World Rugby Awards nominees revealed

The nominees for the World Rugby Awards 2022, set to take place at the Salle des Étoiles in Monaco on Sunday 20th November, have been revealed. 

The ceremony will be the first to be held in person since the Coronavirus pandemic. The 22nd edition of the awards will once again allow stars from 15s and 7s to gather in Monaco in a ceremony under the High Patronage of HSH Princess Charlene of Monaco.

Amongst the nominees are world-famous names of the sport such as Jonny Sexton, Lukhanyo Am, Antoine Dupont and Josh van der Flier (all nominated for Men’s 15s Player of the Year). After France’s Six Nations Grand Slam success in the spring, their coach Fabien Galthié has been nominated for Coach of the Year.

The nominees for the nine different categories have been chosen by a star-studded panel, with the winners announced on Sunday via World Rugby’s social media channels (@WorldRugby). Fans can also have their say on social media by voting for the two International Rugby Players’ Men’s and Women’s Try of the year. The vote closes on Thursday 17th November at 23:59 (GMT).

“The World Rugby Awards are the ultimate accolades for rugby, and we are delighted to honour our outstanding players and individuals who have made an impact on our game on and off the field in 2022,” said World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont. “On behalf of World Rugby, I would like to congratulate all nominees of this 22nd edition for their incredible achievements over the past calendar year. Not only have they showcased tremendous rugby skills, but they gave also inspired millions of fans around the world, helping spread the values of our sport.”


Photo source: World Rugby Awards

Friday night drone show dedicated to Prince Albert I

Drones will light up the night sky on Friday as festivities kick off for Monaco’s National Day on Saturday 19th November. 

Last year’s drone show was such a hit that the Monaco Mairie have decided to bring it back again this year. At 8pm on Friday evening, 200 drones will take to the skies above the Prince’s Palace for a 12 minute show, dedicated entirely to Prince Albert I and marking the centenary of his death.

Music teacher and musician Bruno Abel has created the music specifically for the drone show, which has been choreographed by local company MC-Clic. It will trace Prince Albert I’s explorations to Antarctica but also reflect on a visionary man of science and peace.

A public sound system will be set up at the fair on Port Hercule so the public can enjoy the show.

Photo of Casino Square by Monaco Life

Municipal teams have been hard at work since 2nd November installing Monegasque flags and banners throughout the Principality for 19th November celebrations.

Close to 1,500 flags and banners have been set up across the Principality. All of the decorations will remain in place until 5th December 2022.

This year is set to mark the first “normal” National Day in Monaco for a number of years, with the Covid pandemic and Princess Charlene’s illness reducing festivities since 2020.



Twins send love to Princess Charlene on National Day



Photo above by Monaco Life



Video: Glamour set to return to the rails with restored Orient Express

The world’s most well-known luxury train service, the famed Orient Express, is making a comeback in 2024, mixing old school glamour with modern conveniences aboard the original carriages. Here’s a taster of what passengers can expect.

The Orient Express conjures up images of another era: opulently dressed ladies, civilised table service meals and perhaps, for Agatha Christie fans, stories of murder, although even that was an extremely high-class one.

The first Orient Express voyage was a trip between Paris and Istanbul in 1883. It was the height of luxury travel, and a wonderful way to make a journey by anyone’s standards. But as a taste for fast and cheap travel grew, long train journeys like the Express fell out of fashion, with the service finally ending in 2007.

Fast forward a decade and the French hospitality group Accor announced they would be taking a 50% stake in the brand and planned to restore the service, previously known as the Nostalgie-Istanbul-Orient-Express, to its former glory.

A luxurious bathroom aboard the restored Orient Express

The first photos, unveiled in late October at the Orient Express Revelation exhibition in Paris, have revealed a décor that is a sublime blend of Art Deco and contemporary, with no detail overlooked.

A legend saved from the scrap heap

Modern art adorns the walls of cabins, which have been optimised to ensure maximum comfort, and there are call buttons for champagne on the bar car’s tables along with Lalique lamps and Morrison & Nelson marquetry. Many of these original features were found almost entirely intact when the train was saved from the scrap heap in 2015 by industrial history researcher Arthur Mettetal, who tracked the carriages down to a station on the Belarus-Poland border.

The old and new combination was no haphazard accident, as Sébastien Bazin, the chairman and CEO of Accor, explained to Condé Nast Traveller.

“The Orient Express is a legend that has lived on through stories, journeys and years,” said Bazin. “The nature of that legacy means that the rebirth of the brand must resonate with both its history and the present day to create something timeless.”

“The definition of luxury”

To take the project from idea to actual concept, French architect Maxime d’Angeac, known for his collaborations with several French fashion houses, was given the job of balancing the two worlds of old and new to make something truly unique.

“I had to respect two key elements in this formidable project,” he said, “extending the spirit of innovation that characterised the original train and reinventing the concept of comfort and luxury for the 21st century.”

To achieve this, d’Angeac is using some of the original elements of the first Orient Express, like the rail motif tapestry that was pioneered by Suzanne Lalique in the 1930s, which he incorporated throughout the train, as well as dark wood panelling and leather partitions. He has merged these with bright colours on the furniture to give a modern twist.

In the YouTube video above, which was put out to give excited future passengers a taste of what it will be like, d’Angeac explains his philosophy: “We are not here to be bling-bling or to be obvious. We are the definition of luxury.”

Passengers will have to wait until the restored Orient Express is fully completed and the route revealed in 2024 to travel on this legendary train.



Photo credits: Maxime d’Angeac


Princess Charlene Foundation and Monaco Rugby donate big sum for animal protection

Monaco’s Society for the Protection of Animals shelter has received a visit from the Princess Charlene Foundation and the Monegasque Rugby Federation, who jointly presented the association with a generous cheque to help with upkeep and costs.  

As Monaco Life reported earlier this autumn, Princess Charlene recently became the new president of the Monaco Society for the Protection of Animals (SPA), which awaits its new home in Peille at the end of 2023. Meanwhile, the current site in Eze is still operational and taking care of animals looking for forever homes.   

On 12th November, the shelter was treated to a group of visitors who had a nice surprise in store for the four-legged friends residing there: a cheque for 4,000 euros donated by Princess Charlene Foundation and the Monegasque Rugby Federation.  

Secretary General of the Foundation and Princess Charlene’s brother Gareth Wittstock alongside Thierry Danthez, the vice-president of the Monegasque Rugby Federation, met with Marie-Pierre Gramaglia and Isabelle Peters, the co-vice-presidents of Monaco SPA, and Pierre Verdino, the director of Monaco SPA, to make the handover.  

The donation will go toward the daily needs of the shelter, including medical equipment for the regular care of the roughly 30 animals housed there.  



Photo source: Monaco Communications Department

AS Monaco stars jetting off for Qatar World Cup

Following a late call-up for Axel Disasi, who becomes the 72nd AS Monaco player to represent France, six players will trade the Principality for Qatar for this month’s World Cup.

Only two Ligue 1 clubs, Rennes (8) and Paris Saint-Germain (11) will see more players jet off to Doha this week. As well as Disasi, Youssouf Fofana (France), Breel Embolo (Switzerland), Takumi Minamino (Japan), Ïsmail Jakobs (Senegal) and Krépin Diatta (Senegal) will also fly out for the tournament.

France are looking to defend their 2018 title, but have received multiple injury setbacks in recent weeks. Ngolo Kanté and Paul Pogba’s absences in Les Bleus‘ midfield mean that Fofana, who was only capped by France for the first time in September, is likely to recreate last season’s AS Monaco midfield, partnering Aurélien Tchouaméni. Disasi, who has never made a France squad prior to his late call-up, replaces Presnel Kimpembe, who was deemed unfit for the tournament.

Embolo heads into the World Cup in fine form after hitting the ground running since his summer move from Borussia Mönchengladbach, whilst Minamino has the pressure of being a key figure in an ambitious Japan side.

Senegal, the champions of Africa, also go into the World Cup with high expectations, even despite a late injury to Sadio Mané, which still threatens his participation in the tournament. Jakobs is a late addition to the side after only recently switching his international allegiance from Germany to Senegal. Diatta, who missed Senegal’s successful AFCON campaign last winter due to a cruciate ligament injury, will be hoping to make up for lost time.

Two OGC Nice players on their way to the World Cup

Just down the coast at OGC Nice, two of the club’s summer signings, Kasper Schmeichel (Denmark) and Aaron Ramsey (Wales) will also be heading to Qatar this week. The latter will compete against fierce rivals England in the group stages of the tournament.

The World Cup, the first to be held in winter, gets underway on Sunday 20th November with hosts Qatar facing Ecuador. The usual hype around the tournament has been heavily tainted by the controversial choice of host, with Qatar’s human rights record and attitude toward homosexuality making the headlines in global media.

Giving blood: Monaco and France sign vital partnership agreement

For all its technological advancements, Monaco’s health service has one fatal flaw: there just aren’t enough blood donations to meet its transfusion needs. The signing of a new agreement between the Princess Grace Hospital Centre and the French Blood Establishment hopes to change this.

Benoîte Rousseau de Sevelinges, the director of the Centre Hospitalier Princesse Grace (CHPG), and François Toujas, the president of the French Blood Establishment (EFS), signed an important agreement between the two institutions on Tuesday 15th November in the presence of Prince Albert II and representatives from the Monaco government as well as the Monegasque Red Cross and the Principality’s Blood Donor Association.

The signing of the important new agreement between the EFS and the CHPG in the presence of Prince Albert II of Monaco. Photo credit: Monaco Communications Department

The two parties have already been working together for the last 10 years, but the new agreement is set to redefine the cooperation between the EFS and the hospital’s Centre for Blood Transfusion in terms of training, regulatory and scientific monitoring, and the improvement of the CHPG’s blood security management system. It will also help facilitate the exchange of vital donor blood supplies between France and Monaco.

“[The Principality’s donors] currently only provide for 40% of our blood needs in Monaco,” says Rousseau de Sevelinges. “This agreement will allow us to better achieve two important activities in Monaco: the collection of donor blood and the preparation of donor blood bags.”

For all its forward-thinking incentives, such as a “bloodmobile” that can collect donors from their home or place of work and transport them to the CHPG to give blood (and take them back again), Monaco is facing something of a donor blood crisis.

“Although 20% of donors are new to the system each year, overall we’ve lost 30% of donors in the last five years,” continues Rousseau de Sevelinges. “Giving blood is a tradition we’re losing. Many of our regular donors are reaching the age limit for giving blood: 70 years of age. The challenge now is to find new donors and to retain them so that they come back [to give blood again].”

A call for donors: how to give blood in Monaco

Blood donation is possible three days a week at the CHPG, but donors must call ahead to reserve an appointment: Tuesdays from 8am to 2pm, Wednesdays from 10am to 3pm and Thursdays from 8am to 2pm. The number to call for a rendezvous is +377 97 98 97 42.

Donors must be within the 18 to 70 years of age range, and weigh over 50 kilograms. Men can give blood up to six times a year and women four times a year; a break of eight weeks is required between donations. The rules for the donation of platelets and plasma vary slightly, but full information can be found here.

It is important to note that anyone who has previously received a blood transfusion or organ transplant cannot give blood. Neither can those who spent over a year living in the UK between 1980 and 1996. Those suffering from cancer or cardio-vascular issues, or who have had a stroke, are also ruled out. Other short-term medical contraindications may apply. For the further information, please click here.



Photo source: Nguy n’Hi for Unsplash