Explained: Where and when will Nice expand its tramline?

Nice’s tramway has transformed public transport within the city. Now it looks to expand the connections beyond its borders to neighbouring municipalities, but what is the official timeline?  

It has been 15 years since the first trams began to circulate on the modern system in Nice, and since then, the network has revolutionised public transport for its inhabitants and visitors. Three lines currently traverse the city – Ligne 1 between Henri Sappia and Hôpital Pasteur, Ligne 2 from CADAM and the airport to Port Lympia, and Ligne 3 from Saint Isidore to the airport – but soon they are to be joined by an additional two routes.  

The first is Ligne 4, which will eventually connect the neighbouring towns of Saint Laurent du Var and Cagnes sur Mer with the Saint Augustin area of Nice. It will be more than seven kilometres in length, cross the southern bridge over the Var River, and provide for 13 stations along the route from Grand Arénas to the Parcs des Sports Pierre Sauviago and the Lycée Auguste Renoir in Cagnes sur Mer.  

Speaking on France Bleu Azur on Monday 23rd January, the mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, promised that the tramway would “cross the Var River in 2026”. Work has already commenced on the line and it had previously been hoped that the full tramway would be finished within the next two years, but completion is now expected sometime between 2027 and 2028, according to Estrosi’s latest interview.  

The Ligne 5 will provide a much-needed link with the outlying districts of L’Ariane, La Trinité and Drap, following the route of the Paillon River from the centre of Nice. Work is due to begin in 2024, and the first trams could be heading northeast in 2026 if all goes to plan.  

After discussing advancements on the tram networks, the radio station took the opportunity to grill Estrosi on the recent reports that Nice is “the most indebted city in France”, something his political competitors have suggested pushes debt levels close to the maximum threshold.  

“I do not see how we are at a maximum level of debt,” he responded. “If we maintain our current investments with the inflation that we are experiencing, it would not be reasonable. We have an inflation rate and an interest rate that is very high. A lot of things were planned, but we are going to postpone some of them because we do not want to exceed the debt threshold. Today, the debt ratio per inhabitant is €1,400 euros.” 

Whether or not the promised plans to begin work on the Ligne 5 next year will be affected by this curtailing of spending remains to be seen.  


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Photo source: Métropole Nice Côte d’Azur

Prince Albert opens Palace gates for blood donation drive

Workers in Monaco are being invited to join Prince Albert at his Palace this week to donate blood and help boost life-saving supplies.

The Palace released a statement on Monday stating that HSH Prince Albert II wanted to organise a blood donation drive at the Palace on Wednesday 25th January.

The operation, which takes place from 8am to 2pm, is being organised in partnership with the Transfusion Centre (CTS) of the Princess Grace Hospital Centre (CHPG) and aims to collect blood donations from the staff of local businesses and the Prince’s Carabinieri .

Prince Albert, a supporter of the CHPGs #TeamDonneur campaign, will take part by donating his blood.

“Hosting this operation within the Prince’s Palace aims in particular to raise public awareness of blood donation, which is a simple, generous and responsible act of solidarity. This action is essential to save lives,” said the Palace in its statement.

To make the process of blood donation as easy as possible in Monaco, the CHPG has instigated the ‘bloodmobile’, a vehicle that picks up employees at their place of work and takes them directly to the Blood Transfusion Centre to donate blood.

Monegasque companies wishing to take part in the #TeamDonneur challenge on Wednesday are invited to contact the Transfusion Centre of the CHPG: https://chpg.mc/don-du-blood/

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Photo by Monaco Life


Monaco to “step up” financial crime action after damning Moneyval report

The Prince’s Government has expressed its “full support” for recommendations made by Moneyval that Monaco should “step up” its efforts to investigate and prosecute money laundering, to confiscate and recover proceeds of crime, and to strengthen its supervisory system.”

In a report released Monday 23rd January, the Council of Europe’s anti-money-laundering body Moneyval encourages Monaco to “further strengthen measures to combat money laundering (ML) and financing of terrorism (FT), in particular when it comes to investigating and prosecuting money laundering, confiscating and recovering proceeds of crime as well as strengthening its supervisory system”.

The report provides a comprehensive assessment of the Principality’s level of compliance with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Recommendations up until its last visit in March 2022.

Despite its “considerable work” in identifying risks, the Principality is called upon to “intensify its efforts”. Monaco is criticised for a number of “modest” investigations into money laundering, and a “very low number of convictions obtained, as well as an even smaller number of confiscation measures ordered”, which raises “concerns”, says Moneyval.

“While the achieved results provide an initial risk understanding in some sectors, further analysis is needed regarding others (casinos, company services providers, trusts and virtual assets).”

Immediately following the release of the report, the Prince’s Government responded in a public statement, noting the developments made in the months preceding Moneyval’s final visit. “We have already taken measures to strengthen our system and notable progress has recently been made,” said Minister of Finance and the Economy Jean Castellini. “Following the recommendations of Moneyval evaluators, the National Council (the Monegasque Legislative Assembly) adopted several pieces of legislation at the end of 2022, particularly in areas as important as international mutual legal assistance, seizure and confiscation of instruments, and proceeds of crime.”

The committee noted that the Monegasque Financial Intelligence Unit (SICCFIN) is a key source of financial intelligence and has proven its capacity to produce high-quality analysis, however it believes it “is not being fully used by the investigative authorities”.

The report “expresses concerns regarding the very low number of convictions achieved, and the even lower number of confiscation measures ordered, none of which covers property of equivalent value or property held by third parties.”

“Monaco needs to enhance its efforts to identify and prioritise ML cases, seize, confiscate and recover the proceeds of ML and predicate offences.”

In regards to non-profits, Moneyval notes that the applicable ML sanctions are “not dissuasive and are rarely imposed”.

Moneyval also found that the number of suspicious transaction reports (STRs) from the banking sector are “satisfactory”, however the number of STRs filed by casinos and jewellers are “still limited, even though the two sectors play an important role in the Principality”.

As a result of its findings, Moneyval has applied its “enhanced follow-up procedure”, or 12-month monitoring of the Principality, with Monaco to provide a report by December 2024.

“In line with the vision of Prince Albert II, who wants Monaco to be exemplary in terms of ethics, transparency and the fight against money laundering, the Principality is determined to continue implementation of Moneyval’s recommendations in order to comply with the highest international standards at the end of the 12-month monitoring period,” said Minister of State Pierre Dartout. “This exemplarity in the fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism is essential for Monaco in terms of its raison d’être and attractiveness. We are therefore going to continue and step up our action. The Principality has the capacities and the resources to reach the highest level within the prescribed timeframe”.

The Government says that it has set up a Monitoring Committee responsible for adopting the recommendations of the report, which will be accompanied by “reputable and experienced experts” throughout the process.

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Photo by Monaco Life





The Carte Vitale is going digital

After being tested in select regions over the past two years, France’s heath card, the Carte Vitale, will soon be changing to an online format. Here’s what you need to know.  

Since 1998, the Carte Vitale has been a key part of the French healthcare system. The card allows citizens and residents to go to any doctor in France under the umbrella of the national health system.   

Now it is going digital. The Ministry of Health launched the plan in 2019 with the idea of creating a smartphone application for the card. Since 2021, a dozen departments in France, including the Alpes-Maritimes, have been testing out the new app, and with its success came word that the e-Carte Vitale will be gradually rolled out nationwide. Full coverage is expected by 31st December 2025.  

It is available to everyone via the apCV app, and will contain all user identification information, including tracking data, and will provide access to SESAM-Vitale invoicing, integrated teleservices for compulsory health insurance and pharmaceutical records for pharmacists. 

To get the new e-Card users, simply download the app, take photo of the current physical card and a selfie. The applicant then creates a four-digit password to protect the account and the card is activated. Doctors will then only need to scan a QR code displayed in the app or use a Near Field Communication (NFC) smart card reader to verify.   

The e-Carte Vitale allows healthcare professionals to draw up an electronic care sheet instead of a paper care sheet, giving the patient automatic reimbursement after one week, without having to contact their health insurance provider. The app will also allow users to track healthcare expenditures and avoid rejections of paper invoices. Additionally, data from the holder’s mutuelle will be stored in the e-card, and will allow a delegate to be chosen who can make health-related decisions or pick up prescriptions for those who cannot.      

The creators say it is a more practical option in today’s world, given that most people are glued to their smartphones and don’t always have physical cards to hand. 

Not all healthcare providers are set up for this system yet though, so those eager to make the switch may need to wait until their doctor’s office catches up.  


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Photo credit: Tbel Abuseridze for Unsplash


Monaco’s long-time mayor aims for sixth term

A mainstay on the Principality’s political scene, Georges Marsan is hoping to extend his time at the top spot with an unprecedented sixth term as mayor come the imminent elections.  

The 65-year-old mayor made his intentions to run for a sixth term in a position he has held continuously since 2003 at a press conference last week, less than two months ahead of the upcoming town hall elections in mid-March.   

Marsan, a member of the Communal Evolution (EC) party, has been a public figure in Monaco for many years. He started out in 1991, being elected to the Municipal Council after prompting by the then-mayor, Anne-Marie Campora.  

A pharmacist by trade, Marsan took to politics like a duck to water and hasn’t looked back. He is also a Grand Officer of the Order of Saint-Charles, and has proved to be tremendously popular with the Monegasque community, running unopposed in both 2011 and 2019, and winning a huge 75% of the vote in 2015.  


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Photo source: Georges Marsan / Facebook

Dominant Sébastien Ogier wins ninth Monte-Carlo Rally

Sébastien Ogier led from start to finish on his way to securing his ninth Monte-Carlo Rally victory in just 14 years, overcoming last year’s disappointment in what he described as a “perfect weekend”.

The Frenchman was denied the title last season, with a mechanical issue on the final day putting pay to his ambitions. Instead, it was the legendary veteran and his teammate Sébastien Loeb who took the title. But there was no denying Ogier this year, who stood atop the top step of the podium for the ninth time in Place de la Casino on Sunday 22nd January.

Following the presentation of the cars last Thursday night, the grid made its way up to the mountains and towards the Col de Turini. Here, Ogier and his co-pilot Vincent Landais raced into an early lead ahead of Welshman Elfyn Evans.

Ogier’s domination continued into Friday, as he won four of the six stages, building a nine-second gap to Evans in second and a 23-second gap to third-placed Kalle Rovanperä.

However, Finnish driver Rovanperä hit back on the Saturday, winning three of the six stages and closing the gap to 16 seconds. Ogier’s lead was still considerable, but not unassailable, and if he was to overcome last year’s disappointment, he would have to work for it going into the final day.

Rovanperä’s comeback acted as a wakeup call for Ogier, who in the early hours of Sunday morning, struck back, extending his lead once again on his way to an ultimately comfortable victory.

On his way to taking his ninth Monte-Carlo Rally title, Ogier picked up nine stage wins out of a possible 18, becoming only the fourth driver to pull off such a feat in the 21st century.

Reflecting on the victory post-race, Ogier paid homage to his co-pilot, Landais.

“It’s a good time with the whole team, with Vincent, and it was his first victory in Monte-Carlo, I think he had tears in his eyes. He is very proud today, and he deserves it,” he said.

The Monte-Carlo Rally, the curtain-raiser to the 2023 World Rally Car calendar, provided an unmistakable sign of Ogier’s dominance. As the grid heads to Sweden, it is clear that the Frenchman will be difficult to beat this year.


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Photo by Red Bull Content Pool / Jaanus Ree