Princely Family host annual gift-giving Christmas party for young Monegasques

Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella were as thrilled as the young Monegasques that had been invited to the Palace Courtyard on Wednesday for festive cheer and traditional gift giving by the Princely Family.

Just like the Christmas Village at Port Hercule, the theme of the annual children’s Christmas gift-giving event in the Palace this year was Christmas on Ice, in honour of the centenary of the death of Prince Albert I, the “Explorer Prince”, who had led expeditions to the Arctic, including Spitzbergen.

Upon entering the courtyard on Wednesday 15th, twins Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella were clearly delighted with the way the courtyard had been decorated with penguins, polar bears rain deer and walruses.

The delight on the young prince and princess’ face was evident, along with their parents Prince Albert and Princess Charlene. Photo credit Eric Mathon: Prince’s Palace

Entertainment included a Santa and a mini football ground to mark the current FIFA World Cup.

The eight-year-old twins were joined by their parents Prince Albert and Princess Charlene to distribute gifts to hundreds of little Monegasques, in an annual tradition that began with their parents, Prince Rainier III and Princess Grace.

In total 700 gifts were handed out in a show of festive affection for the young citizens of Monaco and their parents.

Click on the gallery below for more images of the event…

All photos credit: Eric Mathon, Prince’s Palace 



Exclusive interview: the “villain of Broadway” Patrick Page

Monaco Life, in partnership with the Princess Grace Foundation-USA, is proud to present a monthly series highlighting the lives and artistic work of the Princess Grace Foundation-USA’s illustrious Award winners. In this month’s exclusive interview, Princess Grace Foundation-USA’s Director of Programming Diana Kemppainen catches up with Princess Grace Award winner Patrick Page, one of the United States’ top stage actors

Patrick Page is among the country’s best Shakespeare actors. A critic at the Washington Post has called his Lago one of the top five outstanding American performances of Shakespeare in his lifetime. He is known as the “villain of Broadway” for his iconic takes on complicated characters (Scar, The Lion King; Brutus, Julius Caesar; The Grinch, etc.), including originating the Green Goblin in Spiderman: Turn off the Dark and Hades in Hadestown.

Patrick will leave his role as Hades at the end of December after nearly seven years in the role. He stars as Jacob alongside Ryan Reynolds and Will Ferrell in the new Christmas classic, Spirited, and can be seen as Richard Clay in HBO’s The Gilded Age. Patrick will return to Shakespeare as King Lear at the Shakespeare Theater Company in Washington, DC.

You’ve had an illustrious career, working 30+ years, working at Utah Shakespeare Festival and Oregon Shakespeare Festival before coming to Broadway. Let’s start at the beginning: what lead you to become an actor?  

My dad was involved in the theatre; he taught theatr and was always acting and directing. When I was a toddler, we spent three seasons at Oregon Shakespeare Festival. To me, it always looked like more fun up there. That’s the explanation I give, and who knows what genetic, experiential, and environmental factors came into play. All I know is it’s always been who I am, and that desire to create and perform is always there. If I’m not doing it for a living, I’m doing it for fun. It comes from my core and my heart.

You have a one-man show called ‘All the Devils are Here’ enacting Shakespeare’s villains. What draws you to the Bard?

I’m curious about life – why we’re here, why we behave the way we do, and treat each other the way we do, what love is, what evil is. Shakespeare is the person who most deeply engages with those questions. I’m very lucky that Shakespeare was not only a central philosopher and poet in the Western tradition, but he happened to write plays. He would have been important as a philosopher, poet, novelist, etc. but it just so happens he wrote roles for actors. I thought it was a decent way to spend one’s life trying to get good at it so you can share those questions with other people.

Is there a favourite role that you want to go back to and rediscover? 

I’m about to play King Lear in Washington, DC. That play has been a touchstone in my life in many ways. I played him at age 22 in undergraduate, and of course, one does the best they can when they’re young, but now I’m 60, so I’ll have another stab. King Lear was 80, so I’m getting closer. I have a marvellous director, Simon Godwin, who is one of the top Shakespeare directors in the world.

Hamlet is another role I’d like to return to. I’ve played him twice as well as other roles in the play. And the other role that keeps coming up is Macbeth. I’ve played him four times, but I’d like to do him one more while I can.

It’s a good question in the sense of roles to play or return because when you play the great roles, it’s like writing a draft of that moment in your life, and then you live more – you learn, you lose, you fail – and you want to try again. They are life projects for me, and there are a number of roles that I like to return to.

Some you do once, and for whatever reason, your window passes; it’s not that you’ve gotten it all, but for whatever reason, your window passes. For example, I played Coriolanus when I was 50, and I think that’s pushing the outer envelope for when one is physically able to do that role. But hopefully, I’ll direct it or play another role.

It’s also such a difficult role, physically, emotionally.

All of the Shakespeare tremendous mental and emotional challenges, but they are also tremendous physical challenges. They are athletic events – three hours at a stretch, given very few rests and asked to go through the full range of emotions and frequently there is sword fighting and physical challenges. And it is not a movie, so you don’t have a stunt man or a break between scenes. In today’s world, you do it eight times a week. You need to be in the best shape vocally, physically, and emotionally to take it on.  

When you’re in a show, how to do you take care of yourself? 

The show becomes your only priority. It’s one of the reasons I don’t have children; all my energy goes into the preparation and then the performing of a show. I frequently tell young actors that this is a calling, and while it also happens to be a job, don’t expect it to behave like a job. Callings are tough, but it’s also fun. The main mind trick is to take the emphasis off yourself and place it onto the audience who has come so far and paid so much and placed their hope into you for the evening. You get the opportunity to offer them something that they can’t get elsewhere.

You’re leaving Hadestown at the end of the month. It’s a role you’ve been with since the beginning – almost seven years! Talk a little about that journey.

It’s been one of the great experiences of my life to be part of its creation from the beginning. I’ve watched these great artists, Anais Mitchell [writer and lyricist] and Rachel Chavkin [director]. Anais wrote it a decade before, and it was essentially a song cycle and concept album that was turned into a musical. I did four productions of the play, and each was entirely different, but only in the same way that a child is different throughout their life. It has a soul that transcends. I did workshops in 2015 before 1st off-Broadway in spring 2016. It’s been a tremendous experience.

Then there’s all the fun – the Tonys, the Grammys, and being in a hit show. I’ve done 25 Broadway shows, and it’s very different to be in Hadestown than the other shows. I’ve been in shows that people loved, that they came to, all very good shows, but it’s very different to be in a hit where there is a voracious appetite to get to the show, and it’s part of the zeitgeist. It happened a bit with Spiderman, but this is a very special experience, and I’m so proud of it.

What are your feelings as you depart? 

There is a certain element of relief in not having to sustain. Acting is simple in some ways, but it’s never easy to repeat a performance over and over. In performing on stage, what you really get paid for is the ability to make it seem like the first time every night, and there is a sense of exhale when one leaves a long run. It’s bittersweet; I’ll miss the audience, the actors, the band, and my little dressing room in Times Square. In our shutdown, I saw other shows go and come back. I realize that our show is not the norm. The ovation we receive is extraordinary. All of that I will miss, but it’s time to go.

You’ve always been a theatre actor. We’ve started to see you more on-screen – SpiritedThe Gilded Age. What’s drawing you to the screen now?

A lot of it isn’t choice. It’s opportunities that have come to me. I’m really grateful, and it’s wonderful to be learning a new medium at this stage in my life. Acting in many ways is just acting: it’s either the truth, or it’s not. But there are a great number of technical differences: in a play, you rehearse, and you do it from beginning to end, living a character’s journey. In a TV series or film, you might take one scene, and that’s the shoot for the day. You’re repeating it over and over as they change camera angles, etc. So, you’re playing a minute of a role 20-30 times a day as opposed to the character’s journey eight times a week. It’s a very different skill set, and I’m enjoying learning.

What’s next?

King Lear in Washington, DC. I hope to film the third season of The Gilded Age, and I’m excited about the direction my character is going into the second season showing early next year.  

If you could act opposite Princess Grace in any of your work or her work, what is it and why?

She had a quality that was almost spiritual and angelic. Yet she was very, very human. She would be a superb Hermione in The Winter’s Tale, and I want to pay Leontes, so I’ll choose that.

Do you have any final words for the Monaco community.

I’m so grateful for the people who support the Princess Grace Foundation. I want them to know what a difference it makes. When I was a young man, I was given this award, and it was the first time I had been to New York City. The Princess Grace Foundation flew me from Utah to New York; being in New York was the first time I could imagine having a life here, and that was the beginning of the trajectory that brought me here.



Trouble in central Nice following France victory

The final whistle in France’s World Cup victory over Morocco sparked some ugly scenes on Nice’s central axis, Avenue Jean Médecin, with fires breaking out and bins being overturned, as witnessed by Monaco Life.

Like much of France, the residents of Nice took to the streets to express their joy after France beat Morocco 2-0 in Qatar and booked their place in the World Cup final against Argentina. The incessant sounds of beeping horns resonated around the streets long into the night and fireworks and flares were set off on the Cours Saleya in the old town and the city’s central square, Place Masséna.

Whilst many of the celebrations were good-natured, there were clashes on the Avenue Jean Médecin, the central axis of the city, which links the train station to the Mediterranean sea. Shortly after the conclusion of the match at 10pm, a group of youths dressed all in black and wearing balaclavas rushed from Place Masséna up Avenue Jean Médecin. Many of them could be heard chanting “Nissa, Nissa” (Nice, Nice) as they did so.

Once on the Avenue, bins were overturned and fires were lit, one of which was in front of Nice Étoile, the largest shopping centre in the city centre. By 10.30pm, police reinforcements had arrived and protected the firefighters who were dealing with two separate fires.

The crowds dispersed as tear gas, indiscernible from the smoke issuing from flares and fireworks, engulfed the avenue. Full control of the area was regained by the police forces at around 11.30pm, according to Nice-Matin. 

Flares were set alight in Place Masséna


Celebrations in Cours Saleya
Fireworks in central Nice


Photos by Monaco Life

“Shop local this Christmas” encourages new Monaco campaign

Retail trade figures look strong for 2022 and Monaco’s government is keen for the upswing to last into the festive period. Its latest campaign calls on the public to “shop local” and celebrate the boutiques and eateries of their neighbourhood. 

Like in many places around the world, the last few years have been particularly challenging for small businesses here in Monaco. For those who have managed to hold on through the Covid pandemic, the latest financial statistics for the Principality bring some positive news.  

The release of the quarterly economic bulletin by IMSEE, Monaco’s statistical institution, reports a “good economic situation” and the “consensus that almost all aggregates are growing strongly”. Retail trade is up 10.6% on last year and Monegasque residents are being encouraged to continue their support of local businesses into the Christmas period with the “Celebrate Your Neighbourhood” initiative throughout the second-half of December.  

This year, the event will take place across four main areas; the pedestrian streets of the Condamine, the historic alleys of Monaco-Ville, on the new Larvotto esplanade, and the unmissable Boulevard des Moulins.  

Officially launching on Wednesday 14th and continuing until Friday 30th December, there will be something to be enjoyed by all the family, and if you’re lucky, you might also see Santa Claus! He and his magical fairytale friends and musicians will be there to guide you through the streets of the shopping districts from 2.30pm to 6.00pm each day. Santa’s sleigh will alternate between each of the four neighbourhoods, so if you’d like to make sure to see the special display, see below for the dates and timetable:  

Boulevard des Moulins: 14th, 16th and 23rd December 

La Condamine: 15th, 22nd and 27th December 

Monaco-Ville: 17th 28th and 30th December 

Larvotto: 21st, 26th and 29th December 



Photo by Monaco Life

Riviera Radio sale marks new era in 35-year-old station

After 20 years’ ownership under American-based Morris Communications, local station Riviera Radio has been sold to Reg Grundy Media.

The English radio station, with its studios in Monaco, has been broadcasting throughout the south of France for 35 years. Two decades of that has been under the ownership of Morris Communications, a long-running family-owned company in the United States that has incorporated a vast number of print, radio and television media brands throughout the globe.

Riviera Radio Managing Director and shareholder Paul Kavanagh announced the sale in a statement on Thursday, adding that he will maintain his positions within the company.

Reg Grundy Media was formed from the Reg Grundy Organisation, an Australian-based multinational mass media company primarily involved in television as a production company, but also in distribution and licensing. Reg Grundy himself is most commonly associated with long-running hits Neighbours and Wheel of Fortune, but together with his wife and business partner Joy, the pair created and owned more than 160 top rating television series and movies, produced in over 76 countries.

Today, Reg Grundy Media is headed by Joy Chambers-Grundy, who will join the board of Riviera Radio. “We are most honoured and delighted to become part-owners of the unique Riviera Radio, a station I have listened to multiple times in the past. I am excited by this amazing acquisition, just as I know my beloved husband, Reg would be,” said Joy Chambers-Grundy, who has owned and been involved in a variety of media businesses, including more recently the Monaco Streaming Film Festival, which brings international media professionals to Monaco.

“It has been an honour for our family to serve the residents and visitors to your magnificent part of the world,” said William Morris III, Chairman of the Board, Morris Communications Company, in the statement. “We wish the Reg Grundy Media continued success in the operation of this unique property and extend our gratitude to those Riviera Radio employees who assisted our family there for many years.”

Prince Albert inaugurates a revived Cap Fleuri

Prince Albert II has officially opened a refreshed, renewed and thoroughly modernised Cap Fleuri, a residential home in Cap d’Ail that was first inaugurated by his great-grandfather in 1943. 

The official inauguration of the Résidence du Cap Fleuri saw Prince Albert have the honour of cutting the ceremonial red ribbon before a number of high-ranking Monegasque dignitaries from the political and social care spheres.

Built in 1943 as a place of rest and recovery by then-sovereign Prince Louis II, but later developed by Prince Rainier III, the Cap Fleuri Residence in Cap d’Ail had for some time been in need of updating to meet its residents’ needs. Over the last few years, an extensive reform and renovation of the original building has taken place, resulting in a two-stage project to bring the residency up to the requirements of the 21st Century.  

The first stage of the project, Cap Fleuri II, was completed recently in 2022 and consists of an ambitious and innovative design that “puts the elderly person at the heart of the project”, as commented by Dr. Sandrine Louchart de la Chapelle, the head of the clinical geriatrics department at the Centre Hospitalier Princesse Grace (CHPG). The result of this is a home built around the primary objective to respect and support residents’ autonomy to the greatest degree possible.  

This respectful and resident-centred approach has been further complemented by a second aim: to create a centre that, wherever possible, would combine the required medical care with a “modern and warm” residential setting. By removing the need for travel and providing a more seamless service, this innovative approach allows for a much less stressful experience for residents. 

Damien Aimé, Executive Assistant at Cap Fleuri, explained that the residence boasts a wealth of cutting-edge technologies such as fall-detecting floors and top-of-the-range facilities, namely therapeutic baths, physiotherapy rooms, a chapel, a shop and dining rooms in each accommodation unit.  

The completed area of the residence currently has a capacity of 78 beds over four levels. Once the reconstruction of the historic building is complete, the total capacity will increase substantially to cater to 208 residents. 



Photo source: Monaco Communications Department