French motorways going barrier-free

Soon people will be able to travel on French toll roads without having to stop at a péage, allowing traffic to flow easier and ending the bottlenecks that plague the motorways, especially on holidays and in summer.  

It’s the rare bird in France who has not endured queues associated with waiting to pass through a toll booth on the local motorways. This outdated system has been a bane for years, but now it is about to change.  

So-called “free-flow highways” will become the new normal for all new motorways in France, allowing motorists to drive at the permitted speed without slowing or stopping, by passing under camera and sensor-equipped gates that identify the vehicle.  

The first barrier-free road officially opened on 4th November on the A79 in Allier in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. The Normandy highway is next to be outfitted, then all new highways in France will follow. 

Drivers wishing to go this route can pay by purchasing an electronic vignette from any autoroute company or by visiting their websites and registering with a card that will be used to pay for usage and the person’s vehicle number plate.  

For those not quite ready for this kind of technology, there will also be kiosks set up on the motorway’s edges where payment can be made by cash or card.  

“Customers have 72 hours to pay for their journey,” says Pierre Méau, Deputy Director of Customers at the Autoroutes Paris-Rhin-Rhône. “If they do not do so, they will be fined €90 on top of the toll, and €375 if they do not pay within 60 days. In addition, the operator will have access to the European number plate database.” 

This system has trialled in France since 2019 at the Boulay-Moselle interchange on the A4 highway. Despite some teething pains, the system “has proved its reliability and customers have become familiar with this new payment system”, according to the Société des Autoroutes du Nord et de l’Est de la France’s managing director, Arnaud Quemard. 



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New ambassadors: Monaco on the world stage

Monaco’s new ambassadors to Luxembourg and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe have been officially installed after ceremonies taking place in Luxembourg and Vienna respectively.  

The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg welcomed Monaco representative Frédéric Labarrère (pictured) to the Grand Ducal Palace on 26th October, where he presented his letters of credence to Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg.  

A private meeting took place after the ceremony, where the Duke and ambassador spoke about common interests such as developing the green and financial sectors, and space activities, which Luxembourg is particularly active in.  

Prior to this, on 19th October, Lorenzo Ravano, Permanent Representative of the Principality of Monaco to the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), presented his letter of accreditation to Helga Schmid, Secretary General of the OSCE. 

The two had a discussion shortly after, where they touched on the war in Ukraine, notably the recent escalation in violence, as well as the resurgence of crises and renewed tensions in several regions of the OSCE area. Schmid made a special point to thank the Principality for support given to the OSCE during an anti-human trafficking programme.  

The OSCE is the largest regional security organisation in the world. It works in favour of peace and stability through several realms, such as the politico-military world including disarmament, the fight against terrorism, prevention of conflicts, and police training. It also works through economic-environmental actions, such as the development of institutional capacities and mitigating the consequences of conflicts on the environment, and they also work on the human rights angle, including human rights, democracy, electoral observations, fight against human trafficking, and freedom of the media. 



Photo source: House of the Grand Duke of Luxembourg

MBA make history with first LF2 win

Monaco Basket Association made history on Saturday, beating the previously unbeaten Mondevile (77-73) to secure their first victory in the LF2. 

Having secured promotion from the NF1 last season, the newly-professionalised Monaco Basket Association (MBA) have wasted little time in making their impact felt in the LF2. Following narrow losses against Charnay and Strasbourg, Régis Racine’s side got their first win on the board after a tense over-time victory at the Annonciade.

Ashunae Durant was the standout player for the Monégasques, registering 19 points and making eight rebounds, whilst captain Victoria Majekodunmi finished as the side’s top-scorer with 23 points.

After being taken to overtime, MBA held their nerve to take a narrow victory (77-73) and take the first step towards establishing themselves as a “full-fledged LF2 side,” which was the stated aim of the club’s president Éric Elena at the start of the season.

“It was very intense from start to finish. We remained clear-headed and focused until the end and that paid off in the end,” said MBA player Fatoumata Touré.

“An overtime in such a close match is really tricky, especially when we’re limited in terms of rotation because of injuries. We had to concentrate until the end despite the physical fatigue that we felt,” added MBA’s Adèle Dreano-Trecant.

Looking to build on their first success of the season, MBA next face a trip to Calais, before welcoming LFB side Toulouse in the Coupe de France on 8th November.


Photo by Philippe Lombard

Monaco dives into ocean role at COP27

The Scientific Centre of Monaco is heading to the upcoming COP27 in Egypt for talks on ocean protection as well as the role of the world’s “blue zone” in regulating the global climate.  

Held in Sharm el-Sheikh from 6th to 18th November, the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) is being held at a crucial moment in time for positive climate change action. While reducing humankind’s impact on climate change on land has traditionally been the main focus for action, the role of the oceans is coming to the fore as an important element in climate regulation.  

This growing awareness is reflected by the prominence of a “blue zone” at the COP27’s central site. Within this zone, which is reserved for national delegations, UN organisations and NGO observers, will be the Pavilion of the Ocean. It is there that Monaco’s influence – and that of the Scientific Centre of Monaco (CSM) – will be found.  

The CSM will be represented by Dr Nathalie Hilmi, a member of the centre’s environmental economics department and the author of a recent report put out by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that focused on the world’s oceans and cryosphere in the context of climate change.  

“Blue carbon and other marine biological processes are part of the solution to the ecological and socio-economic impacts of climate change related to the climate in the ocean,” says Dr Hilmi.  

The pavilion, organised by a group of international research institutions including the CSM, the WHOI, the SCRIPPS Institution of Oceanography, the CNRS, Ifremer and UNESCO, aims to bring the vital role played by the oceans in regulating the Earth’s climate to a global audience. 



Photo source: Willian Justen de Vasconcellos for Unsplash

Changes to the taxe d’habitation: now and next year

While the French taxe d’habitation on main residences will soon be a thing of the past, some households still have to pay in 2022 and the deadline is just around the corner.  

In 2022, only households above a certain income threshold are obliged to pay the taxe d’habitation on their main residence. For example, a couple earning 44,830€ or less will be exempt from payment. The same household earning just above this threshold, up to 46,914€, will benefit from a further “partial exemption” in addition to a 65% reduction that applies to all payments this year. For a family of four, the total exemption limit is 57,340€ and the “partial exemption” stands at 59,424€.  

French taxpayers eligible for the impôt sur la fortune immobilière or property wealth tax are not exempt from the taxe d’habitation even if their income is below the applicable threshold.  

All households above the income thresholds, which can be found here, including property wealth taxpayers, will benefit from a 65% reduction rate that is up from 30% in 2021.  

Second homes and vacant properties

Although the taxe d’habitation for main residences is set to be entirely abolished in 2023, but it will still apply to second homes and vacant properties.  

As Monaco Life reported earlier this week, second home owners in parts of France with high demand for housing could see their taxe d’habitation bills rise by as much as 60% in 2023 via a surtaxe.  

Elderly residents who live in a care home but still own a property are exempt from paying the taxe d’habitation on this property.  

When and how to pay

Notifications for payment were sent out by the tax office in early October – both by post and via email for residents who have previously opted for a paperless service – so if you haven’t yet received your bill, it is advised to contact your local centre des impôts. It may well be the cause that you simply exempt. The deadline is midnight on 15th November for postal payments or midnight on 20th November for online payments. All payments above 300€ must be made via the online portal.



Photo source: Sten Bergman for Unsplash

Relentless Roca Team shine against Red Star

AS Monaco Basketball professionally dismantled a well-organised Red Star Belgrade side on Friday (85-77) to join Fenerbahçe at the top of the Euroleague standings. 

Roca Team coach Sasa Obradović said he was expecting a “hard game” and that’s exactly what he got. The Serbian fans packed into the Salle Gaston Médecin for the fixture, many of them extending their stay in the Principality after the club’s football side faced AS Monaco the previous night.

However, the Roca Team managed to dampen their spirits on a night where the Principality side’s play-off credentials were once again firmly stated. Prior to last night, four of Monaco’s five Euroleague games had taken place away from home, and upon their return to the Principality, the team were welcomed by a huge crowd at the Salle Gaston Médecin, where the novelty of the hall’s reconstruction is yet to wear off.

In front of some of the Principality’s football heroes, including Thursday’s hat-trick hero Kevin Volland, the Roca Team got off to a solid start in a deafening atmosphere, John Brown III opening the scoring with an easy two-pointer on the break.

However, Monaco couldn’t break away from Red Star, who roared on by their fans found sufficient accuracy from outside the key to deal Obradovic’s side regular blows.

Monaco found themselves up against a stern collective defence, but this year, Monaco have a rich arsenal of attacking firepower to fall back on, and the rotation options off the bench are equally as strong as the starting five.

However, it was once again Mike James (21) who lit up the hall with his range of passing and killer accuracy. “He keeps the team together, sometimes you just have to let him do the things that everyone wants to see,” Obradović told Monaco Life post-match.

His scoring at the death of the second quarter (38-31) allowed Monaco to construct their largest lead in the match up to that point and gave his side breathing room heading into the dressing room.

Red Star hit back at the start of the third quarter, seeing their seven-point lead completely eradicated. The traveling support were carrying their side, and in such moments last season, Monaco may have folded. But not this year. Jordan Loyd (20) helped Monaco re-establish their advantage (51-44) and from that point, Monaco looked largely untroubled. They had broken the back of this tough, resistant Red Star side.

The Roca Team ran out comfortable winners (85-77) and join Fenerbahçe at the top of the table with five wins.

“Red Star are a destructive, tough, and strong team on every possession. It wasn’t easy but we are happy with the win. At the end of the day, we used our awesome individual quality to win the game,” said Obradović.

Due to what Obradović described as “senseless” scheduling, Monaco have a tight turnaround before facing Dijon on Sunday. But given the depth in this Roca Team, Obradović will be able to rotate without breaking the side’s rhythm.


Photo by Monaco Life