Monaco court turns down Pastor bid to halt Esplanade des Pêcheurs project

esplanade des pecheurs

A judge has dismissed a motion brought by Patrice Pastor’s SCI Esperanza that sought to overturn the decommissioning of the controversial Esplanade des Pêcheurs plot.  

The Esplanade des Pêcheurs saga is nearly 10 years in the making without even a single brick having been laid. Now the path has been cleared for construction to begin, following the dismissal of a case brought by SCI Esperanza, which is run and managed by developer Patrice Pastor, that hoped to negate a decision and law passed last year by the National Council.

The law in question allows the State to benefit financially from private developments as well as securing more much-needed housing for Monegasque citizens.

Pastor and SCI Esperanza had taken umbrage with several elements of the Esplanade des Pêcheurs project and the recent law, namely the “lack of competition” and tender process in handing the plot over to the Caroli Group, and that the development is not in the public interest. All points were dismissed by the sitting judge, Didier Linotte, reports Monaco Matin.

Where do the issues with the Esplanade des Pêcheurs project originate?

There was very little mention of the Caroli Group during the hearing – this case was a direct disagreement between the State and SCI Esperanza – and it appears that any previous ructions between the Caroli Group and the Monegasque government have been put to bed.

In 2014, the State and the Société Monégasque d’Etudes et des Gestion Immobilières, now known as the Caroli Group, signed a memorandum of understanding regarding a large-scale project on the Esplanade des Pêcheurs and the government was set to submit a bill to the National Council to decommission the land. This never materalised and, less than a year later, the State withdrew all plans.

The Caroli Group was outraged and sought financial retribution to the tune of €423 million. In 2020, Monaco’s court ultimately ruled that the State should pay the developer €137 million plus interest since the filing of the claim in 2018.

Prince Albert II was forced to step in and called on his government to find a more amicable solution. This took the form of a modified project, which included premises for the State and a smaller private building than the one proposed.

As it stands today, there has been no construction work on the Esplanade des Pêcheurs.

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Photo source: Caroli Group

French Senators pass pension reform as unions plan more strike action

President Emmanuel Macron’s unpopular pension reform plan is one step closer to becoming a reality after the French Senate on Saturday adopted the bill

The upper house of the French Parliament voted 195 for and 112 votes against the text in the wake of a seventh day of nationwide demonstrations against the plan on 10th March.

The law, which aims to raise the retirement age by two years to 64, will now be reviewed by a joint committee of lower and upper house lawmakers on Wednesday.

“An important step was taken this evening with a broad vote on the pension reform text in the Senate,” French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said after the vote, adding that she believed the government had a parliamentary majority to get the reforms passed into law.

If the committee agrees on a text, a final vote in both chambers could take place as soon as Thursday, but the outcome of that still seems uncertain in the lower chamber – the National Assembly – where Macron’s party needs allies’ votes for a majority.

If the government fears it won’t have enough votes in the lower house, it could deploy a rarely used and highly controversial tool, known as the 49:3 procedure, to push legislation through without a vote.

Unions call for strikes to continue

Between the rolling strikes of certain sectors, including train services, and the unions’ call for mobilization on Wednesday 15th March, further disruptions are to be expected this week.

For the eighth time since the start of the social movement, the unions are calling on French people to take to the streets on Wednesday, the day that the joint committee will review the text.

Disruptions are expected particularly in the transport, education and energy sectors.


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Photo source: Union Locale CGT Cannes


Prince Rainier III: A series of major events set to commemorate the centenary of the Builder Prince’s birth

prince rainier III

Ahead of the 100th anniversary of her father’s birth, Princess Stephanie has revealed details about the main events that will celebrate Prince Rainier III. From a gala ball to a concert in New York, there’s plenty planned for the coming year.  

Known as the Builder Prince, Prince Rainier III’s reign was marked by many changes that modernised Monaco, leaving a legacy that is still very much felt today. It is well known that he was instrumental in the creation of both Fontvieille and Larvotto, clawing back land from the sea to expand the territory, but he was also a social trailblazer, putting in place a new constitution and making Monaco an international destination, notably through his marriage to Grace Kelly, who then became his Princess.   

He also can be credited with the establishment of several of the Principality’s best-known events and organisations, including the Monte-Carlo Television Festival and the Monte-Carlo International Circus Festival. 

2023 marks the centenary of his birth: 31st May 1923  

In his honour, his daughter Princess Stéphanie has put together a programme of events that will celebrate this remarkable man. 

“This is the culmination of several months of work,” Princess Stéphanie told the local press. “The first events will take place at the end of May… I think we are going to have a great year paying tribute to my dad.”  

Planned events

The calendar of events kicks off on 31st May in a day of tribute for Monegasques and residents. This date will also see the launch of an exhibition entitled ‘The Prince at Home’, which will be displayed in the Grand Apartments of the Palais Princier de Monaco. Various other exhibitions, such as ‘Prince Rainier III, A Sailor Above All’ at the Yacht Club de Monaco and the ‘100 Years of Metamorphosis of the Casino Square’ in Monaco’s Carré d’Or, will also celebrate his legacy. 

June will see a concert by the Rainier III Academy of Music on 14th, a conference by friend Jacques Boisson on 15th, and a special concert by the Carabinieri Orchestra at the United Nations in New York on 19th. 

In July, Monaco’s technical and hospitality school will be renamed the Prince Rainier III School, complete with a ceremony and special unveiling of a bust.  

On 21st October, the Centennial Ball will be held at the Monte-Carlo Casino as a moment that heralds back to the glorious days of parties and balls hosted by Prince Rainier III and Princess Grace.  

A National Day event involving the 1st Tirailleurs Regiment, with whom Prince Rainier III served at the end of the Second World War, will take place on 19th November.  

In addition to these official events, many Monaco institutions and establishments will organise their own complementary occasions. A documentary film about his life is being put together, the Oceanographic Museum will toast his links to Jacques Cousteau, the Yacht Club is putting on a feature highlighting his love of boats, and a vintage car parade will celebrate his passion for automobiles.  

What’s most important to all the organisers involved is inclusiveness, which they hope will culminate in side-events put on by individuals that will complement the official schedule. 

“The idea is to show everything he has done for our country and which still benefits some people today,” said Princess Stéphanie. “He was an incredible man and a wonderful dad, even if sometimes I missed him because he worked a lot. He also considered all the other Monegasques as his children.”  

For the full schedule, please click here.


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Photo courtesy of the Palais Princier de Monaco




Football: Barren AS Monaco run continues

AS Monaco are four games without a win in all competitions after Stade de Reims took the three points away from the Stade Louis II (0-1) on Sunday. 

Les Monégasques’ season has come off the rails since their Europa League exit against Bayer Leverkusen in February. Since that defeat, Monaco are yet to win, and they continued their poor run of form against Reims. The Principality club’s winless run now extends to four games.

Woodwork to the rescue

Monaco were the last team to beat Reims in Ligue 1, and since Will Still took the helm in September, the club have been imperious. However, it was the Monegasques who had the better chances, despite a lack of possession.

Wissam Ben Yedder’s dinked finish beat Yehvann Diouf, but not the post. Just the other side of the break, Vanderson then went close, but he hit the other post. Monaco were knocking on the door, but Reims would break it down through Folarin Balogun.

The Englishman, currently on loan from Arsenal, broke clear of the Monaco defenders and beat Alexander Nübel with a strongly-hit effort. Balogun could have had a second after pouncing on a Malang Sarr error, but this time Nübel was equal to the attempt.

Record-breaking Will Still

However, Monaco couldn’t create any chances of their own and therefore succumbed to a logical defeat. Les Monégasques drop off the podium and are now three points away from third-placed RC Lens.

Reims are currently on the longest unbeaten run in Europe’s top five divisions. Only former PSG manager Thomas Tuchel has had a longer unbeaten start to life in Ligue 1.

Monaco are in dire need of constructing a run of their own.

“It’s up to us to get our heads back up and work hard to turn our luck around. It’s not a question of desire, but we showed that today,” said Philippe Clement post-match.

The Principality club travel to relegation-struggling Ajaccio next Sunday, where only a win will do.


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Photo by AS Monaco

Photos: Prince Albert II traces Grimaldi footsteps in small town of Ollioules

ollioules prince albert

The pretty Var town of Ollioules has been inducted into the network of the Historic Sites of the Grimaldis of Monaco following a visit from Prince Albert II, who met with villagers and high-fived local schoolchildren.  

A visit by Prince Albert II to a small medieval town known for quaint charms such as its olive trees and amazing Romanesque church would be an event in itself, but the Prince coming to honour his family ties is cause for real celebration.  

Prince Albert recently spent time in Ollioules in the Var doing just that. He was invited by Mayor Robert Bénéventi, local officials and the people of the village upon learning that an ancestor of the Prince, Charles Grimaldi, the Bishop of Rodez, was buried there in 1770.  

To commemorate the visit and the day, a funeral plaque was laid and a ceremony held for the Bishop. A sign indicating that Ollioules is now part of the Historic Sites of the Grimaldis of Monaco network – a collection of towns, villages and cities that have had direct ties to the Grimaldi family over the centuries – was also unveiled.  

The Prince clearly enjoyed his visit, meeting with locals and shaking hands whilst heading toward Charles Grimaldi’s former country house, which has since become the town’s school. Upon arrival at the school, 228 children were assembled to greet him. The Prince, as a father of young children himself, was completely at ease, eschewing handshakes for high-fives to the delight of all.  

Prince Albert made mention of the former home now being a seat of education, saying, “I am very happy that what was the Grimaldi country house is now a school because our gaze towards history only has meaning if it helps us to project ourselves to the future and transmit its reason for living to our youth.”

Olives are a key feature of the Ollioules landscape and were on the mind of the Sovereign, who spoke about the “symbolism of peace of the branches of the olive tree”.  

“I will also underline the importance of the roots of this tree, which expresses the longevity of memory and the strength of memory and fidelity. For it is indeed fidelity that brings us together here in the finest tradition of southern sociability,” he added.  

Before his departure, he was made an honorary citizen of the town by the mayor, who offered him an olive tree as a remembrance gift.  

“I will remember above all, the symbolism of peace of the olive branches; a peace that is not a given, unfortunately. Never take it for granted,” the Prince summarised.  

In all, it was a day the people of Ollioules will not soon forget.  


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Photos courtesy of Mika Alesi and the Palais Princier de Monaco

Video of mini car flipping on famous F1 Fairmont Hairpin goes viral

Watch the moment the driver of a Citroën Ami flips his car at the famous Fairmont Hairpin bend and narrowly misses pedestrians in a video that has gone viral.

The Citroën Ami has a top speed of 45km/h and can be driven in France without a driving license from the age of 14.

Meanwhile, the Fairmont Hairpin is a famous section of the Monaco Grand Prix, and even F1 drivers are forced to slow down at its approach.

In a YouTube video shot over the weekend, the car is captured travelling at a dangerously high speed into the bend a number of times, forcing the car onto only two wheels. On its final lap, the light car flips, slides and crashes into the concrete barriers that line the Fairmont Hotel sidewalk, narrowly missing pedestrians.

According to reports, the 16-year-old male driver and his 22-year-old male passenger – both French – were taken to the Princess Grace Hospital Centre with minor injuries.

The accident has been captured from a number of different angles and shared extensively on social media.

While the makers of the video have made light of the incident, the driver of the vehicle is likely to face criminal charges given the dangerous nature of his driving and the threat it posed to the public.

See the video on the Monaco Life instagram page below…


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