Basketball stadium gets impressive upgrade ahead of Roca Team’s return

The home of AS Monaco Basketball, Salle Gaston Médecin, has been transformed in just 13 weeks. Sporting a sleek wooden design, an increased capacity court now awaits the returning Roca Team.

Basketball is set to return to the Principality on Sunday when Roanne face AS Monaco Basketball at the Salle Gaston Médecin. Not only will a completely new-look team take to the court, but the surroundings themselves will also be unfamiliar to the Roca Team faithful.

During the 13 weeks that have elapsed since the end of the 2021/22 season, and the beginning of this new campaign, the court has undergone what Monaco’s interior minister Patrice Cellario described as a “significant face-lift”.

Monaco Life on Tuesday attended a press tour of the Roca Team’s almost unrecognisable home court. The first immediately noticeable difference is the seating itself… and how much of it there is. Cellario announced that Monaco will be able to host just under 4,600 fans for their Betclic Elite and Euroleague campaigns this season.

The increased capacity at the Salle Gaston Médecin is not just in recognition of the growing popularity of the sport in the Principality, it is also the consequence of strict Euroleague regulations regarding stadia capacity. The European competition, the biggest outside of the USA, has already given the green light to this new hall.

Without the ability to lift the roof of the hall, the Monégasuqe authorities, along with the club itself, have had to be imaginative in their redevelopment plans. The edges of the previously square stands have been rounded, whilst the seating in the upper tiers has been significantly increased. The result of this, according to AS Monaco Basketball vice-president Paul Masseron, is the creation of a “real cauldron”. He added, “Fans will be particularly surprised and in awe [of the new hall.]” The atmosphere within the hall will also be aided by the creation of a ‘kop’ in the south stand.

The AS Monaco Basketball home stadium has received an important facelift. Photo by Monaco Life

The uniformity of the seats themselves also stands out. The monolithic wooden stands, one of which goes from courtside, all the way up to the roof gives the court what Masseron describes as a “warm” atmosphere. “I think it’s the only stadium in the French championship that is totally wooden. It’s very impressive and it also gives the hall a very warm character.” As well as providing a warm aesthetic, the use of wood is also an environmental measure, with the source material for the seats and stands coming from France.

It’s a good job that the raw materials for the renovation haven’t come far, given the extremely tight schedule that was set. In some ways, the Roca Team are victims of their own success, as work could only begin after the denouément of the 2021/22 season. As a result of reaching the final of the Betclic Elite, and taking it to a fifth and final game, work could only begin at the end of June.

“The time on site has been significantly reduced,” began Cellario. “Obviously we had to allow the Roca Team to finish last season, which finished in mid-June as a result of their incredible sporting results, whilst also giving them back their court for the start of the new season (2nd October). There were only 13 weeks on-site, 13 weeks to completely transform the hall… there is enormous pride and gratitude to the team that have carried out this operation in such a short space of time and worked flat out in order to achieve the results that you see today.”

He continued, “We are now passing our baby on to the Roca Team so that they can take up the challenge on a sporting level, and allow us to dream again this season.”

It’s all change at AS Monaco Basketball; a new-look roster will take to a transformed Salle Gaston Médecin this weekend. Whilst the aesthetics, and some components of the club will be unfamiliar during the meeting against Roanne in the Betclic Elite, the ambition of the club remains unaltered and clearly discernible. Their brand new hall attests once again to that ambition.



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Monaco Life (@monacolife_)


Photo by Luke Entwistle






Seeds of sustainability begin to take root

A few days before the Monaco Yacht Show, a number of start-ups, marinas, architects and yachting professionals were awarded for their sustainable projects at the Monaco Smart and Sustainable Marina Rendezvous. These are the winners.

The final phase of a six-month project to unite and award start-ups, marinas, architects and yachting professionals culminated in a meeting at the Yacht Club de Monaco on 25th to 26th September.

The two-day event is the second ever Monaco Smart and Sustainable Marina Rendezvous, and it focused on sharing actions and ideas for the yachting industry to meet environmental challenges.

Back in May 2022, 50 start-ups, nine marinas and eight architects were selected from a pool of over 10,000 for consideration.

Nicola Beck, Principal Architect at NBAX, picked up the International Smart and Sustainable Architecture Award for the Sanya Yacht Club project.

Speaking at the conference, Nicola Beck explained: “In China, generally, sustainability is not a big issue yet, so we focus 90% of our project on being standard, while one area we try and introduce some sustainability is in the materials or technology. That is why we are working with Canada Wood, which is a non-profit organisation promoting the use of Canadian wood. In China, the use of timber structures is starting to grow – its not used on a big scale yet – but we use it for the marine environment and it really showcases what timber structures can do. Wood has this reputation of being weaker than steel, which is not the case at all.”

Winning the award was a special moment for Beck. Having spent over 10 years in China, including the lockdownyears, she is happy that the work she had done during the pandemic in China is now being recognised and applauded in Europe. Said Beck on receiving the Award: “Im really honoured to receive the Monaco Smart and Sustainable Architecture Award 2022. Its incredible to be selected by such a high-profile international jury for our work in Sanya, Hainan.”

She added, “To realise large landmark projects is always a challenge but especially to accomplish it in a sustainable manner. The support of the conference, the community and the Yacht Club de Monaco will give this project and our future ventures the platform they require to showcase the great environmental potential of timber structures to a wider audience.” 

Left to right: Philippe LeBlanc, EU Sales & Business Development Manager, Econcretetech (Winner of Smart & Sustainable Start Up Award), Ben Lesage from the Sustainable Ocean Alliance, and Marc Hervàs, Head of Sustainability, MB92. Photo by Monaco Life

The Marina Award went to Flisvos Marina in Greece for its sustainable approach to the coast and eco-responsibility.

The Start-up Award was collected by Philippe LeBlanc of Econcretetech, a company that makes a type of concrete that promotes the growth of organisms such as oysters, corals or barnacles which act like biological glue and enhance the strength and durability of structures and add to their durability and strength of structures. On receiving the Award LeBlanc commented: “This award is a great recognition of the commitment from the marina industry to apply solutions to preserve and promote the most important asset of any marina worldwide – its biodiversity and water quality”.

The Smart and Sustainable meeting also gave professionals the chance to discuss and share their experiences and innovative ideas.

One such idea came from refit and repair shipyard MB92 based at Barcelona. There, explains Head of Sustainability Marc Hervás, they have built a wall’ of bi-valves (oysters or mussels) that they use to purify the water in the dock. He explains: The bi-valves filter the water and eat the organic matter, keeping the water clean so the oxygen levels rise again. So, you have a much better quality of water using a natural process without any kind of technology.”

At the end of the bi-valves’ natural life cycle, the shell and meat are separated: the meat is sent to an insect farm and the shells to a local interior design start-up that grinds down the shells to make lamps and vases etc.

2° Monaco Smart & Sustainable Marina Rendezvous, photo credit Arthur.G

MB92 is this week launching its sustainability consultancy service to yacht clients. We come up with a repair maintenance plan which introduces sustainable measures, such as energy efficiency or water treatment,” explained Hervás. We already have yachts that are interested, so we are hopeful the service will be well received. At the end of the day, most of the solutions that we offer are not only positive for the environment but also come with economic savings for the client, maybe not in year one, but long-term.

Being sustainable almost always means being efficient on economics. Its a long-term project and once we are underway, we will introduce new propulsion systems like hydrogen and bio fuels – there are a lot of innovations coming in the future, starting with basic things, quick wins that can be implemented easily and fast like purification water systems, anti-fouling, LED lighting, and domotic energy efficiency.”

The 2022 International Smart and Sustainable Architecture ‘Special Mention’, or Coup de Coeur Award winner, was Snøhetta (Norway), an underwater restaurant, and Habacoa (Bahamas) picked up the 2022 International Smart and Sustainable Marina Coup de Coeur Award for design excellence of smart sustainable marinas and yacht clubs worldwide.

The Monaco Smart and Sustainable Marina Rendezvous was organised by Monaco Marine Management and Blumorpho, experts in innovation for sustainable business.



Photo above: Maarten van de Voorde, West 8, and Nicola Beck, Principal Architect NBAX Architecture & Design (Winner of Smart & Sustainable Architect Award). Photo by Monaco Life






Public embrace invitation to see inside Prince’s Foundation

For the first time, the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation opened its doors to the public on Sunday 25th September as part of the 27th European Heritage Days, which this year fell under the theme of sustainable heritage.  

Scientific Director Philippe Mondielli led two sessions presenting the Foundation, welcoming 42 participants. Workshops were organised in collaboration with the Terrae association, and 14 children, accompanied by their parents, discovered the plants and herbs in the vegetable garden. In particular, the children were educated on the role of bees and were able to witness a beehive installed in the garden. They also had the opportunity to sow a strawberry plant to take home.

Photo source: Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation

Villa Girasole, headquarters of the Prince Albert Foundation, attracted more than 60 other visitors who were curious to see inside this beautiful Belle Époque residence, built in 1882. Renovated with full respect for its period architectural details (mouldings, stained glass windows, leather wall decoration, etc.), the villa has also been equipped with high energy efficiency installations (photovoltaic solar panels, heat pump, double glazing and all-LED lighting, etc.), making it part of the Foundation’s commitment to promoting renewable energy.

The garden also offered the opportunity to discover or rediscover some of the prints from the Foundation’s Environmental Photography Award.

The Prince Albert II Foundation said that it was “delighted” with its participation in the European Heritage Days, which attracted nearly 120 visitors, all activities included, who came to talk to the Foundation’s teams throughout the day.


Photo above source: Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation





Covid latest: circulation falls slightly in Monaco

The latest health figures show that Monaco has not seen another uptick of Covid-19 in the Principality, although this isn’t the case in neighbouring French regions.

In the week ending Sunday 25th September, 1,024 PCR and antigen tests had been conducted in Monaco on residents and non-residents. Of those, 10.2% returned a positive result, compared to a positive rate of 11% the previous week.

It’s an encouraging sign, showing that the circulation of Covid has not increased. In fact, the incidence rate actually dropped from 174 to 138.

It is a different situation in the neighbouring Alpes-Maritimes region though, where the incidence rate has risen to 293 – up from the previous week’s figure of 251. Throughout France, the incidence rate is as high as 341. Severe hospitalisations remain relatively low however, with 69 people in ICU in the Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur region, and 733 in all of France.

In Monaco, seven Covid patients are being treated at the Princess Grace Hospital Centre, including three residents. No one is in intensive care.

Meanwhile, 37 residents with mild Covid symptoms are being followed by the Home Monitoring Centre.



Nearly half a million raised at Safari in the City gala

The Zoological Society of London raised a whopping £436,000 (€499,000) at their latest black-tie charity event designed to raise funds for the London Zoo.

The Zoological Society of London (ZSL) is a charity dedicated to the global conservation of animals and their habitats. They held their annual Safari in the City gala on 21st September and raised an astounding half a million euros to help save wildlife from extinction.

The black-tie party was attended by 300 supporters and featured a tribute to Queen Elizabeth II who had been a patron of the association since her coronation in 1953. The night was hosted by wildlife presenter Megan McCubbin and had a live auction led by Richard Madley.

ZSL’s Fundraising Director James Wren, said, “It has been three years since we last held our Safari in the City fundraising gala but the threats facing wildlife remain just as stark.”

ZSL’s Executive Director of Fundraising James Wren compares tuxedos with Humboldt penguin Rainbow ahead of the fundraising gala. Photo courtesy ZSL

The event included an after-hours tour where guests explored the conservation zoo, seeing species on the knife’s edge of being forever lost, including three critically endangered Sumatran tiger cubs born in June. The chance to name the baby cubs raised £51,000 (€58,000) during the auction.

Additionally, guests were joined by scientists, zookeepers, and conservationists who shared stories of their work before being led into a safari-themed marquis where a three-course vegan meal was served.

“Since last night, our generous supporters have continued to pledge, and we expect this total to increase – which is a fantastic indicator of the passion and recognition of the importance of our work,” Wren said.

Safari in the City guests explore ZSL London Zoo after hours. Photo courtesy ZSL

The ZSL cares for 184 threatened species at two zoos, namely London Zoo and Whipsnade Zoo, and includes 17 species that are extinct in the wild. Two of these species, the partula snail and the scimitar horned oryx, are being reintroduced into the wild thanks to efforts made by the association and its partners.

To learn more or to donate, visit the charity’s website on



Photo above courtesy ZSL