance to the picture-postcard village of Mougins.

On balmy summer nights the diners love to sit on the shady colonial- style terraces, under huge umbrellas, eating provencale dishes and listening to the cigales. These punters are happy to spend 800 francs (pounds 80) each for dinner, delighted to discover the rare wines in the cellars of the owner, Henri Sauvanet.

But on Monday night fear and terror hit the tranquil hostelry (three knives and forks in Guide Michelin), when four armed and hooded bandits stormed the heavy iron gates of La Ferme, having badly beaten, bound and gagged the car attendant. Yannick Maurette-Fleury, a Parisian journalist on holiday with his family in the South of France, said the attack took place at 11pm.

"We were just finishing dinner with a fine old brandy when the hooded raiders struck, yelling `Nobody move!' They grabbed the maitre d'hotel by the collar and thrust a pistol at his head. We realised they meant business".

Mr Maurette-Fleury said the 80 diners, including two pregnant women, had no alternative but to do as they were ordered and prostrate themselves on the ancient flagstones.

The traumatised diners were instructed to remove their jewels and leave cash and credit cards in front of them. The biggest haul came from a man celebrating his 75th birthday. His pockets were stuffed with cash: with a trophy blonde by his side, he was about to head off to the casino on La Croisette, in Cannes, for a post-prandial flutter.

The robbers, having swept up their haul, estimated at 200,000 francs, beat a hasty retreat.

The shocked diners, paralysed with fear, remained spread-eagled on the floor, too frightened to move, long after the bandits had made their escape in a stolen Peugeot 309.

Now Riviera restaurant owners fear a spate of terrorist-type attacks similar to that at Le Ferme de Mougins. "This is not the first time it's happened at Le Ferme but they usually manage to keep it quiet," said Jean- Paul Battaglia, owner of the Feu Follet Restaurant, which is popular with British vacationers.

"The South of France in summer has always been a major attraction for thieves. We expect this to happen as surely as we expect the 14th of July."

Mr Battaglia is not worried about clients being too frightened to dine out. "Some will cancel because they are nervous; others will come hoping for a bit of excitement."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
From Mean Girls to Mamet: Lindsay Lohan
theatre
Sport
Nathaniel Clyne (No 2) drives home his side's second goal past Arsenal’s David Ospina at the Emirates
footballArsenal 1 Southampton 2: Arsène Wenger pays the price for picking reserve side in Capital One Cup
News
Mike Tyson has led an appalling and sad life, but are we not a country that gives second chances?
peopleFormer boxer 'watched over' crash victim until ambulance arrived
Arts and Entertainment
Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
tv
News
i100
Travel
travelGallery And yes, it is indoors
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
The Tiger Who Came To Tea
booksJudith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Account Executive/Sales Consultant – Permanent – Hertfordshire - £16-£20k

£16500 - £20000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...

KS2 PPA Teacher needed (Mat Cover)- Worthing!

£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Crawley: KS2 PPA Teacher currently nee...

IT Systems Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

IT Application Support Engineer - Immediate Start

£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...

Day In a Page

Syria air strikes: ‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings

Robert Fisk on Syria air strikes

‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings
Will Lindsay Lohan's West End debut be a turnaround moment for her career?

Lindsay Lohan's West End debut

Will this be a turnaround moment for her career?
'The Crocodile Under the Bed': Judith Kerr's follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

The follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

Judith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed' - which has taken 46 years to get into print
BBC Television Centre: A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past

BBC Television Centre

A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past
Lonesome George: Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains

My George!

Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains
10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Pack up your troubles: 10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Off on an intrepid trip? Experts from student trip specialists Real Gap and Quest Overseas recommend luggage for travellers on the move
Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world