Monaco bids final farewell to former Archbishop Bernard Barsi

It was a solemn ceremony at the Cathedral of Monaco on Wednesday morning as Prince Albert, Princess Charlene and members of the local and wider Catholic community gathered for the funeral of Monaco’s former Archbishop of 20 years, Bernard Barsi.

Archbishop Dominique-Marie David, Barsi’s predecessor, welcomed family members and friends to the Cathedral, where they paid tribute to a “generous” and “strong” man.

Prince Albert II of Monaco was accompanied by his wife Princess Charlene, his sister Princess Caroline, and Mélanie-Antoinette de Massy, daughter of the late Elizabeth-Ann, cousin of Prince Albert.

Minister of State Pierre Dartout and other government members were also present to remember the man who had served Monaco as its Archbishop for two decades before he retired in 2020.

Bishop René Guiliano delivered the homily, in which he spoke of Archbishop Barsi as “warm” and “very human”; many recalled a man with an incredible memory, who was interested in everyone, regardless of their position in society. Bishop Guiliano concluded by highlighting Barsi’s legacy, L’Agora, a meeting place that he had championed for the faithful.

Bernard Barsi, Archbishop Emeritus of Monaco, suffered a heart attack on 24th December after delivering a mass for prison inmates. He died in hospital in Nice on 28th December aged 80 years. He now rests in the Cathedral of Monaco, where all but two of the Princely family are buried, including Prince Rainier III and Princess Grace.

Image: Taken from the Diocese de Monaco TV. You can view the full funeral service below…


January on stage at the Princess Grace Theatre

From the life of an iconic muse to some of France’s greatest 20th century artists to a tale about an American convict-turned-activist, four diverse performances and events will be on show at the Princess Grace Theatre this month.

Up first on Thursday 5th is Misia Sert: Reine de Paris. Young writer Baptiste Rossi has retold the spellbinding story of Misia Sert, a beguiling woman who became a muse to some of the most noteworthy artists of her age. From Bonnard and Renoir to Diaghilev and Cocteau, Sert proved herself a source of inspiration for more than 40 years. Actress Julie Depardieu, flute player Juliette Hurel and pianist Hélène Couvert provide the modern-day talent for the 8pm performance, for which tickets start at €15. 

On Tuesday 10th and Wednesday 11th, famous French acting couple Pierre Arditi and Évelyne Bouix appear in Salomé Lelouch’s Fallait Pas Le Dire, which was written specifically for them. Who can say what and when? And under what circumstances? This piece addresses the grey areas of free speech as well as the more intricate topics of family secrets and words spoken only between partners. Both performances begin at 8pm. 

Stepping away from the theatrical to the philosophical, the Princess Grace Theater will, on Thursday 19th at 7pm, welcome the thoughts of thinkers, authors, artists and researchers that have been invited by the Philosophical Meetings of Monaco. This edition questions the notion of gender. Attending the two-hour session is free of charge for the public, but spaces are limited.

Finally on Thursday 26th at 8pm, La Maison du Loup – or Wolf House in English – tells the unusual tale of Edward Morrell, a convicted American accomplice to robbery who became famous for his ability to withstand the cruelest conditions. The story is set in the summer of 1913 with Morrell fighting to save his friend, Jacob Heimer, from the death penalty. Written by Benoît Solès, directed by Tristan Petitgirard and starring Benoit Solès, Amaury de Crayencour and Anne Plantey, the audience will see Morrell invited into the private home of author Jack London by his wife, Charmian, who has been touched by his valiant efforts. Tickets start at €25. 

For more information on the full programme of events, please click here.


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Photo source: Fabienne Rappeneau

Winter sales kick off in Monaco

The winter sales have begun in Monaco, with discounts of up to 50% and more to be found at retail stores throughout the Principality.

The official sales period began on Tuesday 2nd January, as per the rules in Monaco, and will last until 15th February.

It starts earlier and finishes later than in neighbouring France, where the sales period doesn’t commence until 11th January and finishes on 7th February.

Deals can be found in all of Monaco’s shopping districts, including One Monte-Carlo, the Metropole Shopping Centre and La Condamine.

Sales can only be offered in Monaco twice a year, the second is in summer, from 1st July to 15th August.


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Photo by Monaco Life

CSM’s Dr Nathalie Hilmi appointed to climate High Council

A leading scientist in Monaco, Dr Nathalie Hilmi, has been selected to join a local panel of experts on the new High Council for the Climate of the Nice-Côte d’Azur Metropolis.

In late 2022, the Nice Côte d’Azur Metropolis set up a new High Council for the Climate made up of 16 volunteer members with the combined objective of helping guide the region and better adapt its territory to the effects of climate change. Now it has been announced that the Scientific Centre of Monaco’s (CSM) head of Environmental Economics, Dr Nathalie Hilmi, has been selected to join the prestigious panel.

The group will provide “the main directions for public action in terms of the ecological and energy transition,” according to the metropolis’s president and the mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, who added, “We need indisputable experts to strengthen our scientific knowledge.”

Alongside the other members, Dr Hilmi will bring her own expertise to the table to help guide future public policies. She will also be an active participant in the soon-to-come Local Citizens’ Convention for the Climate as well as initiatives carried out to train local public service agents.

The High Council will be up and running early this year, and will meet at least twice a year.

In addition to Dr Hilmi, the other members include ecologist and geographer Wolfgang Cramer, architect and urban planner Eric Daniel-Lacombe, ENEDIS Regional Director Pascal Dassonville, Professor Patrick Fenichel, oceanologist Jean-Pierre Gattuso, author and consultant Stephane Linou, food and agriculture specialist Frédéric Marchand, ATMOSUD President Pierre-Charles Maria, lecturer Nicolas Martin, Sorbonne professor Carlos Moreno, energy planning economist Nicolas Peraudeau, co-founder of La Fabrique des Mobilités Gabriel Plassat, Research Director at the National Center for Scientific Research Damienne Provitolo, CEEBIOS CEO Kalina Raskin, and geographer Magalie Reghezza.


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Photo source: Centre Scientifique de Monaco/Facebook

Monaco’s Davis Cup opponent revealed

Monaco will face the Dominican Republic in a Davis Cup World Group II play-off at the Monte-Carlo Country Club at the beginning of February, it has been announced.

The tie will take place across two days – 4th and 5th February – at the Monte-Carlo Country Club (MCCC) in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin and the Monégasques will be cheered on by a home crowd for the fixture, with the event being open to the public.

It is the first time that the two sides have met. They face off in a play-off tie that has ramifications for the fixtures later this year. Should Monaco win, they would be fully integrated into the World Group II, with matches within this group set to be played in September of this year.

The two-day event will consist of four singles matches and one doubles match. The players that will form Monaco’s squad for the Davis Cup match are yet to be revealed.

Monaco saw their chances of promotion from the World Group II dashed against Lebanon in September 2022. A team consisting of Valentin Vacherot, Lucas Caterina, Hugo Nys and Romain Arneodo lost 3-2 on the hard court of Zouk Mosbeh. They will now fight for their survival in the group next month.

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Photo by Monaco Life

Dubai ditches 30% tax on alcohol

In a move that is sure to attract international attention, Dubai has announced it is scrapping a 30% tax on alcohol, and will no longer require tourists and expats to buy permits to purchase alcoholic beverages.

In an effort to increase its popularity as a destination and attract more foreign workers, on Sunday 1st January, Dubai decided to end its 30% tax on alcohol. A one-year trial period of the new rules will now take place before becoming permanent, according to domestic media, although the official Media Office of Dubai has yet to comment publicly.

Two of the United Arab Emirates city’s major retailers have dropped prices to reflect the new decision, with one, the state-owned Maritime and Mercantile International (MMI), announcing via its Instagram account: “Buying your favorite drinks is now easier and cheaper than ever.”

African + Eastern, another local retailer, said on its Instagram page that it was now offering personal liquor licenses at zero cost after the removal of the tax.

Other rules will remain in place, including the requirement that people consuming alcohol be over the age of 21 and non-Muslim.

The city has rebounded spectacularly after Covid-19, with gross domestic product growing by 4.6% in the first nine months of 2022. Additionally, tourist numbers leapt by over 180% in the first half of 2022 compared to a year earlier.


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Photo source: Robert Bock for Unsplash