Babek Kebab: the new fast-casual restaurant in Monaco by Riccardo Giraudi

Monaco’s foodie entrepreneur Riccardo Giraudi has done it again, this time bringing the beloved Greek kebab to Monaco with his new fast-food concept, Babek.

Whether you call it a kebab, or a souvlaki, chances are you are craving one of these international favourites right now.

That’s what restauranteur and entrepreneur Riccardo Giraudi is banking on with the launch of his latest ‘fast-casual’ food concept.

Located on rue Princesse Caroline in Monaco, Babek Kebab features an open kitchen with a traditional tandoor oven to bake the restaurant’s fresh flatbreads. Customers can choose their own garnishes, from spit-roasted veal to crunchy falafels, and all the classic toppings including a signature Babek sauce. There are also some delicious sides which we will let you discoveer for yourself!

“Here, nothing is superfluous – no fresh cheese or aromatic herbs to look pretty. Just taste, freshness, and quality in a playful and quirky atmosphere,” the restaurant’s marketing claims. “Babek is the new hot spot in Monaco that will delight everyone. Meet every day to discover a new culinary genre, and generous and gourmet street food.”

Riccardo Giraudi and his company, Giraudi Group, are behind some of Monaco’s most successful restaurants, including Beefbar, Song Qi, Mozza, and Grubers Monaco, another fast-casual concept.

Sign up for the Monaco Life newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram. 



Interview: Restaurant guru Riccardo Giraudi


Photo credit: Cedou


How did Monaco and the French Riviera rate in the 2023 Michelin Guide?

The 2023 Michelin Guide was presented on Monday, revealing that one restaurant in the French Riviera has picked up its first Michelin star, while further accolades have been awarded to the region’s most prized restaurants including Mirazur and Le Louis XV.

The world of gastronomy’s most coveted accolades were handed out on Monday during a special ceremony in Strasbourg in front of 1,500 guests, including 550 chefs and 300 students.

Making the cut in this year’s Michelin Guide are 630 starred tables across France and Monaco, including 44 new additions in France: one three-star, four two-star and 39 one-star restaurants.

In a major nod to the fine dining restaurants in Monaco and the French Riviera, all of the relevant establishments kept their stars, including three-starred Le Louis XV – Alain Ducasse at the Hôtel de Paris, and Le Blue Bay at the Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel and Resort, which last year picked up its second Michelin star.

Pavyllon Monte-Carlo, a restaurant by Yannick Alléno at the Hôtel Hermitage, retained its star, as did Le Grill in the Hôtel de Paris, La Table d’Antonio Salvatore and Yoshi at the Hôtel Metropole.

Surrounding Monaco, La Chèvre d’Or in Eze, Hostellerie Jérôme in La Turbie, and Flaveur in Nice had their two Michelin stars confirmed for another year, while Mirazur by Mauro Colagreco in Menton maintained its three Michelin stars and one Michelin Green Star. The restaurant’s Pastry Chef Marius Dufay also helped the Mirazur pick up a prize in the Passion Desserts category this year.

The only restaurant in the French Riviera to receive its first Michelin Star is Château Eza in Eze (pictured above), a 50-seat gourmet restaurant in the medieval hilltop village offering refined French and Mediterranean cuisine prepared by Chef Justin Schmitt, and exquisite views over the coastline.

Meanwhile, Claire Sonnet from Le Louis XV – Alain Ducasse in Monaco received the Service Prize, delivered by the culinary legend himself.

Sign up for the Monaco Life newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 


Photo source Chateau Eza

Formula 1: Three reasons to be optimistic about Charles Leclerc’s season

Charles Leclerc was forced to retire from the Formula 1 curtain-raiser in Bahrain with a technical issue, but Ferrari come away from the Gulf state with more positives than negatives.

The Monegasque driver won under the night lights of the Sakhir circuit last season to get his title challenge off to the best possible start. However, it wasn’t to be this time around.

Despite a lightning reaction time at lights out, Leclerc was reeled in by Sergio Perez midway through the race. The Monegasque was still on course for a comfortable podium but for a technical failure, which put pay to his chances of scoring points. But there is reason to be optimistic for Ferrari and Leclerc fans.

Intelligent and pragmatic decision-making

Poorly conceived strategic calls were one of the main factors behind Ferrari’s and Leclerc’s mid-season capitulation in 2022. The man responsible for those calls, Mattia Binotto, was replaced in the off-season by Frédéric Vasseur.

The early signs of his reign as Ferrari team principal were very encouraging. He made a difficult, but ultimately beneficial call to only send Leclerc out for one flying lap in Q3 on Saturday, allowing the prancing horse brand to conserve a set of unused soft tyres for the race.

That call optimised Ferrari’s chances of a result in the race, and it was a strategy that would have paid dividends if not for Leclerc’s loss of power. As Leclerc said post-retirement, third place was the best that Ferrari could have hoped for, and they would have achieved it.

Photo of Frédéric Vasseur from Scuderia Ferrari Press Office

Vasseur and Leclerc first met when the latter was karting back in 2012. They have since worked together at Sauber back in 2018, and have a healthy working relationship. Having a positive dynamic between the team principal and the lead driver will be critical in facilitating the in-season development of the car and optimising performance.

Ferrari best-of-the-rest

Leclerc’s teammate, Carlos Sainz, may have surrendered thrid-place to Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso during Sunday’s race in Bahrain, but Ferrari looked like the only team capable of getting anywhere near Red Bull.

Leclerc was unchallenged for large parts of the race, and Sainz was only reeled in when he started suffering problems in his Ferrari and began complaining of “bouncing.”

Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari from Scuderia Ferrrari Press Office

The overall outlook is, therefore, positive for Ferrari. They aren’t as quick as Red Bull, as predicted, but they seem faster than the Aston Martin and the Mercedes. Should Red Bull make strategic errors or suffer from technical issues, Ferrari are best placed to profit from their misfortune and score race wins.

The season is yet young

Last season, Ferrari were considerably faster than their rivals, notably the Red Bull in Bahrain. By mid-season that had changed. Max Verstappen and Red Bull had the quicker car and were reaping the rewards. By the end of the season, Ferrari were out of the picture and Mercedes, who were scrapping in the midfield at the start of the campaign, were challenging for wins, with George Russell clinching victory in Brazil.

Performance differs over the course of the season, teams can jump up the grid, or fall down it. Those rises and falls will be exacerbated in what is the longest-ever season of Formula One racing. There are 23 races in 2023, including the inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix later in the year. That gives Ferrari plenty of time to catch up and challenge for wins.

Should Ferrari’s in-season car development outmatch Red Bull’s, and there is no reason for this not to be the case, the Italian manufacturer could have closed the gap by the time the European season arrives.

Red Bull were imperious in Bahrain, and that will likely remain the case in the upcoming races. However, the season is yet young, and the title isn’t decided in one race. In this most elongated of seasons, Leclerc has plenty of time to put himself in contention for the title.


Sign up for the Monaco Life newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram. 

Photo from Scuderia Ferrari press centre

“Coordination, confidence and cooperation”: Monaco and Andorra strengthen bilateral commitments

monaco and andorra

Monegasque Minister of State Pierre Dartout was in Andorra last week for an official visit that aimed to cement the ties between two of Europe’s smallest nations as well as discuss their complex parallel negotiations with the EU.   

Monaco and Andorra have much in common. Both are seen as European microstates with interesting tax systems that make them incredibly attractive places to be. They are also both long-standing principalities, with certain autonomies and unique places within the European system.  

On 2nd and 3rd March, Pierre Dartout, the Principality’s Minister of State, made an official visit to Andorra and was welcomed there by Head of Government Xavier Espot Zamora. The trip came on the heels of the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the two states last year, which focused on friendship, cooperation and a bilateral tax agreement.  

During their meeting, Dartout and Zamora spoke notably on the efforts being made to deepen ties, notably in the realms of education digital technology, cybercrime prevention and tourism. Additionally, they highlighted ongoing mutual schemes, including the fight against malnutrition in Madagascar, which they have co-supported since 2009.  

“Our co-financing allows us to support high-impact operations to improve the living conditions of the most vulnerable people,” said Dartout on the subject.  

One major topic touched on involved the continuing talks both nations have with the European Union to normalise their status, not as full Member States, but as what’s being termed “Associate States”, which will allow their respective autonomies to continue, but will also provide certain frameworks and protection for all sides.  

At a joint press conference, Dartout raised the question of approval from Monegasque citizens on this style of status and called for an impact study to be conducted. Zamora agreed to an extent, but countered: “Sometimes, another aspect must be taken into account, which is what would happen or what will happen to our countries if we say no to the association agreement with the European Union.”  

Dartout continued, “We have in common this desire to preserve our specificities. We do not wish to become a Member State, but an Associated State of the European Union. Like Andorra, we must have these differences recognised, which are the result of our history and our geography, and which are our strength.”  

At the end of the press conference, Dartout summed up what seems to have been a mostly successful exchange, saying, “Coordination, confidence and cooperation… These ‘3 Cs’ sum up the spirit of our bilateral exchanges.”  

The Minister was accompanied by Isabelle Berro-Amadeï, Government Counsellor-Minister of External Relations and Cooperation, and Isabelle Costa, High Commissioner for European Affairs. Monaco’s Véronique Campan, Technical Advisor in charge of the Europe Unit, was also in attendance.   


Sign up for the Monaco Life newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 


Photo source: Monaco Communications Department

Photos: “To Catch a Thief” villa goes up for sale for €3.6 million

to catch a thief villa

The villa that provided the spectacular backdrop to some of the most iconic scenes in Alfred Hitchcock’s “To Catch a Thief” starring Princess Grace and Cary Grant has gone up for sale with Côte d’Azur Sotheby’s International Realty.  

With its stunning views of the Mediterranean, Nice and the Baou de Saint Jeannet, Villa Les Bolovens would be a prize to any buyer looking for something truly special in the French Riviera, but it is the property’s unique history that is grabbing headlines.  

In 1954, celebrated filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock selected the Côte d’Azur as the location for one of his most famous films, “To Catch a Thief”. It starred Grace Kelly, later Princess Grace of Monaco and the mother of current sovereign Prince Albert II, alongside Cary Grant. She would meet her future husband, Prince Rainier III, at the Cannes Film Festival the following year. 

Cary Grant and Grace Kelly, later Princess Grace of Monaco, at Villa Les Bolovens during the shooting of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1945 “To Catch a Thief”

Villa Les Bolovens features throughout the film, but perhaps most notably in the final scene: the kiss. According to Sotheby’s, the agency in charge of the sale, the villa’s “successive owners have always maintained it in a way that perpetuates the charm filmed by the British director”. 

“To Catch a Thief” would go on to win an Oscar for Best Cinematography in 1956 and was also nominated for Best Set; a node to the beauty of the location chosen for the film.  

The seven-bed property, which was built in 1935, has been listed for €3.6 million. It comes with 5,000m2 of land, a swimming pool, exceptional sea views and a caretaker’s house alongside the main property.  

For more information, please click here.  


Sign up for the Monaco Life newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 


Photos courtesy of Côte d’Azur Sotheby’s International Realty

How Monaco’s new digital real estate tool is shaping understanding of this exclusive market

monaco real estate tool dashboard

Monaco Statistics has launched an interactive real estate “dashboard” tool that breaks down the data on the Principality’s varied property market, providing fresh insight neighbourhood-by-neighbourhood.   

Real estate is big business in Monaco, but despite the country’s small size, not every neighbourhood is the same. To help people better understand what is happening in the area they live or are looking to buy in, Monaco Statistics – also known as IMSEE – has created a handy dashboard to make pinpointing information on specific parts of the Principality simpler.  

This easy-to-use interactive tool allows users to select the place they are interested in and with just one click, the dashboard displays data such as the number of recent property sales in the area, surface area occupied by housing, the average price per-square-meter, property value rises and falls over the last decade, a general overview of the market, and more. 

For example, if a person was interested in Fontvieille, they could use the dashboard to clearly see that there were 44 resales in 2022, with a median price of €55,300 per-square-metre, and that this rate has gone up by 54.6% since 2013.  

The dashboard was created in collaboration with the government’s Digital Services Department.  

To try it for yourself, please click here.  



Monaco Real Estate: New build sales top €1 billion for first time ever

Monaco Real Estate: A resilient market returns to near record-breaking levels


Sign up for the Monaco Life newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 


Photo by IMSEE