Culture in conversation: Series of talks commemorate Prince Pierre Foundation

Over the next six months, a series of in-depth talks and debates at the Théâtre des Variétés will commemorate the centenary of cultural discussions initiated by Prince Pierre (1895-1964), a great patron of literature and the arts.  

Begun by Prince Pierre in the 1920s and formalised by the creation of a foundation in his name – the Fondation Prince Pierre – by his son, Prince Rainier III, in 1966, this year marks 100 years of organised cultural talks and debates in the Principality.  

Prince Pierre was a huge supporter of the arts and literature, and had an enthusing passion that his fellow countrymen and women would have the chance to hear from the best minds of their time. To celebrate this century of arts and learning, his foundation is offering a Monday evening series of events at the Théâtre des Variétés between January and June. 

It all kicks off on 16th January when Dany Laferriere, author of 36 books, speaks on racism in America, bringing together the threads of the past, from the legacy of slavery to its impacts on today, and how much has been overcome as well as how much still needs to be done.  

On 30th January, film producer Bruno Podalydes talks to film critic Jacques Kermabon about film speed and its effect on the outcome and tone of any give movie. Podalydes expands on why he was often surprised at the discrepancy between the tempo he thought he was setting up and the perception his first spectators had of a film. This talk is sure to be fascinating for anyone who loves the art of cinema. 

On 6th February, Hélène Carrère d’Encausse explores the Russian aristocrat, Alexandra Kollontaï, who rejected her privileged life to join the Revolution, becoming a minister in Lenin’s first government in 1917 and later the first female ambassador in history. Her manoeuvring of the dangerous waters of Soviet politics was extraordinary in itself, but all the more so because of her gender. This evening is a chance to learn more about this remarkable early feminist.  

Next up on 13th February is Philippe Rahm’s talk on what he calls climatic architecture. The climatic and health challenges of the 21st century is making way for a new generation of architects and urban planners who base their discipline on its intrinsic atmospheric qualities. They look at how “air, light, heat or humidity are recognised as real building materials, where convection, thermal conduction, evaporation, emissivity or effusivity become design tools, and where, thanks to the principle of dialectical materialism, they will be able to revolutionise aesthetic and social values”.  

George Vigarello then hits the stage on 6th March to discuss mind-body connections, and how to live in the body and make it present without overthinking. This is the art of learning how to “be”, taught by a person who has spent decades learning how.  

The struggle against injustice in literature will then by examined by Jean-Marie Rouart on 17th April. He looks at the works of Voltaire, Balzac, Victor Hugo, Zola and Mauriac, writers who committed themselves to defend the innocent, seeking through their words to create a fairer world.  

On 24th April, award-winning composer Julian Anderson holds a talk on his oratorio Exiles, created just last year, shedding light on how all his works are intrinsically linked as well as exploring the nuances of his most recent pieces.  

Finally on 5th June, Barbara Cassin discusses how to expose a philosophical idea to the public in a different way than the traditional forms of speaking and writing. Her idea is to hold exhibitions to show people rather than explain, letting emotion mingle with the concrete to get a clearer picture of the whole.  

All discussions begin at 6.30pm. Tickets are free, but reservations are recommended. They can be made via  


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French hunting reform fails to hit home with worried public

The French government has tightened restrictions on hunting, but the reforms stop short of introducing a ban on Sunday hunts, despite nearly 80% of the population backing the idea.  

From banning hunting while under the influence of alcohol to proposing practical training and safety courses for registered hunters every 10 years, as well as the introduction of an app identifying locations where a hunt may be underway, 14 new measures aimed at making the practice safer were announced by the government on Monday. 

The reforms also laid the ground for specialist training for hunt organisers – an estimated 200,000 people across France – so as to improve relations and communications between hunters and the public in addition to bettering safety controls.  

Should a hunter be involved in a serious incident, sanctions now include the loss of a licence for a fixed period depending on its severity. Over the course of the 2021-22 hunting season, there were 90 such accidents, with eight resulting in a fatality. The season prior recorded 80 incidents. One hunter has already died in 2023; an 84-year-old man accidentally shot himself in Corsica while packing away his gear, according to France 24.  

In the run-up to the reforms, one of the most contentious topics was the proposal to ban Sunday hunts. 

A poll from IFOP in December found that almost 80% of the French population supports the concept, but according to AFP sources, the government has decided against introducing such a measure as “nothing in the statistics points to Sunday being a more accident-prone day than any other”. 

While the idea hasn’t been totally ruled out in the future, Willy Schraen, the president of Fédération Nationale des Chasseurs (FNC), has claimed there would be uproar in rural communities should a Sunday ban come into force.  

FNC statistics indicate there are 1.1 million active hunters in France, but five million possess a hunting licence.  


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Paul Newman Rolex amongst rarities going under the gavel this month

Lovers of exclusive watches and jewellery will have a field day at the upcoming Antiquorum auction, which features 226 lots of pieces rarely found on the open market. 

Timepieces from luxe brands Rolex, Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet are just a few of the exceptional items that will be up for grabs at the upcoming Antiquorum auction being held on 19th January at the Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel and Resort.  

Their upcoming event is sure to be an affair to remember with an incredible selection of modern and vintage watches such as the incomparable Audemars Piguet Royal Oak with an estimated sale price of €60,000 to €120,000 and the Rolex Paul Newman Daytona “Panda”, valued at €300,000 to €500,000. 

Also from Rolex is the Jean-Claude Killy, named after the Olympic gold medallist skier, which is looking at bringing in between €300,000 and €600,000, and a platinum Day-Date with a unique coral coloured dial, which is estimated to go for €150,000 to €250,000. 

Founded in Geneva in 1974, Antiquorum has carved a niche for itself by creating a “collector’s market” for watch lovers, consistently setting world records for sales. The house holds auctions in Geneva, Hong Kong as well as Monaco, with previews held in major cities around the globe.


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Photo source: Antiquorum

Fresh snow brings good and bad to French resorts

Snow has returned to local ski resorts, with 20cm falling over the weekend, but with it has come danger, and even death, after a skier in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence region was killed in an avalanche.  

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! Following weeks of unseasonably warm weather, the resorts of the Alpes-Maritimes rejoiced on Sunday as snow fell on the pistes, much to the relief of operators who worried it may not come.   

In the end, an average of 20cm of fresh powder was logged, boosting hopes at ski stations that the season will not be a complete washout. Some places benefitted more than others, with Auron and Isola 2000 getting the better coverage, while Valberg, Beuil and Gréolières-les-Neiges had little to no new snow.  

But with good comes some bad, though, as a 53-year-old woman from Nice died in an avalanche in the Ubaye valley in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence at around lunchtime on Monday, as reported by France 3.  

She was part of a group of experienced skiers from the French Alpine Club of Nice.  Five men and three women were skiing off-piste when they were swept away by the snowflow. All but the woman survived. 

The avalanche occurred at a place called Bec de l’Aigle in the town of Val d’Oronaye and at an altitude of 2,580 metres. Found under four metres of snow and in cardio-respiratory arrest, the victim died despite emergency services intervention. 

Since December, avalanche risk alert levels in the Southern Alps have been between three and four on a scale of five. According to the PGHM (Pelotons de Gendarmerie de Haute Montagne), the phenomenon occurs due to episodes of snow along with mild temperatures, which weaken the structure of the snowpack. 

Météo France is forecasting no new snow for the next week.


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Drunk driver charged in Monaco tunnel death

Monaco prosecutors have charged the drunk driver of a Mercedes with involuntary manslaughter after the car he was driving ploughed head-on into a two-wheeler late Saturday night, killing the motorist.   

The accident occurred on Saturday 7th January at 10:55pm when a Mercedes SUV crossed the solid white line at the exit of the IM2S tunnel, on Boulevard du Larvotto, drove on the wrong side of the road and collided with the driver of a Piaggio 500cc two-wheeler.

According to a statement released by the public prosecutor’s office of Monaco on Tuesday, emergency services were unable to revive the victim and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

“The driver of the SUV-type vehicle, of foreign nationality and residing in France, showed outward signs of drunkenness,” said the prosecutor’s office. “He was immediately taken into custody on counts of manslaughter, driving while clearly intoxicated, refusal to submit to an alcohol test and refusal to submit to a drug test.”

On Monday 9th January, the driver was referred to the general prosecutor’s office. He was charged with aggravated involuntary homicide, driving while intoxicated, refusing to submit to an alcohol test and refusing to submit to a drug test.

He has been placed in detention.

The victim has been identified in local media as a 54-year-old father of two. He was working as a valet at the Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel and Resort and was heading home from work when he was hit and killed by the drunk driver.

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Real estate, tech and equity markets: top investment opportunities in 2023

Despite a “triumvirate” of woes in 2022, wealthy individuals are remarkably optimistic about the year to come, with seven in 10 expecting their wealth to grow in the coming 12 months. 

The Collins English Dictionary chose “permacrisis” as its word of the year for 2022, reflecting the “extended period of instability and insecurity” that affected geopolitics, the energy industry and global economics amid numerous ongoing emergencies.  

Yet despite what the Knight Frank Wealth Report has described as a “tough 12 months”, 40% of the world’s ultra-high network individuals (UHNWI) managed to grow their wealth in 2022, and although a “looming global recession, surging inflation and debt costs” are certainly causing some concerns for investors and their clients in the coming year, the outlook is surprisingly optimistic for 2023: seven in 10 expect to see personal wealth growth.  

The Wealth Report’s outlook on 2023, compiled through in-depth interviews with industry experts and a survey of more than 500 private bankers, wealth advisors and family offices, looks at the key opportunities and investment risks for UHNWIs in what it forecasts to be “another turbulent year”.  

“The study provides a unique barometer of investors’ shifting views on near-term risks and opportunities, and suggests private capital will play an outsized role in real estate markets,” says Liam Bailey, Global Head of Research at Knight Frank. “While inflation (cited by 67% survey respondents), interest rates (59%) and geopolitical risks (53%) continue to dominate investor concerns, real estate (46%), tech (33%) and equity markets (28%) are cited as the leading opportunities in 2023 for wealth creation.” 

Global mobility and real estate 

Interestingly, 13% of UHNWIs are planning to apply for a second passport or new citizenship in 2023. A third of personal wealth among UHNWIs is allocated to private property and more than a quarter of this is held outside their country of residence. 15% are looking to purchase additional residential property in 2023, with the US, UK, Spain, Australia and France coming in as the top five desired locations.  

The Knight Frank report classes real estate as the leading opportunity for wealth growth and creation, both for direct and indirect investment. The top five sectors attracting UHNWIs are healthcare, logistics and industrial facilities, offices, the private rental sector, and hotels and leisure. Of all respondents surveyed, a third were interested in all five, demonstrating widespread enthusiasm for a diverse portfolio. 

Annabelle Bryde, the head of UK Private Bank & Crown Dependencies at Barclays, says, “Property is a passion for many and will remain so, however, decisions are typically driven not only by returns, but sentiment and need. Whether looking for family use or a specialist asset that drives diversification and yield across a broader range of investments, our clients like the idea of combining passion with practicalities. This becomes more important, and a driver, as global leverage funding costs increase.” 

Investments of “passion” 

Art has retained its seat as the “most sought-after investment of passion” for 2023, with nearly 60% of UHNWIs likely to make a significant purchase this year. Watches follow with 46% looking to buy and wine at 39%. Art tops the list for overall cost too, with classic cars and wine rounding out the top three. 

A return to traditional methodologies

Bailey cites the unique conditions of the last few years as having caused “the worst performance for the traditional blended investment portfolio since the 1930s”. The majority of equity and bond markets experienced a simultaneous downturn during 2022.  

“Those that saw their wealth shrink attributed declines to equity markets, financial markets more broadly and interest rate moves,” reads the report. “Many interviewees pointed out that the traditional diversified portfolio offered no safety amid a unique set of circumstances. The MSCI World Mid & Large Cap index was down 18%, the S&P 500 by 19%, the FTSE 250 by 17%, the Nikkei by 9% and China’s CSI 300 22%, by way of example.” 

Still, long-term investors expect to be rewarded, with panel member Kunal Lakhani of NAB saying, “[2022] provided a shift from a high-growth mindset to more traditional methodologies around value and quality of business management… Now, with the higher-rate environment, there is likely to be a longer-term approach and less looking for quick gains.” 

Barclays’ Bryde adds, “We think recessions will broadly be shallow and short-term, and aggressive interest rate hikes from central banks should ease off. For investors, it won’t be plain sailing, but there’s reason enough for longer-term optimism.” 


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