Skiing: Arnaud Alessandria’s season curtailed following accident

Monaco skier Arnaud Alessandria’s season has been brought to a premature end after he fractured his sacrum in the Super-G World Championships earlier this month. 

Alessandria, who was Monaco’s flag-bearer at last year’s Winter Olympics in Beijing, fell at the beginning of his run in the Super-G event at Courchevel on 9th February. He was later airlifted to a hospital in Grenoble where initial tests revealed a fractured sacrum, which is a bone in the lower back.

Monaco’s record-breaking Olympian

Alessandria was Monaco’s only representative on the world circuit, but following further tests on the fracture last week, he revealed that he will miss the rest of the season. In a message posted on Instagram, the Olympian said: “Thank you to my sponsors, family, friends, staff and everyone for the support this winter. See you on the slopes next season.”

Photo of Arnaud Alessandria and Prince Albert II by Monaco Life

The 29-year-old made Monaco sporting history last winter. Prior to his departure for China, he told Monaco Life that he was aiming to finish in the top 30 in the men’s downhill, which he duly did (29th place). However, he surprised even himself when he finished 13th in the combined event, which made him the highest-ranked Monégasque skier in the Principality’s Olympic history.

However, Monaco’s record-breaking Olympian is now set for a spell of rest and recuperation, and Alessandria’s focus will now turn to next winter’s exploits.

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Photo by Monaco Olympic Committee 

France plans to lift mandatory Covid vaccination for caregivers

The High Authority for Health, HAS, whose opinion is usually followed by the French government, on Monday paved the way for an end to compulsory Covid vaccines for health professionals.

In a draft opinion published on its site, the authority said that “In the current context, the vaccination obligation against Covid-19 could be lifted for all the professionals concerned.”

However, it added that the vaccine should remain “strongly recommended” in particular professions for which other vaccinations are in force.

The institution will carry out a public consultation for a month, before issuing a final opinion at the end of March.

A controversial requirement to be vaccinated

Since 2021, all caregivers – and more generally anyone working in a hospital environment – must be vaccinated against Covid to be able to practice their profession. The subject has generated considerable debate with both left and right sides of the government calling for the reinstatement of unvaccinated caregivers.

The National Ethics Council (CCNE) must also rule on the situation of suspended caregivers before the government can take action.

What to expect from the 2023 Printemps des Arts

les printemps des arts

The month-long Printemps des Arts festival, an annual springtime event in the Principality that attracts talented artists from around the world, begins in a few short weeks. Here’s what to expect from the 2023 programme.  

From 8th March to 2nd April, night after night of incredible concerts and conferences from musicians the world over will flood Monaco’s cultural scene and its most famous venues.  

Highlights include the complete cello and piano works by Gabriel Fauré reinterpreted by Aurélien and Denis Pascal at One Monte-Carlo on 19th March as well as Alexandre Scriabin’s sonatas performed by pianist Varduhi Yeritsyan alongside a reading of his poems by Anna Akhmatova, Jean-Yves Clément and Svetlana Ustinova on 23rd March at the Hauser & Wirth Gallery.  

Every year, the festival attracts some of the biggest names in their respective fields, such as French conductor Laurence Equilbey, soprano Hélène Carpentier and baritone Thomas Oliemans, who unite on 12th March at the Auditorium Rainier III for a concert featuring the works of Mendelssohn and Rihm.  

Music of the Americas

One major element in the 2023 programme of Les Printemps des Arts is music of the Americas. 

On 24th March at the Auditorium Rainier III, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of conductor Eva Ollikainen, will explore also the catalogue of Jean Sibelius, Samuel Barber and Franco-American composer Betsy Jolas, who will also attend a pre-event hosted by the Club des Résidents Etrangers de Monaco.  

Trumpet virtuoso Chet Baker’s work will also be honoured via bassist Riccardo Del Fra, whose quintet will be accompanied by a large symphony presence, on 26th March at the Opéra de Monte-Carlo.  

The Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra will perform the Third Symphony by Aaron Copland under the direction of Case Scaglione on 31st March at the Auditorium Rainier III while the TM+ Ensemble will bring together Elliott Carter and Steve Reich, two creators with diametrically opposed languages in the one concert on 1st April at the same venue.  

To wrap up the month, on 2rd April, the final night, the Oceanographic Museum will host a 6pm concert featuring the works of Ligeti, Bartók and Reich by the Quatuor Diotima – one of the most in-demand chamber ensembles in the world today – followed by a cocktail reception reserved for ticket holders.  

During the course of the festival, shows will be held at some of the most prestigious venues in Monaco, with the Crystal Bar and Salle Belle Epoque of the Hôtel Hermitage, the Grimaldi Forum, the Saint-Charles Church, the Princess Grace Theatre and the Yacht Club de Monaco all getting their time in the spotlight in addition to those already mentioned. 

Conferences and round tables at Les Printemps des Arts

Music is, of course, a main attraction, but so is learning and conversing, and as such, Les Printemps des Arts offers numerous workshops, conferences, round table discussions and informal after parties, where artists and the public can mix and mingle in a casual setting. Many are headed up by the event’s artistic director, Bruno Mantovani, an ever enthusiastic and passionate man who delights in sharing his love for classical music with fellow patrons.  

For the complete programme, please click here.  


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Photo credit: Alice Blangero

Preparations for 2023 Grand Prix begin on Monaco’s roads

monaco grand prix

As Monaco gears up for a month of car racing events in May, the Urban Amenities Department will be resurfacing several roads. Here’s a full listing of the programme and its scheduled closures.  

Hosting the Grand Prix and the satellite races surrounding it takes time and a huge amount of preparation. Having been host for some 80 years, the Principality has become something of an expert at getting things done in a timely way as well as one that limits disruption to traffic during the resurfacing of local roads that will become the track for the races.  

This year, with the Monaco e-Prix coming early in the month on 6th May, the resurfacing efforts will be starting soon.  

Road closures 

On 6th and 7th March, the Louis II Tunnel and Avenue J.F. Kennedy will be closed to both traffic and parking between 8pm and 6pm.  

From 7th to 9th March, the Route de la Piscine will also be shut to parking and traffic from 8pm to 6am.  

Then from 8th to 10th March, Boulevard Albert Ier will be closed at the same times.  

Finally, the Avenue de la Porte Neuve, the upper hairpin, will see alternating traffic due to lane closures from 8pm to 6am on 15th and 16th March.  

Jardin Saint Martin will be entirely shut to the public during the day from 20th to 24th March and between 8.30am and 7.30pm. 

Rue des Ramparts, near the Palace, will be closed to all traffic on 22nd and 23rd between 9pm and 4am. 

Emergency services will be permitted to access all work areas as required.  

Bus stops 

The Princesse Alice stop will have alternating traffic from 13th to 15th March and between 8pm and 6am. Villa Sauber will be closed to traffic between 8pm and 6am from 14th to 15th March, and Albert II stop at the shopping mall will be closed from 16th to 17th March, also between 8pm and 6am.   


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Photo source: Monaco Communications Department

Charles Leclerc gunning for the 2023 F1 title

charles leclerc

Speaking at Scuderia Ferrari’s 2023 car launch last week, Monegasque driver Charles Leclerc affirmed his desire to go one better than last year and clinch the Formula One title this season. 

Leclerc finished second in the drivers’ standings last year, behind eventual winner Max Verstappen. The Ferrari driver looked capable of mounting a title challenge in the early part of the season, but a significant drop-off in performance, as well as some strategic errors, allowed Verstappen to ease to a second consecutive World Championship.

The Monégasque finished 146 points behind his Dutch rival, and Leclerc’s objective is now to close that gap and win the title.

Matching virtual and reality

“It is a good feeling to see the car for the first time. It’s great to see the full car now after all of the work that was done over the winter, and also during last season. We’ll see when we get it on the track to see if it’s as quick as on the simulator,” said Leclerc upon the unveiling of the Ferrari SF23 in Maranello last week.

“On the simulator, the feeling was good, but you always have to wait for the first laps on track to see if the virtual data matches the reality. I get the impression that the small problems that we had with the car last year have been improved upon this year. The feeling is good and now we just have to see on the track,” he continued.

Leclerc setting his sights high

Whilst questions over the performance of the car remain, Leclerc is lucid in his expectations for the upcoming season.

“The objective this season is to try and improve on last year and to win the title. We finished second last year, so improving means winning. It won’t be easy. In any case, there was a lot of work done to allow us to make a step forward this year with this car. I hope it will pay off,” he said.

Leclerc also delved into the details of his gruelling pre-season preparations, which this year took him to the Dolomites: “I did lots of physical training in the first part of the winter and I also spent a bit of time with family and friends. We did a lot of physical preparation in Italy in the Dolomites.”

“Las Vegas will be particularly special”

Leclerc is targeting success at the usual tracks. This season, he will be hoping to put the curse of Monaco to bed and finally win his home Grand Prix, whilst winning at Monza in a Ferrari is also a natural ambition. The grid will also head to Las Vegas for the first time this season, and Leclerc is already eyeing up a victory in the Nevada desert.

“Monaco and Monza like every year and Las Vegas as well because it’s a new track. I really think that it will be an exceptional Grand Prix and event. In the United States, Formula One is currently growing massively, we feel that, and so I think Las Vegas will be particularly special,” said Leclerc.

The season will get underway in Bahrain on 5th March, and Leclerc will be hoping to repeat last year’s performance by winning under the lights of Sakhir.


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Photo by Scuderia Ferrari

Forecast showers set to end record-breaking month of no rain


Not a single drop of rain fell on France for almost a month between late January and mid-February, setting a dangerous record for a phenomenon that has never been experienced before during a French winter.  

27 rainless days were recorded across France between 21st January and 17th February, according to national weather forecaster Météo France, although the worrying trend will continue well into this week for the French Riviera and Monaco.  

However, precipitation is forecast for the region, beginning Thursday 23rd and continuing for an expected five further days. Showers have been predicted for southern France, but even if the rain falls heavier elsewhere in the country, Météo France expects that the national average monthly deficit will be 50% by the end of February. 

While some of the reasons for low rainfall can be explained by the anticyclone that is currently over France, which Météo France says is “acting as a shield that pushes disturbances out of [the] territory”, this is only part of the problem.  

“Since the summer of 2021, France has indeed been experiencing a worrying meteorological drought,” says the forecaster. “Since August 2021, all months have had a rain deficit except for December 2021, June 2022 and September 2022. In addition to the lack of rain, for 12 months in a row, it has been warmer than the norm in France. The month of February could be the 13th of this unprecedented series. This is the first time since 1947 (date of the first data) that we have observed such a long series of monthly average temperatures above normal.” 

This is compounded by the lack of precipitation and snow cover in France’s mountainous regions, which is also significantly lower than normal.  

“The snow in the mountains, melting in the spring, provides an additional supply of water to the rivers near the mountains,” says Météo France. “Winter usually allows soils to soak up moisture, and groundwater and rivers to return to their usual levels. This is called the ‘recharge period’, from November to March, [and] is crucial for water stocks to be replenished.” 

Rainfall in March, April and May will be decisive in health of natural water stocks for the year to come.  


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Photo source: Daoudi Aissa for Unsplash