The decision is in: Monaco Grand Prix renewed until 2025

The anxious wait to discover the fate of the uncertain future of the Monaco Grand Prix is over. The iconic race has signed a three-year deal to remain on the Formula 1 calendar until 2025. 

It was revealed on Tuesday 20th September that the FIA, Formula 1’s governing body, has approved the record-breaking 24-race season, which features the Monaco Grand Prix. It is no secret that the race has been in doubt. Alongside other classic European races such as the Belgian and French Grand Prix, the new American owners of the global sport Liberty Media threw the futures of some of the European classics into doubt. Whilst the Belgian GP remains on the calendar, the French GP has been axed.

The Monaco GP will take place on 28th May. In a press release, Formula 1 president and CEO Stefano Domenicali said, “I am pleased to confirm that we will be racing in Monaco until 2025 and excited to be back on the streets of this famous Principality for next year’s championship.”

He continued, “I want to thank everyone involved in this renewal and especially H.S.H Prince Albert II of Monaco, Michel Boeri, President of the Automobile Club of Monaco and all his team. We look forward to being back next season to continue our partnership together.”

The season will see three races in the United States, including an inaugural race in Las Vegas in November. it will begin in Bahrain on 5th March 2023 and finish in the United Arab Emirates on 26th November.



Photo source: Scuderia Ferrari Press Office




Fall in Love (again) with Monte-Carlo

The Casino Café de Paris came alive on Thursday night with a gravity-defying pianist and a dazzling display of entertainment as loyalty customers were invited to Fall in Love (again) with Monte-Carlo.

If there is one thing Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer knows how to do well, it is throw a party, and that’s exactly what it did for members of the My Monte-Carlo loyalty programme on Thursday 16th September.

“The purpose behind tonight is to bond with the clients again,” Daniel Lovazzani, Chef de département Exploitation Appareils Automatiques, told Monaco Life. “In 2018 and 2019 there were two evenings of this kind… Winter Chic and La Dolce Vita. But we had to stop because of the pandemic. So, everybody was craving another evening like this.”

In keeping with its Great Art of Gaming philosophy, SBM organised a Roaring Twenties evening with eclectic entertainment, free-flowing champagne, surprises, gifts and games.

“We have the best customers in the world here, we have high rollers, we have the best slot machines in the world with jackpots of over one million euros,” said Lovazzani.

Fall in Love with Monte-Carlo night at the Casino Café de Paris, photo courtesy SBM

The evening was designed to reward loyal customers who live in Monaco and the surrounding region.

Fourteen artists covered in diamonds distributed “nuggets” to customers, two of which were pure gold. Human paintings by Frida Kahlo, Arcimboldo, and Girl with a Pearl Earring by Vermeer wandered among guests. There was also a musical show choreographed in red and black, while “photorazzi” captured guests on the red carpet.

Tickets for the Monte-Carlo Jazz Festival were also distributed during the evening.

The My Monte-Carlo loyalty program has nearly 91,000 members and is open to customers of casinos and all Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer establishments. It includes participation in exceptional evenings, such as this, as well as other privileges.


Photo above by Monaco Life, photos below courtesy Monte-Carlo SBM…





France commits another €250 million to national ‘bike plan’

France’s bold plan to encourage more cyclists to hit the road is being boosted by another €250 million government investment for cycling infrastructure across the country.

French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne announced at Matignon, the prime minister’s headquarters, on Tuesday that the French Government will be continuing with its ‘Plan Vélo’ (Bicycle Plan).

She specified that an additional €250 million will be spent on the project for 2023.

The aim is to encourage bicycling in France by establishing bike-friendly infrastructure and encouraging people to get on their bikes via education campaigns.

The new funding will allow municipalities to build more bike paths and secure parking locations.

According to the Ministry of Ecology, the cycling plan is already bearing fruit. “The first five calls for projects launched between 2019 and 2022 were a great success with 933 winning projects for a total of 365 million euros in grants,” said the PM, “599 territories have thus been able to benefit from support for the realisation of projects for the sustainability of transition cycle paths, the creation of secure cycle routes and the reduction of route discontinuities.”

On top of the increased budget for the bike plan, the prime minister said that government would also create an “inter-ministerial committee on cycling” to be launched in the autumn, which will meet every six months.

The Bike Plan was originally launched in 2018 by current Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne, who was the then-Minister of Transport, as a 350 million fund to span seven years to 2025. It is now expected to run through to 2027 and will have been budgeted at least 500 million to 2025.


Photo credit: Eddie Junior on Unsplash 





Covid is making its expected resurgence

The Covid-19 incidence rate is on the rise again in Monaco and surrounding regions, triggering fears that an eighth wave is imminent. Here’s the latest.  

Circulation of the Covid virus in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (PACA) region has risen in all departments.

The Alpes-Maritimes, along with the Alpes de Haute Provence and Vaucluse, have had the most dramatic increases. In the Alpes-Maritimes, the rate surged to 250.92 during the week of 7th to 13th September from 190.66 the previous week. By the 16th of September, there was another rise to 277.6, with a positivity rate of 17.7%.

In the Alpes de Haute Provence, the rate from 31st August to 6th September was 220.4. The week after, the rate went up to 306.19, a 38.9% increase. Meanwhile, the Var went from 189.4 to 228.8, a 20.8% increase, and the Haute-Alpes had a 23.6% rise from 216.2 to 267.26 during the same two-week period.

The French Minister of Health and Prevention François Braun told France Inter on 19th September, “We are on armed vigilance in the face of this eighth wave which, we have been told by all the scientists, will arrive.”

Monaco recorded 109 new positive cases among residents and non-residents in the week ending 18th September. It took the incidence rate to 174, double the previous week’s figure of 87, according to the latest government figures.


Photo of a Covid testing laboratory by Monaco Life





Nice Mayor claims city as top tourist spot in France

The Mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi declared his city to be France’s number one tourist destination after a stellar summer season, with visitor numbers well above pre-pandemic figures.

Nice is laying claim to the top tourist spot in France, and the fourth in all of Europe, thanks to a report by a transportation app called Freenow.

Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi took the opportunity to tell a press conference on Monday that Nice indeed had a fantastic summer season, with occupancy rates over 87% in July and August, with around seven million visitors to the seaside city. This is even better than 2019 figures, when the city saw five million people pass through.

According to the mayor, it wasn’t just a case of more people coming, but a better type of tourist.

“We haven’t always had the clientele we wanted. Today, far from over tourism, we can count on quantity as well as quality,” he said before adding, “it’s our strategy over more than three years that is hailed: today we attract thanks to culture, sustainable development and major events.”

Museums saw record attendance with over 250,000 tourists visiting, and the city’s newly minted status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site has also drawn a new calibre of tourist.

Credit for the uptick is given at least partly to the return of Americans as well as customers from the Middle East, who now are accounting for big numbers. This foreign clientele spent more this summer than in 2019.

Improvements in infrastructure and other major works such as a new convention centre and the tram system has turned Nice from a beach and party place to a family destination with investors getting in on the action, making Nice even more desirable.

It’s not only the tourists who see the charms of Nice. Big events are being scheduled, such as Biennale des Arts, the Ultra Trail and the Transition Forum, a summit on sustainable development returning at the end of the month, followed by the Nice-Cannes marathon in October. The rise in bookings for events in another indicator of just how much interest in the city there is.

According to the Paris Office of Tourism and Conventions, the capital welcomed 9.9 million visitors from June to August, including 7.4 million foreign tourists.



Photo by Monaco Life 





Monaco narrowly lose to Lebanon in Davis Cup tie

Monaco lost 3-2 to Lebanon in the Davis Cup, despite an impressive comeback from 2-0 down. Attention now shifts from promotion to survival in Group II.

Following a comfortable victory against Morocco in March, Monaco went into the two-day tournament, which took place on Friday and Saturday, with the chance to get promoted to Group I of the world-renowned tennis tournament.

However, Monaco found their task much more difficult than they did earlier this year. Deprived of home-court advantage, the Principality side struggled on the hard court of Zouk Mosbeh.

Valentin Vacherot lost the first match in three sets against Hady Habib (1-6, 6-4, 6-3). The Monégasuqes were then left with a mountain to climb when Benjamin Hassan beat Lucas Caterina in straight sets (6-3, 6-1).

Monaco began their comeback in the doubles, as Hugo Nys and Romain Arneodo won in three sets (6-2, 6-7, 4-6). Valentin Vacherot’s victory in the fourth match of the competition (6-3, 7-6) then took the tie to a thrilling decider.

However, it wasn’t to be for Monaco. Habib beat Nys in three sets (6-2, 6-7, 6-2), to give Lebanon the victory, and dash Monaco’s dreams of reaching the top group. Focus now turns to remaining in Group II, and the draw for their next Davis Cup opponent will take place on Tuesday 20th September.


Photo of Monaco Davis Cup team by Luke Entwistle, Monaco Life