Heartbreak for Rosberg X Racing as they miss out on Extreme E title

A disastrous ‘Crazy Race’ at the Extreme E season finale in Uruguay saw Rosberg X Racing (RXR) miss out on the final, with X44 Vida Carbon Racing clinching the title.

Saturday’s ‘Crazy Race’ lived up to its name. From lights out, RXR were right in the thick of the action. Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky made three separate contacts in just two turns on the opening lap, sustaining damage in the process.

Although she managed to limp back to the pits for repairs and a driver changeover, the team was ultimately disqualified due to an infringement of the rules with too many mechanics working in the repair zone at any one time.

Consequently, X44 Vida Carbon Racing qualified with ease for Sunday’s Uruguay Natural Energy X Prix with the title up for grabs. But Lewis Hamilton’s team didn’t get off to a good start. Sébastien Loeb failed to make progress and was bogged down in fourth place.

However, in the second phase of the race, Genesys Andretti United, in third position at the time, picked up a seven-second time penalty. That meant that X44 only needed to finish within seven seconds to secure the bottom step on the podium, but more importantly the title, beating RXR by just two points.

In a social media post, RXR reacted to the loss: “A devastating end to our Championship dreams, but second place is still something to be proud of… We will be back!”

Extreme E will return for a third season in 2023 with a series of new locations making the calendar. The grid will travel to Saudi Arabia in March, before racing in Scotland, and Sardinia. There will also be a race in Brazil or the USA in September and a season final in Chile next December is TBC.


Photo by Sam Bloxham

Helicopter crash: local victim named as Vyacheslav Taran

While authorities are yet to formally release the identities of the two victims in Friday’s shocking helicopter crash near Eze, the passenger has been named locally as Monaco resident Vyacheslav Taran.

Originally from Russia, Vyacheslav Taran settled in Monaco around 10 years ago and was a fintech entrepreneur and co-founder of the trading and investment platform Libertex.

He was the husband of Hello Monaco Founder Olga Taran and a father of three children.

“It is with great sadness that Libertex Group confirms the death of its co-founder and Chairman of Board of Directors, Vyacheslav Taran, after a helicopter crash that took place en route to Monaco on Friday, 25 November 2022,” said the company in a statement. “The Board of Directors of Libertex Group and company employees extend their most heartfelt condolences and sympathy to the Taran family.”

Vyacheslav Taran, aged 53, was the sole passenger travelling in a Monacair helicopter from Lausanne in Switzerland to Monaco when it crashed into a hillside near Eze village at around 2pm. The pilot, aged in his 30s, also died instantly.

“A well-known and highly respected businessman, described as kind-hearted, polite and humble by everyone who was fortunate enough to know him, Taran was a true visionary,” continued Libertex in its statement. “Taran was also devoted to giving back to the community and always rushed to help those in need, particularly children. He co-founded Change One Life, a charitable foundation helping children from orphanages and child-care institutions to find families and live fulfilling lives. To this day, Change One Life has helped more than 30,000 orphaned children. Vyacheslav Taran will be missed more than words can express, and everyone at Libertex will eternally be grateful for what he has accomplished.”

An investigation has been launched into the crash, as agents from Airbus, manufacturer of the H130 helicopter, also work to determine the cause.



End of an era: Stars ‘n’ Bars to close at 30-year mark

One of Monaco’s most iconic restaurants, Stars ‘n’ Bars, is closing after 30 years. But while the city’s first family-friendly restaurant and international sports bar will be no more, there is another exciting project in the works. Owner Didier Rubiolo tells us more.

The news broke publicly on Monday 28th November with a sign on the landmark star telling patrons that these will be the last two months of the bar and restaurant as we know it.

“I have been very, very happy with Stars ‘n’ Bars,” Co-Founder Didier Rubiolo told Monaco Life before the announcement. “It has been an honour to serve millions of guests from all over the world and we especially want to thank the Monaco community for its amazing support.”

The restaurant-bar will close in January 2023, exactly three decades after it was opened by Didier Rubiolo and Kate Powers, who sadly passed away in 2021. The pair had recognised in the early 90s that, despite Monaco’s jet set image, there was a real community of working mothers and fathers here who wanted somewhere fun and reasonably priced to eat with their kids.

Didier Rubolio and Kate Powers on the opening day of Stars ‘n’ Bars in 1993, photo provided

Overlooking luxury yachts on Port Hercule, and right next to the team paddock of the famous Monaco Grand Prix, Stars ‘n’ Bars was also a big drawcard for the many celebrities that frequented the Principality.

“I remember, Chuck Berry came the first night we opened. After one and a half months, Prince came and did two concerts here, one private and one public. I was thinking, ‘Wow, this is amazing’,” says Didier, smiling. “One night, Stevie Wonder came with his musicians and team after playing at the Sporting. He said to Kate, ‘If you give my team American food, I will play for you tonight.’ So, we fed them, and he played for one hour. That happened so often here.”

The memories are clearly more than Didier can articulate. He remembers the time that Sean Penn came in to eat with a friend and was barely recognised by anyone until he got up to leave; when Celine Dion dropped in to say hi; and how Claudia Schiffer would come for brunch on the terrace when she used to live in Monaco.

Inside Stars ‘n’ Bars today, with all its memorabilia. Photo by Monaco Life

Many of these moments were captured on camera and adorn the walls of the huge three-story establishment. They sit alongside an enormous array of sporting memorabilia – an actual F1 racing car donated by two-time world champion Mika Hakkinen, jerseys from Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan, footballs and uniforms signed by Pele and SuperBowl pros, as well as rackets, balls and photos given by Nadal, Federer and McEnroe. Prince Albert II of Monaco himself donated the first sporting memorabilia to Didier and Kate, the bobsleigh he raced in at the Winter Olympics.

It will all be auctioned off, save for a few, and Didier now has the difficult task of documenting everything for sale.

Two-time world champion Mika Hakkinen’s F1 car hangs on a wall in Stars ‘n’ Bars. Photo by Monaco Life

But Stars ‘n’ Bars has been more than a magnet for celebrities and hungry families. It has been a pioneer in the sustainable development goals of the Principality. It was the first in Monaco to say no to plastic straws, bottled water and non-biodegradable containers. 100% of the electricity comes from renewable energy sources, and they even have their own fleet of electric vehicles.

Their menu offers eco-friendly dishes with primarily organic, local ingredients and vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options as well as organic meat and sustainable fish.

Kate and Didier also joined other eco-conscious activists in Monaco to create Monacology, an annual week-long educational experience to help school children learn how to respect their planet.

“We all need to accept that climate change threatens the planet and our children’s lives. Kate and I decided that we wanted to raise conscientiousness about that threat and help the community find solutions,” says Didier. “It will be sad to say goodbye to Stars ‘n’ Bars after 30 years, but it’s time to create something even more special.  We will be releasing details of a new project soon and we can’t wait to take the next step!”

Prince Albert with Kate Powers and government minister Marie Pierre-Gramaglia at the inauguration of the 14th edition of Monacology 2018, photo credit: Manuel Vitali, Communication Department

Without divulging too much information, Didier reveals that the new restaurant will have a very strong eco-friendly emphasis, and will look very different to how it does now.

In the meantime, the restaurant plans to celebrate its 30 years of service by organising special animations over the next two months, including reintroducing popular “nostalgia” dishes from the past that are no longer on the current menu.

The Stars ‘n’ Bars team will also share videos and flashback images from unforgettable events over the last three decades on its social media sites, including Halloween, the 4th of July, Monaco Grand Prix, a concert by Prince and surprise visits by international celebrities.

Photo opportunities will be staged for visitors who want to be immortalised as part of the famous restaurant décor and atmosphere before it disappears forever in January.

In addition, customers will be invited to post their favorite SNB memories, which will serve to create a permanent “living history” of Stars ‘n’ Bars on the internet.

Click on the gallery below for some Stars ‘n’ Bars highlights throughout the decades…


Photo above: Didier Rubiolo, Co-Founder of Stars ‘n’ Bars, by Monaco Life. Gallery photos provided. 




Prince Albert II honours scientific talent at FPA2 awards

The focus was firmly on science at the annual Planetary Health Awards Ceremony in Monaco on Friday, as the Prince Albert II Foundation celebrated the work and achievements of three international names.

Hosted on Friday 25th November at the Monte-Carlo Opera, Prince Albert II opened the ceremony with an inspiring address that reflected the unique challenges of 2022.

“At a time when our planet is once again experiencing open conflicts that tend to push environmental issues aside, there has never been a better time to give a voice to those who seek to protect it,” said Prince Albert II.

He also emphasised that while the awards commend its laureates for their individual work, they also “reward the paths they have chosen”. He singled out three key areas – “politics and collective action, science and research, industry and innovation” – and reminded his talented audience of the need to “constantly mobilise” in order to progress.

A new format for the awards

Speaking at a press conference ahead of the event, Olivier Wenden, CEO of the FPA2, explained how the organisation has “redesigned” its awards to better reflect the work and beliefs of the foundation through three distinct categories.

“First and foremost is science” said Wenden. “This is the way the foundation works. We believe that scientific data [and] scientific messages are central in all the decision processes that must be taken in the public and the private sector. Second, to give voice to real ambassadors and activists in any environmental aspects. The third aspect: every year we want to give an award to a company. We tend not to consider start-ups, but companies that have proven results that benefit the environment, be that marine ecosystems or on land biodiversity. This is the new scope of our Planetary Health Awards.”

From left to right: President of AGRA Doctor Agnes Kalibata, ECOncrete Tech CEO Ido Sella, and Professor Dame Jane Francis, director of the British Antarctic Survey. Photo by Monaco Life

The 2022 laureates

Doctor Agnes Kalibata is a former minister of agriculture and animal resources in Rwanda and now the president of AGRA. Most recently, she has been “leading efforts to ensure Africa’s food security and prosperity through inclusive and sustainable agricultural growth to secure the livelihoods of millions of smallholders”.

Kalibata used her moment in the spotlight to impress upon the audience the importance of AGRA’s work as a whole.

“We are not on track to achieve [the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal of] Zero Hunger by 2030,” she said. “This is made more difficult by climate change, the challenge of our time. Agriculture is a major part of the climate problem. It currently generates 19–29% of total greenhouse gas emissions. Without action, that percentage could rise substantially. I am honoured to receive this award today, but it is not just for me. It is also an award acknowledging that we must continue our push to support African smallholder farmers.”

The second award winner was Professor Dame Jane Francis, the director of the British Antarctic Survey. She is also deeply involved in international polar organisations, such as the Antarctic Treaty and the European Polar Council, and serves on the advisory boards of several national polar programmes.

“It is a great honour to receive this award and I do so on behalf of all the excellent scientists who work with me at the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge and many colleagues around the world who are dedicated to understanding the changes happening to the polar regions,” said the professor. “I am sure that we are all aware that the polar regions are changing fast. What happens in these regions affects us all, even as we sit here today. As the ice sheets melt the sea level is rising across the planet, affecting billions of people who live near the coasts, affecting cities and business supply chains.”

The final award went to ECOncrete Tech, an interdisciplinary scientific company represented by CEO Ido Sella.

“With the majority of human population residing along coastlines, and the intensive process of coastal armouring due to increased storminess and prediction to sea level rise, an increased focus should be given to the neutral marine resources that are supporting precious ecosystem services,” said Sella as he accepted the award. “Today, as we work with cities, governments, industries and communities to change the way future waterfronts will look and function, and make marine life thrive where it couldn’t before, we are more committed than ever to this quest.”

The Church Forests of Ethiopia: a private screening

The screening of a short documentary film, The Church Forests of Ethiopia, followed the awards. It was produced by WaterBear, an environmentally-focused streaming platform. Its founder, Ellen Windemuth, joined the FPA2’s 2022 laureates for a roundtable discussion on the “environmental upheavals we are facing today and on the means we have to respond to them”, which was moderated by France 24 journalist Mairead Dundas and concluded the 2022 ceremony.


Photo above: HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco with from left to right Prof Dame Jane Francis, Dr Ido Sella and Dr Agnes Kalibat. Credit: JC Vinaj for FPA2


Condamine Market hosts Corsica

Head to the popular Condamine Market this coming Saturday for a day celebrating the best of Corsican cuisine and culture. 

From 8am on Saturday 3rd December, the Condamine Market at the foot of Le Rocher will be dedicating a whole day to products – from cheese and olive oil to specialist meats and wine – from the Ile de Beauté.  

Musical performances and activities for the whole family will accompany a menu of tastings and gourmet treats.  

Entry is free.  



Photo source: Erik Dungan for Unsplash

Photos: Gilbert wins in final pro race at Beking

Philippe Gilbert’s glittering professional cycling career ended in fairytale fashion on the streets of Monte-Carlo, as he won the second edition of Beking on Sunday amidst a fun family atmosphere. 

A career spanning 19 years, which has included winning titles such as the UCI World Tour and classic races such as the Paris-Roubaix, came to an end on Sunday, but was marked with one more final triumph.

Having won the team time trial in the morning, Belgian cyclist Gilbert then won the headline event, the criterium, in the afternoon after making the break on the final lap of 40 around the iconic streets of Monte-Carlo.

“I’m really happy to have won the two events today. The team time-trial this morning by one second and then this afternoon with all the pros. It was a different win because, with the quality of the riders that we have in Monaco, it’s not easy,” said Gilbert.

As a Monaco resident, it was the perfect place to write the final chapter of Gilbert’s professional career.

“It’s nice to end my career like this. I’ve been living in Monaco for 13 years now, so finishing here is really nice,” he said.

Whilst the Beking event adds an element of competition to the off-season, its raison d’être is to inspire the next generation of cyclists and hundreds participated in the children’s race, with many of the professionals own children taking part.

“It’s a special event in that I can bring my wife and kids along and it’s an event that is entirely built around bikes and kids,” INEOS cyclist Luke Rowe told Monaco Life. “That’s great. We’re doing more and more in bringing bikes and safety to Monaco. Onwards and upwards!”

For the professionals, it is also an opportunity to ascertain their level ahead of the beginning of the season.

“In the middle of the winter, it’s nice to be able to test your legs and see exactly where you’re at with an important year coming up and just to gauge your form. The line-up is incredible. It really is the crème de la crème of professional cycling at the moment,” added Rowe.

Indeed the vast majority of the cyclists are from the local area, with the Principality acting as a hub for the elite of the sport. Monaco’s Victor Langellotti spoke about what makes the area so attractive to his fellow professionals.

“It’s a paradise for cyclists. The weather, the training ground is excellent, there are ascents, there is the flat. There is everything you need in order to train well,” he told Monaco Life.

Despite the Côte d’Azur’s overwhelming popularity with cyclists, the sport has yet to flourish in the area, a fact that Beking is attempting to rectify.

“It’s a nice project. For the second edition, it’s better,” said Gilbert. “I’m sure every year it will have more success and I hope to come back in 10 years and there will be 1000s of people. Cycling is not famous here in the south of France so we have to make it famous. We’re on the right path. The dream is to have one of these kids riding today turning professional in 10 or 15 years. That would be the best message.”

It is an event that adds a sprinkle of competition for professionals in the off-season, that raises the profile of the sport on the Côte, and inspires the next generation of riders. The second edition of Beking was a confirmation of the event’s and the sport’s positive trajectory in the Principality.


Photo gallery by Monaco Life.