Every month we cast a spotlight on a figure making headlines
Name: Jacqueline Veyrac. Occupation: Hotelier and restaurateur. Tell me more: At 12.15pm on Monday, 24 October 2016, Jacqueline Veyrac, a 76-year-old widow and wealthy owner of the five-star Le Grand Hotel Cannes on La Croisette, was hauled from her car on a quiet side-street in Nice by three masked men and bundled into a white van. Later that day, Gérard, Veyrac’s youngest son, received a ransom demand. The ensuing events could have been lifted from a crime thriller.
Within 48 hours, Veyrac had been found bound and gagged but unharmed in the back of a van parked in a residential area overlooking Nice. A passerby had spotted that the licence plates looked false. Almost immediately, the police detained six men and charged three with kidnapping. Among the original suspects were an EX-SAS soldier, a paparazzo and a former business associate said to be harbouring a grudge.
It was the second time that Veyrac had been targeted in this way. In December 2013, would-be kidnappers were forced to abort their attempt when neighbours raised the alarm.
In addition to Le Grand, which her late husband, also Gérard, had demolished and rebuilt in 1963, Veyrac owns La Réserve, an iconic restaurant in Nice overlooking the Baie des Anges. Despite these high-profile locations and playing host to famous film stars, she has always shunned the limelight. But in this episode, she was the unwitting lead in her own real-life drama.
The waterfront at Cannes