Monaco schoolchildren given innovative access to Auschwitz

Monaco has lent its support to a virtual Auschwitz tour project via a three-year deal that will give access to this important and immersive experience to thousands of schoolchildren across Europe.

The Principality’s ambassador in Germany, Lorenzo Ravano, has signed a commitment deal with Wojciech Soczewica, the director general of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation. Described as an “innovative educational partnership”, the deal will see the roll-out of the remote tour to nearly one hundred classes of students throughout Europe and Monaco.

“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference,” says Eli Wiesel, an Auschwitz survivor and one of the leading figureheads behind the development of the virtual Auschwitz Memorial site tour, as he summed up the driving motivation behind the development the experience, which was created in response to the forced closure of the museum and subsequent reduction in visitor numbers owing to the recent Covid-19 pandemic.

The pandemic forced the Auschwitz Memorial Museum to close its doors for the first time in 75 years. This unprecedented event prompted the institution and the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation to search for ideas to avoid a repeat of the situation, and fight back against the ever-looming problem of “indifference” to this significant historical event.

The virtual tour experience, which will be entirely free to access, is the culmination of work by marketing analytics firm AppsFlyer and creative agency Diskin who, in partnership with the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum and the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation, began development on the project in 2021.

While further information on a wider roll-out is yet to be released, this latest commitment to learning, signed between Monaco and the Auschwitz Foundation, is a key step to ensuring that Auschwitz, and the memories of those who perished within its walls, will forever be remembered and accessible to everyone across the world.

Belle of the Ball: Princess Charlene dazzles at Bal de Noël

Princess Charlene was guest of honour at Monaco’s annual Bal de Noël on Friday, the glitzy ‘Italia Chic’- themed party raising €120,000 for the Princess Charlene Foundation.  

One of the highlights of Monaco’s Christmas season is the annual Christmas Ball or the Bal de Noël. As always, this year’s event – the 17th in its history – boasted an impressive and star-studded guest list that suited the setting of the Belle Epoque Hall in the iconic Hôtel Hermitage. 

As part of this year’s ‘Italia Chic’ theme, the 216 invited guests were encouraged to bring La Dolce Vita to the party and to “relaunch the festivities and forget the two previous years marked by the pandemic”.  

Founded by Sandrine Knoell-Garbagnati, the formal dinner and show concept featured Italian singers Davide Carbone and Sophia GK, and was followed by a highly-anticipated auction to raise funds for the Princess Charlene Foundation.  

Despite the glamour and fun had by all, the auction is the most important part of the evening. The Sotheby’s-run event offered a variety of generously donated items for sale and the final amount raised at the 2022 edition was €120,000. Over the history of the annual ball, over €700,000 have been collected in support of charities and associations. 


Photo above: Sandrine Knoell, Princess Charlene of Monaco et H.E.M Alaimo Giulio Ambassador of Italy. All photo credits: Eric Mathon/ Palais Princier de Monaco

Economic forecast: 2023 will be a rebalancing act

According to Barclays Private Bank Chief Market Strategist Julien Lafargue, another difficult year looks to be on the cards in 2023, as the global economy and policymakers try to tame multi-decade inflation highs and adjust to a post-pandemic world.  

In this financial outlook for 2023, Barclays Private Bank UK Chief Market Strategist Julien Lafargue gives Monaco Life readers his expert opinion on how a volatile 2023 could play out.

Growth may be tepid next year, but, at least in the United States, any recession should be short and shallow. That said, investment opportunities are popping up, keeping us constructive over the medium term.

The last 12 months have been full of surprises. A war in Ukraine, surging prices, and a sharp slowdown in China have created a broad-based, synchronised slowdown. Heightened geopolitical tensions, coupled with the aggressive tightening of financial conditions, have infringed on activity as business and consumer confidence take more of a knock. Only commodities have posted positive real returns in 2022 at the asset class level, and portfolios made up solely of stocks and bonds have had one of their worst calendar years in a century, according to Bloomberg.

Uncomfortably constructive

Looking ahead, we remain “uncomfortably constructive”. Indeed, we expect the next 12 months to be equally challenging. The prospect of slowing economic growth, if not recession, coupled with stubbornly elevated inflation, highlight the potential costs of central bankers not being able to strike the right balance between too much and not enough rate hikes. At the same time, with debt funding becoming increasingly expensive, governments won’t be able to pick up the stimulus baton as easily to rise to the rescue.

But with lower growth and supportive base effects, inflation should finally come down. The pace of this normalisation process is uncertain; however, it should be somewhat proportional to the deceleration in economic momentum, assuming that geopolitics don’t get in the way. We anticipate that both growth and inflation will moderate, rather than collapse, in 2023.

This backdrop is likely to lead to another particularly volatile year, making it easier for investors to get caught wrong-footed. With little sign that this period of heightened volatility is over, appropriate diversification and a focus on your long-term objectives remain essential.

UK, Europe, US, and China outlooks

After an unforgettable year for UK politics and investors, as the economy dives into recession and the third prime minister of 2022 gets his feet under the desk, the next 12 months could be just as blustery. After being one of the fastest growing top-10 economies in 2022, the country now looks set to contract next year (see table below).

In Europe, it’s been an especially tough year for the eurozone economy. The prospect of energy shortages, a series of strikes leading to soaring wages, and battered consumer confidence means that a recession is more likely than not on the cards next year, with the bloc underperforming its developed world peers.

The region faces a number of economic challenges; however, price stability is the primary objective for policymakers. Inevitably, the cost of taming inflation will lead to a longer and deeper recession. We forecast that the eurozone will shrink by 0.8% in 2023, underperforming most advanced economies, led by Germany and Italy (see chart below).

In the US, the outlook is slightly more encouraging. The US economy is still expected to slow in 2023 before recovering as the year progresses. The pace of any slowdown will be dictated by the strength of the labour market, resilience of consumers, inflation trajectory, and the path of monetary policy.

A big question for economic prospects is how quickly China reduces the restrictions on its zero-Covid policy, helping to recharge economic growth in the country. China’s focus on containing the virus through containment measures, together with a property crisis and slowing demand for its exports, are at the heart of the subdued expansion prospects facing the world’s second-largest economy.

The Chinese economy grew by just 0.4% between April and June (Q2), the worst quarter (excluding the pandemic hit in Q1 of 2020) since data became available in 1992. The economy recovered in Q3, with gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 3.9%, which was still short of its official 5.5% target.

A new era for bonds

In last year’s Outlook 2022, we made the case that investors should be looking beyond investing in just traditional portfolios of stocks and bonds. Our main message now is that it may be time to revisit (and possibly rebalance) their bond exposure.

We continue to see attractive prospects for real assets and private markets, but, given the repricing in fixed income markets, we believe investors should look again at this part of their portfolio in particular. The risk-free rate — which had become the rate-free risk in the last decade — is finally back, and investors may now generate attractive income in public debt markets.

This repricing in rates hasn’t happened in a vacuum, and equity valuations too have sold off. Here, we expect markets to remain choppy until more clarity emerges on earnings in particular. While equities have been the only game in town for several years, this is no longer the case, and bonds are now a credible alternative (or at least complement) in portfolios. Over the medium to long term, we continue to see more upside in stocks than in bonds, but 2023 could be a more mixed year.

Energy transition

Finally, the rupture in energy markets last year has highlighted why countries need to secure access to reliable sources of energy. In this context, we are convinced that the energy transition to a low-carbon world will accelerate in 2023 and beyond, presenting investors with many opportunities.

Beware being too pessimistic

Next year will be another part of the difficult, but necessary, rebalancing act for central banks, governments, financial markets, and investors alike. But, amid all the pessimism, we see more opportunities today than at any point for some time.

The next 12 months may be another uncomfortable time to be invested. However, this is par for the course and part of the journey for long-term investors. After all, for those that can stomach the risk, the rewards can be worth it. Focusing on goals and holding a diversified portfolio are both ways to help shield investors from the unhelpful emotions that volatility can induce.


Photo of Barclays Private Bank UK Chief Market Strategist Julien Lafargue provided



Photos: Prince Albert II remembers his great-grandfather’s commitment to freedom

A commemorative visit to Paris and the Yvelines in memory of Prince Albert I by Monaco’s reigning sovereign, Prince Albert II, included a private tour of the Maison Zola-Musée Dreyfus in Médan in acknowledgement of his great-grandfather’s ardent support of the two prodigious men.  

Prince Albert II spent much of last week touring sites in the French capital that had a close personal connection to his namesake, Prince Albert I (1848-1922), from his former Parisian home on 10 Avenue du President Wilson to the Academy of Sciences.  

The final day of the centenary celebrations of his great-grandfather took place in the Yvelines, to the west of Paris, on Wednesday 7th December. Here, Prince Albert II was cordially welcomed to the département by local dignitaries such as Prefect Jean-Jacques Brot and the mayor of Médan, Karine Kauffmann.  

The ultimate destination of this part of the trip was the Maison Zola-Musée Dreyfus, which was Emile Zola’s home for more than two decades and the place where he wrote some of his greatest works. It also houses a museum exhibit dedicated to the Dreyfus Affair, which rocked France at the highest level towards the end of the 1800s.  

At the fully restored property, Prince Albert II met with Martine Le Blond-Zola, the great-granddaughter of the writer and the vice-president of the Maison Zola-Musée Dreyfus association, as well as Charles Dreyfus, the grandson of Alfred Dreyfus and the association’s vice-president. The scientific director of the museum, Philippe Oriol, and Vincent Duclert, a historian who specialises in the Dreyfus Affair, gave Prince Albert II an in-depth tour and were able to shed new light on the fascinating role his ancestor played in the exoneration of wronged Alfred Dreyfus.  

From the early days of the scandal, Prince Albert showed himself to be an ardent supporter of Dreyfus. His backing extended to Zola, following the latter’s well-known open letter, “J’accuse!”, which called on the upper echelons of the French government to free the unlawfully jailed Dreyfus.  

Prince Albert I was the only contemporary head of state to speak out against Dreyfus’s imprisonment and reached out to Zola after the publishing of the letter, writing, “Your statement contains the most wonderful sentiments that a soul could express. It honours humanity, it adds a ray of light to the glory of France. For all those who admire independence and sincerity in patriotism, you have risen higher than the renown of your talent.” 

To round off the proud and cultural moment, Prince Albert II was treated to a lunch in the billiard room of the historic home.  


Photos credit: Axel Bastello, Palais Princier de Monaco 

A Classic Christmas: free choral concerts in Monaco

For a more traditional Christmas experience, why not attend one of Monaco’s classical concerts? Monaco Life presents free choral events taking place in the Principality this December.

The magic of Christmas is taking over Monaco and the countdown is on for the Big Day. In the lead-up, take a journey across three different locations and celebrate the birth of Christ at four different classical performances, where beautiful choral voices pair with tradition.

This Wednesday 14th December, join the students of the Rainier III Academy at their free Christmas concert held at the Rainier III Auditorium from 8 pm. The concert is free to attend, however guests must register their attendance online via the Monaco Town Hall. To register and for more information, visit the website located here.

For the next performance, we move to the impressive stage set at the Monaco Cathedral. Since 2011, the Department of Cultural Affairs has been organising annual Baroque performances in collaboration with the Diocese of Monaco. Directed by Jean-Sébastien Beauvais and with the promise to take the audience on a “musical journey close to the wonders of Christmas where the figure of the Virgin Mary and the woman intersect”, the Surge Propera! concert by the La Chambre ensemble this Friday 16th December at 8pm will include key musical works by some of the great masters of the Renaissance including Roland de Lassus, Thomas Tallis, William Byrd and Giovanni Pierluigi de Palestine. No prior registration is necessary.

Also taking place at the Cathédrale Notre-Dame-Immaculée de Monaco, but this time on Sunday 28th December at 6pm, our third performance sees the ethereal voices of the Monaco Boys Choir complemented by the talented musicians of the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra. Directed by Peter Szüts and Pierre Debat, the concert promises to deliver nine stunning performances of classical scores composed by masters such as Mozart, Handel, and Bach and performed by some of the most talented artists in Monaco. The Monaco Boys Choir will also be performing at the Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve at the Cathedral. Further details can be found here.



Photo source: Les Petits Chanteurs de Monaco/Facebook

France beat England to reach World Cup semi-final after late Kane penalty miss

Despite dominating for large swathes of the game, it was heartbreak for England, who were beaten 2-1 by France and would rue a late Harry Kane penalty miss.

It was the first knockout meeting in a major tournament between the rival countries, separated by only a thin stretch of water. The game started in a predictably cagey fashion, with Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions adopting Didier Deschamps’ defensive conservatism, which has brought Les Bleus such success in recent years.

Before any side had a clear sight of goal, France took the lead. Dayot Upamecano, perhaps illegally, dispossesed Bukayo Saka deep in the France half and carried the ball up field. With the England defence reseting and retreating, the ball came to former AS Monaco midfielder Aurélien Tchouaméni, who rifled the ball into the bottom corner from outside the box.

England hit back, creating a string of half chances, which Hugo Lloris, in his record-breaking 143rd appearance for France, had the answers to. The Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper and France captain was also equal to a fierce Jude Bellingham drive at the beginning of the second-half, but he was powerless to prevent England’s equaliser with Kane, Lloris’ club teammate powering home from the spot after Tchouaméni had felled Saka in the box.

Temporarily at least, the game opened up, with both sides looking to exploit the spaces in transitional and broken play. The game settled back into a rhythm for the final 20 minutes, and as France began to exert control, they began to create chances.

Olivier Giroud, France’s all-time top-scorer had a headed effort well-saved by Jordan Pickford, but he wasn’t to be denied just seconds later, as he got on the end of an Antoine Griezmann cross to re-establish France’s advantage.

Les Bleus almost squandered their lead again. Théo Hernandez showed a lack of experience when he needlessly bundled over Mason Mount in the box. Kane stepped up to the spot again, but this time blazed over. The crucial chance went begging.

England wouldn’t create any more chances of note, and it was France who will progress to face Morocco in the semi-final on Wednesday.

The victory sparked scenes of celebration across France, including on the Champs-Élysées in Paris, and in Place Masséna in Nice, with large crowds gathering in public spaces and creating DIY firework displays.

It was heartbreak for England, but France now look well-primed to go on and make history by becoming the first team to defend their World Cup title since Brazil in 1962.