Clean sweep for AS Monaco’s World Cup stars

All of AS Monaco’s six World Cup internationals made it through to the knockout stages of the tournament in Qatar, as Breel Embolo once again proved decisive for Switzerland.

Takumi Minamino’s progression with Japan was perhaps the most dramatic. The Monaco forward didn’t feature in the side’s crucial third group game against Spain; Japan did nonetheless progress. Few would have given them a chance heading into the match, with Spain coming into the game off the back of a draw against Germany and a 7-0 win against Costa Rica. However, after going behind, Japan produced a stunning second-half comeback to progress to the knockout stages.

Breel Embolo was also part of a dramatic group stage progression with Switzerland. The striker scored an emotional goal against his country of birth in the opening game of the tournament and was once again on the scoresheet on Friday. The former Borussia Mönchengladbach striker dragged his side back into the game against Serbia before his side went on to claim a stunning and tense 3-2 win. Switzerland will face Portugal in the round of 16.

Monaco’s Lions of Teranga both progressed. The Senegalese duo of Ismaïl Jakobs and Krépin Diatta secured qualification for their side. Whilst Diatta didn’t feature in the decider against Ecuador, Jakobs was on from the start. The former FC Köln left-back has struggled for game time at Monaco due to being in direct competition with Caio Henrique, but he has been one of Senegal’s most impressive and consistent performers at this tournament. His change of international allegiance from Germany to Senegal was only completed hours before the beginning of the World Cup, but he has quickly cemented his place in Aliou Cissé’s side. Senegal next face England in the round of 16.

Finally, Axel Disasi and Youssouf Fofana both started for France in their final group game against Tunisia. For the former, it was a Les Bleus debut, and whilst it will be a moment that lives in the memory of the former Reims centre-back, it won’t necessarily be remembered for what happened on the pitch.

Didier Deschamps’ heavily rotated side suffered a shock defeat to Tunisia, but that wasn’t enough to deny them top spot. They will face Poland in the next round.

Princess Charlene and twins launch Christmas festivities in Monaco

Princess Charlene, Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella have kicked off Christmas festivities in Monaco, turning on the lights in Casino Square and launching the Christmas village at Port Hercule.

The Princess was joined by Charlotte Casiraghi, the daughter of Princess Caroline, while her husband Prince Albert was in Dusseldorf, being presented the German Environmental Prize at the German Sustainability Awards.

The Princely Family inaugurated the Christmas celebrations in Monte-Carlo, alongside SBM CEO Jean-Luc Biamonti and SBM Director Stéphane Valéri, which include a new roller rink, seasonal treats in the Chalet de Café de Paris, and regular visits by Santa Claus.

SBM’s ‘Like a Child’ holiday programme runs until 8th January. For more information, click here.

The Princely Family inaugurated the Monaco Christmas Village at Port Hercule alongside Monegasque dignitaries. Photo source: Mairie de Monaco

Meanwhile, Princess Charlene, the twins and Charlotte Casiraghi officially opened Monaco’s Christmas Village, which this year is themed around the “Explorer Prince”, Prince Albert I, in a tribute to the centenary of his death.

The village therefore features several animated scenes from the Arctic, including a walrus, polar bear and penguins, as well as festive favourites such as big wheel, 21 food stalls, 21 gift chalets, and an eight-metre-high Christmas tree.

The Christmas in Spitzbergen is open until 2nd January.


Monaco’s Christmas Village pays homage to Prince Albert I


Photo above courtesy Monte-Carlo SBM


Monaco to host start of final stage of Tour de France

In the presence of one of the biggest names in cycling, Thor Hushovd, Prince Albert II has announced that the final stage of the Tour de France 2024 will start in Monaco for a climatic showdown to Nice.

Alongside Tour Director Christian Prudhomme, Monaco’s Head of State made the announcement at the Yacht Club of Monaco on Saturday 3rd December, two days after it was revealed that the Tour de France will end in Nice in 2024.

It will be the first time the ending has been hosted elsewhere than Paris since 1905 due to the Olympic Games which will take place in the capital that summer.

“Paris is not easily replaced, we needed prestige to finish this event,” said Christian Prudhomme. “We could not have dreamed of better with this test of truth between the Principality and Nice.”

The last stage of the Tour de France 2024, an individual time trial, will leave from Monaco to reach Nice and while the exact route is unknown, it should encompass around 35km in total, with some elevation on the program.

The Tour de France has not visited the Principality since the 2009 Grand Départ.


Photo source: Prince’s Palace

Serious threat of power outages in France this winter

France is preparing for electrical blackouts this winter. Recent weeks have seen a series of interministerial crisis meetings, with Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne warning that power outages are a real possibility in the weeks to come, something that will threaten many aspects of daily life. 

While there is no immediate threat in the month of December, early 2023 is a different matter. Some of those privy to the crisis meetings held by the French government are reported to have told members of the French press that it is “impossible to predict” what might happen from January.  

It is an extreme scenario, but one that is being taken very seriously at the highest levels of government. The current solution is rolling two-hour blackouts, in which sections of the country will be deprived of power to help ease pressure on the central grid.  

Since mid-November, the Réseau de Transport d’Électricité, which manages France’s 100,000km-long high voltage system, has voiced concerns of a power shortage from January due to four main issues: tensions on the energy market caused by the Covid recovery and ongoing war in Ukraine; the ecological transition from old power sources of oil and coal to less-polluting options has led to increased gas and nuclear demand; the slow take-up of renewable energy resources; and the deficit of nuclear-produced electricity, with 30 out of France’s 56 sites currently out of service.  

Ecowatt: public advised to sign up to forecasting service

The public is being encouraged to familiarise itself with the Ecowatt website, a form of electricity forecasting that identifies peaks in usage as well as alerting the public as to when to expect a temporary blackout.  

If it comes to this, France can expect brief cuts to the system during high consumption periods, such as 8am to 1pm and 6pm to 8pm, which could have major implications on daily life, from school closures to a breakdown of train services, not to mention the effects it will have on business and trade. 

Cuts over the weekend are not authorised and it is highly unlikely that any will be made after 8pm, unless there are “exceptional circumstances”.  

Should the need to cut access materialise, an alert will be put out the day before by 7.30pm. Area-specific maps are to be released by 9.30pm. Ecowatt will be the primary source of information, and as such, the public is encouraged to sign up to the service.  

The RTE has moved to reassure the public about these blackouts, emphasising their temporary nature and insisting that a total loss of control over the electrical system is not on the cards. Priority sites, from hospitals to defence sites, will be spared from any temporary blackout.  

Mobile networks not considered “priority”

“Unfortunately, telecom networks are not considered priority sites,” Orange CEO Christel Heydemann has told the French press. “There could be situations where the lights work in an apartment, but the mobile [networks] do not work because the tower is in an area which is itself offloaded.” 

This is potentially problematic as people have become reliant on mobile phones as the primary way to contact emergency services, for example, a subject which Orange and the Telecom Federation have been alerting the government to since the beginning of 2022. 

For more information on the Ecowatt warning site, please click here.  



Photo source: Anne Nygård for Unsplash