Gazelles Rally: Womens cross-country rally to depart from Monaco in a race to Morocco

gazelles rally

From a start line on the Place du Palais, this weekend will see eight teams from the Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles du Maroc’s 100% electric categories depart on a two-week cross-terrain race to Essaouïra. 

Racing officially begins on Saturday 4th March for the 32rd edition of the Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles du Maroc, often called the Gazelles Rally. Monaco has the honour of hosting the start line event for two of the competing categories – the e-Gazelle Innovation and e-Gazelle Auto – at 9.30am while Nice will see competitors from the 4×4, Crossover and SSV-Quad groups depart from the Promenade des Anglais later the same day at 3pm. 

In total, 380 women aged between 20 and 64, and representing 10 countries worldwide will be taking part in the cross-country rally, which has its sights set on an arrival in the Moroccan city of Essaouïra on 18th March after hitting Sète in France then the hinterland of Morocco following a sea-transfer.  

The two 100% electric categories were a first in the world of raid rallying when they were launched in 2017 with the support of the Fondation Prince Albert II.  

The vehicles competing this year include buggies and prototypes as well as a Volvo XC40 Recharge. Each will be closely monitored in order to “measure and optimise their performance, range and charging conditions”, the latter of which will be made possible thanks to a mobile photovoltaic charging point.  

A Monegasque team and a duo from the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur will be taking part in the e-racing, and it will be possible to meet with the teams departing Monaco ahead of the 9.30am start time.  

To find out more about the Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles du Maroc, please click here.  


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Photo source: Gazelles Rally / Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles du Maroc

The city of Nice and its low-risk, high-profit potential for real estate investors

nice real estate

Properties in Nice, one of the Top 10 investment cities in France for real estate according to a new report, are a hot commodity. Is it time to get in on the action?

Buying investment properties may seem like risky business, but in the case of Nice, it is far less so, according to a new report put out by last week. In the report, the capital of the Côte d’Azur came out as the sixth most recommended in France for real estate investment and particularly as a rental venture.

The criteria for selecting the best investment cities included several factors, such as the gross rental yield, meaning the ratio between the annual rent that can be expected by the landlord before taxes and charges, and the average purchase price of property in the city. The more this rate is, the more profitable the investment is expected to be.

It also considered the ease of finding tenants, how long it takes for owners to sell their homes in the area, and the ratio between the total number of sellers and buyers in the locale.

In the case of Nice, despite having rather a high per-square-metre cost, hovering at €5,045/m2, the rental rate per-square-metre was a solid €18.10, making it the highest in the top eight cities on the list.

It takes only 70 days on average to sell a property in Nice, which is reasonable on the national scale, and the rental market is off the charts, with very high demand making leasing a property extremely easy.

Nice’s appeal goes beyond the obvious beaches and blue skies. It boasts plentiful cultural sites and establishments, high-quality and varied dining options, excellent local transportation and a close proximity to Italy, Monaco and Cannes.

Marseille, France’s second largest city, came in first position in the report.


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Photo source: Joachim Lesne for Unsplash 


Photos: Incredible €46 million glass house hits the market in St. Jean Cap Ferrat

A villa made entirely of glass and stainless steel in the ultra-luxurious town of St. Jean Cap Ferrat has gone on the market for €46 million. Monaco Life takes you inside this Jean Nouvel-designed masterpiece.

With Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild as its neighbour, this spacious property on the western coastline of the most sought-after peninsula in France already commands attention.

But the dramatically modern villa is exceptional in itself.

Designed by award-winning French architect Jean Nouvel, the modern residence incorporates linear elements with a unique use of material to create a building that seamlessly integrates with its surroundings, and where space and views reign supreme.

The €46 million property is for sale with Savills French Riviera. Photo courtesy Savills

“I have always had a keen interest in the works designed by Jean Nouvel and meeting him allowed me to better understand his talent,” says the anonymous property owner, who has entrusted the sale of the villa to Savills.

It was this meeting that led to a collaboration between the pair, which the owner confirms was “a truly interactive relationship which allowed for the exchange of ideas and concepts, ultimately allowing for the creation of this exceptional residence”.

The villa spans 4,000 square metres and offers direct views across the Bay of Villefranche.

The property boasts uninterrupted views of the Bay of Villefranche. Photo courtesy Savills

The intelligent use of steel and glass, together with limited divisional walls, ensures an open atmosphere to the property, where one spacious room flows onto another, all while taking in the unspoilt Mediterranean views.

“Such intelligent use of glass, stainless steel, shaded vines and minimal internal divisional walls ensures the sea remains the constant view throughout the home and acts as a captivating backdrop to this luxuriously dramatic villa,” says Savills agent Cyrille Jalon.

The property includes nearly 600sqm of accommodation including a double height reception room, six bedrooms, two elegant swimming pools, and a five-car garage.

It has an asking price of €46 million and is listed with Savills.


Click on the images below to see more photos of the property…

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Monaco Real Estate: The private new builds that are changing Monaco’s landscape

All photos courtesy of Savills.

Fears of water scarcity and widespread drought mount in France

drought france

As the record dry spell continues and fears mount of what a drought in France this summer will bring, local authorities in the French Riviera are taking anticipatory measures concerning water usage. 

As France approaches 40 days with little appreciable rainfall, meaning less than one millimetre a day, the French government and local authorities are taking matters to hand.  

Christophe Béchu, the Minister of Ecological Transition, will meet on Monday with the prefects who coordinate the seven biggest water basins in France so they can begin to plan for the “problems of water scarcity” that most regions will be confronted with this summer. A follow-up with all prefects will be held on 6th March.  

His early advice is to take water-saving actions now to anticipate the future shortages. Four departments, including the Var, are already under water restriction conditions and the situation is expected to intensify.  

“The situation is more serious than this time last year and we are two months late in recharging groundwater,” said Béchu, adding that France “will have between 10% and 40% less water available” in the years to come.  

In Fayence, in the Var, the authorities have pre-empted trouble to an extent by halting all new building permit applications for four years, noting that they already do not have sufficient groundwater supplies to take care of the current population.  

Winter is usually when France’s water table is stocked up, so this lack of rainfall, following by what many expect to be a particularly hot and dry summer, is cause for alarm.  

Last year, the World Weather Attribution Service said that drought in the Northern Hemisphere was at least 20 times more likely now due to climate change. They went on to warn that such extreme dry periods would become increasingly common with global warming. 


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


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Photo source: Christine Sandu for Unsplash

Football: Monaco sign partnership with auctioning giant Catawiki

AS Monaco and Catawiki, the leading online auction platform, have signed a partnership that will allow supporters to regularly participate in auctions to purchase unique Monaco memorabilia.

The partnership will allow increased fan engagement by facilitating regular online auctions of unique pieces, often worn during Monaco matches and later signed by the players.

PSG-Monaco auction

To mark the beginning of Monaco’s collaboration with Catawiki, a special auction has been launched. All 11 players that started in Les Monégasques’ 3-0 victory against Paris Saint-Germain earlier in February will sign a shirt, which will then be auctioned. Also included in the lot is an exclusive private visit to the club’s performance centre in La Turbie. The money raised will then go towards supporting the Flavien Foundation, a Monegasque organisation committed to fighting against pediatric cancers and supported by the two clubs during their Ligue 1 encounter.

In collaborating with Amsterdam-based Catawiki, Monaco have joined a group of partners that also includes cycling team Jumbo Visma, who auctioned their Tour de France 2022 bicycles last year, as well as record-breaking marathon runner Eliud Kipchoge.

“We are happy to welcome Catawiki to the family of AS Monaco partners. Thanks to this collaboration, we will be able to give all of our supporters the opportunity to treat themselves to unique collector’s items and exclusive products related to the club,” said Monaco’s director of sponsorships, Adrien Zannettacci, in a press release.

The demand for sports memorabilia is growing, making Monaco’s partnership with Catawiki a mutually beneficial one, and one which will give Les Monégasques’ millions of fans worldwide the chance to interact further with their club.


Prince’s Palace glows orange for Flavien Foundation


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Photo by AS Monaco

Watch out, the season of the noxious pine processionary caterpillar has begun

processionary caterpillar

The pine processionary caterpillar has returned to the region, pre-empting spring by several weeks and leading authorities to warn people of the dangers these potentially fatal creatures can have to pets and themselves. 

There has been a recent inundation of pine processionary caterpillars in Monaco, as well as across southern France, and their return has made taking a stroll in the woods or parks rather a dangerous enterprise.  

The pine processionary caterpillar is hard to miss. They can reach 40mm in length and have a distinctive orange-brown pattern on their bodies that is interspersed with black bands. They are also covered in fine, light-coloured quills that are highly irritating to mammals. Contact with them is uncomfortable at best and fatal at worst. 

Their most distinguishing feature is their mode of travel. Once they’ve left their nest, they “walk” in single file and, since last Thursday, there have been numerous sightings of these processions in Monaco, notably near the pine trees in Port Hercule, in the UNESCO gardens, and near Monte-Carlo Beach Club.  

“You have to be careful when walking the dog during this period,” Doctor Isabelle Basson-Blanchi from the Fontvieille Veterinary Clinic told Monaco Matin. “Dogs, especially puppies and large dogs, tend to pick up these caterpillars with their mouths. The stinging hairs, which are especially poisonous for the animal, cause oedema of the tongue. If it is not treated in time or in the right way, then the tongue becomes necrotic. Necrosis is irreversible. If it is a small piece of tongue missing, it is not very serious, but if the necrosis takes up all the organ, the animal is unable to feed itself.” 

The caterpillars can provoke similar reactions in cats and other mammals. Reactions in humans who come into contact with the caterpillar’s hairs include severe and aggressive rashes and eye irritation.  

In Monaco, treatments to kill off these caterpillars were implemented in November and December by the Urban Planning Department using a Bacillus thuringiensis spray. This spray is a pesticide that is considered safe for humans and doesn’t cause harm to ancillary insects like bees and ladybugs. Unfortunately, the parent moths were exceptionally prolific this winter season and the spread of the caterpillars has been substantial.  

Cap d’Ail is also seeing an infestation and the local authorities have enacted a series of emergency treatments, which include placing large sand-filled bags around the bases of trees, which trap the caterpillars before they can reach the ground. They have also resorted to cutting down and burning tree branches with large populations of the insects. Spraying near the Tête de Chien is taking place and spaces near schools have also been treated to avoid any unnecessary contact with curious children.  

“We were surprised by their sudden profusion this week,” Marc Traphagen, the deputy mayor of Cap d’Ail and the official in charge of green spaces, public parks and leisure facilities, told Monaco Matin. “Usually, they arrive in April. The mild temperatures, abnormally high for the period, may explain the phenomenon.”  

Though avoidance is the best way to stop pets from being affected, if they are, go directly to the vet. The signs to look for are excessive drooling and swelling of the tongue. They can be successfully treated, but only with fast action. If help is far away, ice or peppermint drops can be given to limit swelling until help is reached. People should seek advise from a doctor.



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Photo source: Noah Boyer for Unsplash