New Palais des Congrès to be built on Port Lympia in Nice

palais des congres nice

As one comes down, a new congress centre will soon go up on the port of Nice. The deadline for completion is the UN One Ocean Summit in 2025. 

After a few legal hurdles, the demolition of the Palais Acropolis, Nice’s former exhibition centre on the Promenade du Paillon, has begun. Now it has been announced that it will be replaced with a sleek new building on the Quai Infernet of Port Lympia.  

Nice will be working to a tight deadline. In June 2025, the city will host the United Nations One Ocean Summit. Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi, who broke the news of the new project in the port, has gone as far as to tell local press that it was the UN who “insisted the summit take place in the port”.  

More than 20,000 delegates from around the world are expected to attend the event over four days. The new congress centre, which is currently without an official name, is promising an auditorium larger in size to the Salle Apollon at the Palais Acropolis – an increase to 2,400 seats – but where all of these attendees will be housed during official events remains to be fully addressed. 

Nearly 10,000m2 of space on the port is to be fully redeveloped. According to Estrosi, the financial burden of the project, a difficult topic at the moment in Nice, will fall almost entirely on the UN, who he claims will soak up 90% of costs.  

Mutual projects to the east and west 

It had previously been suggested that the Grand Arénas area of Nice, located close to the airport and the Eco Vallée, would be the chosen site for a new exhibition centre. It appears that these plans will still go ahead, but will be complemented by the port development: “One to the west with the future exhibition centre instead of the MIN Fleurs [and] one to the east dedicated to congresses,” Estrosi told local press.  


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Photo source: Nice Côte d’Azur Metropolis


Video: Prince Albert welcomes ‘No More Time – Oceans are Life’ sculpture to Foundation headquarters

Prince Albert was joined by a number of prestigious guests on Friday for the official unveiling of a monumental sculpture by Paola Buratto Caovilla entitled ‘No More Time – Oceans are Life’.

As part of Monaco Ocean Week, selected guests gathered alongside Prince Albert II, Olivier Wenden – CEO of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, and the artist Paola Buratto Caovilla, to celebrate her impactful sculpture.

Made of resin and acrylic paint, the artist’s multi-coloured globe represents our planet and shines the spotlight on the oceans. It also has a universal message to share: there can be no future if we do not care for the environment, and protecting the oceans must be a top priority.

‘No More Time – Oceans are Life’ stems from what Paola has seen and done, but there is more to it than just experience: “In life, we must endeavour to leave our children and those who come after us a better world, where they can find happiness,” says the Italian artist. “The only message that counts is the one that tells us we must be environmentally friendly and sustainable.”

The artist says that she wanted to display ‘No More Time – Oceans are Life’ in the gardens of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation and unveil it during Monaco Ocean Week so that she could show her support for the foundation’s work and play her part in the week of ocean conservation efforts, especially those involving young people.

Princesses Maria Chiara and Maria Carolina of Bourbon Two Sicilies are the Ambassadors of the  initiative, tying in with their dedication to humanitarian causes.

Paola Buratto Caovilla is a descendant of the artist Giovanni Battista Piazzetta (1682-1754) and has a creative workshop in Veneto, Italy. She is also the author of six books that carry the common theme of embracing nature and sustainability in our lives, asking “What is the point of living comfortably if we’re not making the world a better place for those who’ll be here after we’re gone?”.

The sculpture, and its message “Oceans are Life”, will be on display until 30th April 2023.

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Photo and images by Monaco Life

France calls off King Charles’ visit amid rising national tensions


King Charles’ first official state visit as monarch has been derailed due to mass strikes and protests across France. It will be postponed to a later date, according to the office of French President Emmanuel Macron.  

Whether it was societal pressure or fears that the ongoing pension reform protests, which took a violent turn with an arson attack on the city hall of Bordeaux, a planned stop on the tour, the result is the same. 

Following a reported private telephone conversation between Macron and King Charles, the rather drastic step of postponing the visit was made on the morning of Friday 24th March, just two days before the 74-year-old monarch was due to travel to France.  

Pension reform protestors were particularly irked by plans to host a banquet at the former royal palace of Versailles, calling it out of touch with current sentiments felt across France. Another problem arose when CGT union members at the Mobilier National, an institution responsible for providing flags and furniture at public occasions, outright refused to provide any assistance in the preparations for the visit, including the red carpet expected.  

A statement from the Palais de l’Élysée, Macron’s official residence, said the visit would be rescheduled “as soon as possible” and “in conditions that correspond our friendly relations”. 

The visit had been touted as a chance for the UK and France to renew ties following recent years of tension in the run-up to and wake of Brexit. 


King Charles III faces rubbish-filled streets and transport delays on first state to visit France


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Photo: Official portrait of King Charles III

Problems at the pumps: where to find fuel during shortages

fuel shortage france

Motorists are the latest victims of the pension reform protests as fuel shortages cause long lines at the pumps. Here’s how to find service stations with fuel available.

The pension reform protests continue to create chaos. Petrol shortages are being felt all over France, with the southeast, including the Alpes-Maritimes and the Var, being exceptionally hard hit.  

To try and ease some of the pressure and to alert motorists to which service stations have supplies, the government has put out an interactive map that lists all stations and informs the public about not just availability, but prices as well.  

As a reminder, the current conditions have prompted some local authorities, including those on the French Riviera, to limit the average driver to 30 litres per visit. 

Click here for the website.  


Fuel limits imposed on the French Riviera as shortages worsen


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Photo by Monaco Life


Thousands of undeclared swimming pools in the south of France discovered by AI technology

france swimming pool

More than €10 million in previously unpaid taxes have poured into state coffers following the discovery of thousands of undeclared and illegal swimming pools.

For a year beginning in October 2021, the Direction Générale des Finances Publiques (DGFIP) used artificial intelligence and satellite images to detect undeclared – and often illegally built – swimming pools in nine parts of France: Alpes-Maritimes, Var, Bouches-du-Rhône, Ardèche, Rhône, Haute-Savoie, Morbihan, Maine-et-Loire and Vendée.  

In total, 20,000 such swimming pools were detected in these areas. Just over 5,000 were uncovered in the French Riviera, while the Bouches-du-Rhône proved to be the biggest offender, with more than 7,000 slipping through the net of tax authorities until last year.  

Together these three departments, all found in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, have added an estimated €4.8 million to state coffers since the pool owners in question began making the correct tax contributions. Overall, the amount generated by the scheme is in the region of €10 million.  

Three million private swimming pools in France 

France now has over three million private pools on its books, meaning just shy of 4% of households own pools. In some parts of the country, particularly in the PACA region, the percentage is much higher. The Var has over 100,000 private swimming pools – the largest concentration of any French department – while Roquefort-les-Pins in the Alpes-Maritimes is something of a hotspot for private swimming: for its 7,000 homes, there are 2,000 pools.  


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Photo source: Adheesha Paranagama for Unsplash