Influencers gather at AS Monaco for eToro Football on the Rock

Whilst AS Monaco’s players are away on a mid-season training camp in Benidorm, the club’s Performance Centre in La Turbie was nonetheless a hive of activity on Thursday, with influencers occupying the pitches. 

The Principality club orgnaised the first edition of eToro Football on the Rock, seeing content creators and influencers spend a day in the shoes of the professionals.

From training sessions to a visit of the club’s new ultra-modern centre, the stars got an authentic experience. The day culminated in an exciting 7v7 match in La Turbie, attended by Monaco Life. As well as the stars on the pitch, most of whom are well known for their TikTok content, French tennis player Gaël Monfils was present on the sidelines.

Mixed among the content creators were players from the Monaco Academy, who contributed to a free-flowing, exciting game, which was was won by the #ForYou, who beat #LaDiagonale 11-10. Céline Dept was elected as the MVP.

Comedian and journalist Paul de Saint Sernin, one of those invited to participate in the first edition of the event said, “We’re immensely lucky to have changed in the AS Monaco dressing rooms, to have warmed up in the gym, and to play on this magnificent pitch. A huge thanks to the club for having organised this event, because we’re living a kid’s dream.”

Photo by Monaco Life

Prince Albert II to visit Paris for Albert I centenary

Prince Albert II will visit Paris next week to round out the year of centenary celebrations in honour of his namesake, Monaco’s Prince Albert I, the Explorer Prince.

A year of events to mark 100 years since the death of Prince Albert I will conclude on 6th and 7th December with a visit by Prince Albert II to Paris, the birth and death place of his illustrious great-grandfather.

Paris was dear to the Explorer Prince’s heart, and the work started there has lived on in the Principality.

“It was in the French capital that he carried out tireless political, diplomatic and scientific activity, notably through the creation of two foundations: the Oceanographic Institute and the Human Palaeontology Institute,” said the Palais Princier in a recent communiqué.

On 6th December, the Prince will unveil a plaque at 10 Avenue du President Wilson, the Parisian home of Prince Albert I, followed by a tribute at the Trocadero Gardens on Avenue Albert Ier de Monaco, which was named on 22nd January 1932 by the Council of Paris.

In the afternoon, at the Institut de France, a special session of the Academy of Sciences led by Chancellor Xavier Darcos will be dedicated to Prince Albert I and then it will be on to a bust unveiling, donated by Prince Albert II to the Institute, and the presentation of the archives of the Academy of Sciences on Albert I.

The 7th December begins with the Prince touring the Maison Zola-Musée Dreyfus, in Médan in the Yvelines, a nod to Albert I’s support of both Dreyfus and Zola in their times of need.

To round out the day, Érik Orsenna from the French Academy will give a lecture entitled Science at the Service of Humanity: Prince Albert I of Monaco and his work.

It will take place at UNESCO, which is associated with the centenary commemorations. There the Prince will be joined by the director general of USECO, Audrey Azoulay.



Photo source: Palais Princier de Monaco

Prince’s government seeks answers from Monaco Telecom

The state of Monaco’s back-up generators and the fibre optic rollout have been called into question by the government following the worst telecommunications blackout in a quarter of a century.

Monaco’s Minister of State Pierre Dartout and Minister for Equipment Céline Caron-Dagioni were joined by other members of the government at the headquarters of Monaco Telecom on Thursday 1st December.

They were seeking answers from Monaco Telecom Chairman Etienne Franzi and CEO Martin Peronnet about the large-scale outage that took out all mobile, internet and landline services at around 2.45pm on Tuesday.

The cause has been linked to a fault in the power supply of an older generation switch.

“This case should raise questions about the general reliability of the generators that may be in operation in the Principality, at a time when we may be using them more regularly in our electricity supply,” said the Minister of State.

The government also questioned Monaco Telecom on the progress of the Principality’s switch to fibre optic technology for telephony and internet, replacing the outdated copper network.

“At a time when the Principality is accelerating in the deployment of fibre, which is more economical and more reliable, it is clear that 800 individuals, 2,500 small and medium-sized businesses and many government departments are still connected to this older generation, very energy-intensive network,” said the government in a statement.



What caused Monaco Telecom’s worst outage in 25 years?


Photo by Stéphane Danna, Government Communication Department


Widow of helicopter crash victim responds to media “lies”

Olga Taran, widow of Russian billionaire Vyacheslav Taran who died in a tragic helicopter crash near Eze last Friday, has spoken out about what she says are false reports about her husband.

When it hit the news that a helicopter crash had killed co-founder and controlling shareholder of Retail FX and brokerage brands Libertex and Forex Club Vyacheslav Taran, there was almost immediate speculation as to why.

Within hours, some international media started claiming he was a Russian spy, that he was involved in money laundering for Russian elites, and that he was the third crypto millionaire to have died recently in unexpected circumstances.

Taran’s wife, Olga, has now publicly denied these claims made in tabloid publications including the Daily Mail and The Sun, as well as Ukrainian news site, saying she is concerned for the safety of her children.

“It is intolerably painful for me to realise that we will never see him again. But, it is even more difficult to stay silent when someone is spreading lies about my beloved Viacheslav,” said Olga Taran in a public statement published on the website she founded, Hello Monaco.

According to Mrs Taran, her husband had no connections to the Russian government or any political affiliations whatsoever and was just a businessman going about his affairs. She says that he was a humanitarian and had supported many charitable organisations, including one that he founded at the outbreak of the war in Ukraine to help Ukrainian refugees in Montenegro.

“This attack is unfair to Viacheslav who always actively supported Ukrainian people through his charity foundations, especially children who lost their parents,” the mother of three said.

She asks that people “do not tarnish his good name and memory. We still have not received Viacheslav’s body due to the investigation and each day brings unbearable pain.”

No answers one week later

Seven days after the crash, and little is known about the accident, apart from the pilot’s name: Nicolas Geslin. He was working for Monacair when his Airbus H130 helicopter hit a hillside near the Grande Corniche in Eze at around 2pm on Friday 25th November. The pilot, who would have turned 35 on 15th December, had racked up 2,300 flight hours, working previously for Héli Air Monaco, Fly Picturse and Azur Hélico. He lived on the French Riviera with his wife.

The circumstances surrounding the tragedy are being investigated by the air transport gendarmerie in Paris.


Photo above: Vyacheslav and Olga Taran during Christmas in Dubai in 2020, photo sourced from social media. By Stephanie Horsman and Cassandra Tanti



Helicopter crash: local victim named as Vyacheslav Taran

A history and a future: the American Club of the Riviera

For 60 years, the American Club of the Riviera has been a place to call home for the many US – and increasingly international – expats who have moved to the region, but still feel a bond with the country they left behind.

“The American Club of the Riviera was founded in 1962 as a successor to the US Propeller Club, an American association formed in 1927 in Washington to support and promote the American Merchant Marine,” explains Sandra van Essche, the Club’s Secretary to the Board of Governors and Monaco Life’s guide to this fascinating organisation.

From mariners of the 1960s to a modern mix of nationalities

Two years after its first inception, the club decided to formalise its new mission and filed for association status in France in 1964. At the time, the original purposes of the club were published in France’s Journal Officiel as being to “promote intellectual exchanges, the development of traffic and tourism between the Côte d’Azur and other parts of the world.”

In 2022, it remains much the same, but the net has widened to welcome a much more diverse scope of nationalities.

“Just like our country which was built in large part by immigrants thereby creating a multi-cultural diverse society, the American Club membership is also open to all nationalities. We currently have 230 members with over 25 nationalities represented,” explains Sandra, who moved to the region as a 12-year-old before returning to the US for university and a legal career.

“Many of our non-US members worked for American companies, lived in the US at some point in their lives, have family there or have a love for America and its culture,” she continues. “Today the objective of the Club is to cultivate social and cultural relationships among Americans, French, Monegasque and other nationals living on or visiting the French Riviera.”

“One of the most active associations on the Côte d’Azur”

From the mariners of the 1960s to today’s modern make-up of nationalities, the Club is constantly expands its reach and has experienced something of a “revival of interest” in recent years.

Sandra has close family ties with the association as her father, Thierry van Essche, was president between 1977 and 1987. She came back to the club as an adult – having returned to the region to care for her parents – when then-President Burton Gintell “recruited” her.

“In 2008, a current member, Jaber Jallad, took over the reins of [a] club, which had lost its momentum. In 2010, Burton Gintell, who sadly passed away earlier this year, became president. Both Jaber and Burton were nominated president emeritus,” says Sandra. “It is due to the efforts and enthusiasm of both these gentlemen, as well as that of the subsequent presidents and officers, governors and members, that the American Club of the Riviera has become one of the most active associations on the Côte d’Azur.”

Sandra continues, “We are essentially a social club that proposes one event per month – some larger events such as Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July which are attended by up to 150 people – and some smaller cultural, artistic or business events. In the past, we have hosted presentations on tax and investment issues that pertain mostly to US citizens or US taxpayers in general.”

To supplement these more arranged events, this year the Club also decided to launch a series of Happy Hours that rotate between Monaco, Nice and Cannes, and is in the process of setting up monthly Welcome Coffee Mornings in various communities along the Côte d’Azur, such as Antibes, Vence and Nice.

Thanksgiving with Prince Albert II

The American Club of the Riviera recently celebrated Thanksgiving with a luncheon at Monaco’s Hôtel Hermitage, and the group was honoured with the presence of Prince Albert II.

Prince Albert II joined the American Club of the Riviera (Sandra van Essche is pictured far left) for its annual Thanksgiving event in late November 2022

“We appreciate how busy he is, but he shared with us that he remains very attached to his US origins and his American family and friends, and that he looked forward to sharing the day with us to celebrate this special anniversary year.”

The theme of diversity was chosen for its 60th anniversary and it has been enjoyed by members throughout 2022.

“One of our largest events this year was a joint effort with the Communauté Hellénique de Monaco, who are celebrating their 70th anniversary,” says Sandra. “It was a Greek-American Odyssey Gala Dinner on May 8th at the Monaco Yacht Club, with 300 people attending. Several dignitaries attended, including Prince Albert II.”

In October, the American Club decided to add a Riviera Oktoberfest to its schedule, much to the delight of its German members.

The next event will be on Saturday 10th December in the Var. It is a joint event, a collaboration between the American Club of the Riviera and the Anglo-American Group of Provence, to celebrate Christmas with good food and live music at the Golf Club de Barbaroux in Brignoles.

“There will be a tombola to raise funds for the Lions Club International Charity (for children with leukaemia and cancer),” adds Sandra.

In addition to the gala dinner dance, the organisations have also arranged for a number of daytime events, from golfing to spa treatments, a wine tasting and even go-karting. Tickets are still available, although space is limited.

What does the future hold for this 60-year-old association?

“The American Club’s goals rest on the foundation of shared values, including friendship, hospitality and civility in all interactions,” says Sandra. “The American Club strives to further promote goodwill, understanding, mutual respect and cooperation between the citizens of the US, France and Monaco.”

For further information about the American Club of the Riviera, and to reserve tickets for the upcoming Gala Dinner Dance in December, visit the website by clicking here.



Photo source: Ben Mater for Unsplash


Roca Team defeat old nemesis at the Astroballe

AS Monaco Basketball’s late surge against Lyon-Villeurbanne on Thursday earned them a crucial Euroleague victory (75-84) and exacted revenge on the team that agonisingly defeated them in the Betclic Elite final last year. 

Just like last season’s Betclic final, there was very little separating the two sides on the night. Neither side managed to make the break in the opening three-quarters, which all incredibly ended with the two sides tied (20-20, 45-45, 60-60). However, Sasa Obradovic’s men took the ascendency in the final quarter, with John Brown pivotal in sinking their old nemesis.

Elie Okobo was making his return to the Astroballe having moved from Lyon to Monaco in the summer, but it was a familiar face from last season that provided the visitors with the attacking thrust. Mike James (17 points) was once again crucial for the Roca Team, whilst Okobo fulfilled his playmaking role (five assists).

However, these efforts didn’t bear fruit in the opening 30 minutes of the game, with domestic and European rivals Lyon keeping the pace. James didn’t enter the court at any point in the final 10 minutes of the encounter, but that didn’t matter. Unlike last season, there is a strength in depth in this Monaco team, and it was Brown who stepped up on the night, dealing crucial blows to Lyon, just when they were looking to get back into the match.

Whilst he was key to the Roca Team’s victory, his night ended on a sour note after he was forced to leave the court on a stretcher following a heavy impact. By the time he had departed, with just one minute to go, the damage was already done, the nine-point margin attained, and the victory secured.

Monaco are currently third in the Euroleague and look to have overcome the blip that saw them lose four games in five.

“It’s an important victory for us with the many matches that await us in December. It’s a mad rhythm that we’re faced with. We need to approach all the matches with the same mentality, whether it be in the championship or in the Euroleague,” said Jordan Loyd post-match.

Roca Team back it up in the Betclic

Monaco ensured a fourth victory in a row against Blois in the Betclic Elite on Sunday (88-70). The win keeps Obradovic’s men second in the domestic division, and on the heels of leaders Boulogne-Levallois.


Photo by AS Monaco Basket