Five Padel Cup: “Padel is not only a sport, it is a way of living”

Sébastien Squillaci and Gaël Givet at the Five Padel Cup

Perched up in the hills of Èze, the inaugural edition of the Five Padel Cup brought the region together for a “celebration” of one of the fastest-growing sports in France and Monaco. 

On a temperate and sunny Spring day at the Èze Tennis Club, Italians, French and Monégasques congregate around tables of food and drink, whilst in the background, faint but discernable sounds of Padel racquets, held by players both old and young, can be heard. This is the essence of Padel, described by organiser Antonella Lanfranco as “a sport that brings people together”.

Padel is one of the fastest-growing sports in France, and the interest in the event, attended by former professional football players such as Sébastien Squillaci, Gaël Givet and Gianluca Zambrotta, attests to that. “It’s blowing up in France,” says Squillaci who, as part of the Barbaguians, is more accustomed to a football pitch than a Padel court.

For the former France defender, it is the accessibility of the sport that is lending it its popularity. “It’s a sport that you can enjoy even if you aren’t at peak physical fitness. I’ve never even played tennis, and very quickly, I was having fun with it,” he said.

Sébastien Squillaci at the Five Padel Cup by Luke Entwistle, Monaco Life

“It’s a sport that brings people together”

For Lanfranco, the organiser of this inaugural Five Padel Cup, the two-day event in Èze, which concluded on Wednesday, was about “celebrating the universality of the sport”.

“Padel is growing massively in Italy, but in France and in Monaco as well. We are wanting to celebrate the universality of this sport,” she said.

“It is becoming very popular. Playing Padel is very easy, even if you don’t play tennis. You really get a taste for it after just one match. Everyone can have fun with it. It is also a convivial sport because you play as a four, and after the match, there is an aperitif, so it’s a bit of a way of living. It is accepted that not everyone can play well, and I think that is one of the key aspects of the sport,” Lanfranco told Monaco Life. 

Gaël Givet wins in mixed VIP/Wheelchair tournament

The Five Padel tournament consisted of, as the name suggests, five different categories. Niccolò Coppola and Monteiro de Abreu Tiago won the Youth tournament, Federica Gottardi and Carlotta Gambaro won the Women’s tournament, whilst in the tournament dedicated to manager and sports personalities, Scagnolo Sandro and Salvatore Ferri prevailed.

Photo of Gaël Givet by Luke Entwistle, Monaco Life

Alessandro Lupi, a former professional football player and Jimmy Ghione, a TV reporter, won the VIP match. The mixed VIP/Wheelchair tournament was won by Barbaguian Givet and Niçois Dorian Navarro.

“It’s always for a good cause,” Squillaci told Monaco Life, with the funds raised going towards Princess Stéphanie’s Fight AIDS Monaco association. “Mission accomplished,” concluded Lanfranco after two days of exciting competition in what was a celebration of a growing sport.


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Photo by Frédéric Nebinger


Michael Flatley: “Cancer battle is tough, but I don’t give in easily!”

Riverdance star and Monaco resident Michael Flatley has made a brave statement about his fight against cancer and his dreams for the future.  

20 years after first facing cancer, 64-year-old Michael Flatley, who was the recent recipient of an award at the Golden Gloves boxing competition, has another fight on his hands.  

“It’s not been an easy battle, to be honest with you,” the world-renowned dancer told his fans via social media. “It’s been a tough fight, but I don’t give in easily and I’ve visualised myself already on the other side of that wall.” 

While he has not specified which form of cancer he is battling, the Lord of the Dance and Riverdance star is in the care of a team of doctors and has undergone surgery to treat the disease.  

“I know that it’s going to be a tough task and it’s going to be a long fight, but that’s OK. I’m ready for it, and I thank God every day for the things that I do have,” he told The Sunday Times. “I’m confident in the end that I’ll be successful in getting past this. You’ve just got to keep on going, that’s the most important thing.” 

A new freestyle competition to work towards

Flately recently travelled to Montreal in Canada for the World Irish Dancing Championships. While there, he launched a new freestyle competition for upwards of 2,500 Irish dancers. He himself was the first American to win the event at the age of 17 in 1975.  

“The young dancers are really so fabulous, and they work so hard to get where they are,” he said after the event.  

He has since been inundated with applications for keen dancers desperate to take part in his new competition: “It was fantastic, I’m over the moon with the response… “The competition was fierce and it was nice to see Irish dancing moving to a new level. We’ve changed Irish dancing forever, again. It’s just a wonderful feeling to see the young people interpreting music in a different way, being able to use their upper body movement, their arms, their acting skills, and dancing to a storyline.” 

2024 will mark the 30th anniversary of his first and now iconic Riverdance performance.  

“Who would have thought all those years ago… that we’d still be going and that dancers would be still working on it [Riverdance]? And Lord of the Dance is right behind it,” he said. “Spreading Irish culture around the world, trying to give employment to hundreds of young dancers after their competitive dance career is over, that was always my dream — to give them something to do after they worked all these years to perfect their art form.” 

It is a philosophy that goes right to his core: “I’m one of those people that I just go after my goals and I just keep on going. It’s trying to help somebody every day somehow in some way. It’s worth living for, it’s worth moving on for.” 


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Interview: Michael Flatley


Photo of Prince Albert and Michael Flatley, taken when Flatley hosted the Prince at his home in Ireland for St. Patrick’s Day 2023. Credit: Frank Morgan Studios


Record year for Monaco’s Digital Economy

Monaco’s Digital Economy is booming, with the sector responsible for generating close to a billion euros in revenue in 2022.

According to the latest report by Monaco’s statistics agency IMSEE, the Principality now has close to 1,000 establishments in the digital economy.

There were 115 newly created entities in 2022, and 59 definitive strike-offs, bringing the total number of active establishments in the digital economy in Monaco to 984. That’s a 6% increase on 2021, or 56 additional entities, and it is 18% higher than the pre-crisis period of 2019.

Within 10 years, the number of digital establishments in Monaco has increased significantly by 68.8%. They now represent 8.8% of all economic activity in the Principality.

Advertising-Communication accounts for almost one in two of the digital structures, followed by Information and Communications Technology (ICT), which accounts for 39.8%. These two groups, according to IMSEE, record the most creations and definitive strike-offs, and more than one in 10 is included in the Content and Media groups, which had three additional entities enter the realm in 2022.

Digital revenue approaches €1 billion

Digital revenue reached as high as €919.9 million in Monaco in 2022, an increase of 5.7% compared to 2021. ICT again carried the weight with 61.8% and saw the most marked growth: +€37 million/7%.

Nearly a quarter of digital revenue was generated by the Content and Media sector, which grew by €12.5 million last year.

Advertising-Communication, which posted the strongest relative growth in 2021, stagnated at 0.4% in 2022.

Despite the increase in revenue, says IMSEE, revenue in the digital economy is yet to exceed that of the Monegasque economy which sits at 15%, compared to 4.9%.

The number of digital economy employees is on the rise

At the end of 2022, the digital economy in Monaco employed 107 more people than in 2021, an increase of 5.9%, bringing the total number of employees to 1,922.

According to the report, the increase is mainly driven by ICT, which saw an additional 72 employees and is the only group to employ more people than in 2019.

In the digital economy as a whole, more than seven out of 10 employees are men, which is almost 10 percentage points more than for all private sector employees.

The average digital employee

Almost nine out of 10 digital employees, or 1,660, live in France. This share is 7.5 points higher than that of the entire private sector workforce. The majority, 70%, live in the Alpes-Maritimes. Monegasque residents account for more than 10% of digital employees, a proportion that has increased on the previous year. Residents of Italy account for only 1.7% of the digital sector, compared to 8.7% overall.

With an average of 41.1 years, digital employees are slightly younger than the overall population of 42.4 years.


Podcast Interview: Frédéric Genta on the great digital transition


Photo source: Unsplash


Luberon’s HIbride farm takes agrotourism to new heights


Modern tourists like modern experiences, and that is what they will find at this new project, the HIbride farm, located in the tranquil Luberon Natural Park.  

Nestled between Aix-en-Provence and Cucuron, in the heights of the village of Ansouis and on a hill overlooking the village of Villelaure, is a fertile wine and olive-growing country home that takes visitors both back in time and into the future.  

It adds an agrotourism feather to the cap of the diverse hospitality brand HI.  


This new jewel sits neatly in the HI portfolio, which includes HI Beach Himatic, Dar HI and the HI Hôtel, and was created by the dynamic duo Philippe Chapelet and Patrick Elouarghi.  

Philippe Chapelet and Patrick Elouarghi, the creative minds behind this fascinating concept, photo credit: Anthony Lanneretonne 

It is the first venture off the track of more trodden touristic destinations, but it does so with confidence: HIbride features eight rooms, two studios and two houses surrounded by olive groves, a vineyard, a forest and a vegetable garden.  

The rooms are a dramatic contrast of contemporary and historic, with original wood beams and stone walls juxtaposed with modern furnishings and features. It is a hybrid of cultural inspirations from designer Matali Crasset, a former disciple of Philippe Starck, who drew from Japan, Spain and Tunisia as well as France to create the vibrant and welcoming spaces.  


The kitchen is central and communal: “Both as a space where breakfast is prepared, but also as a large table to share according to your desires and as a laboratory. It is also there that discovery workshops are organised around taste, nature, well-being, do-it-yourself [and] moments of transmission from experts in their field.” 

Small intimate nooks are everywhere, ready for guests to lounge, read books, enjoy with friends or just watch the world go by. There’s also a remarkable swimming pool to laze by during hot summer days.  

A thoroughly contemporary pool in an ancient setting, photo credit: Anthony Lanneretonne 


The farm isn’t just for relaxing though; it is a working, living, breathing entity that produces its own wines – the rosé is particularly nice and won a gold medal at the 2021 Avignon agricultural competition – and olive oils. The concept store sell these alongside decorative objects made by local designers. 

Patrick and Philippe are involved in all stages of all their hotels’ creations, tuned into the idea of independent as opposed to international chains and “wishing to engage in a more contemporary hotel” model. 

Rooms start at a reasonable €190 per night in low season and HIbride is open year-round. To book or just find out more, click here


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Photo credit: Anthony Lanneretonne  

“A historic mandate”: Marsan’s sixth term as Mayor of Monaco confirmed

mayor monaco

A month after the elections, Mayor Georges Marsan and his colleagues have been made official. The next four years will see considerable developments in infrastructure and the “quality of life” of Monaco residents. 

This marks a historic sixth term as mayor for 66-year-old Georges Marsan, who has held the post since 2003 and ran unopposed in the March elections.  

In his first official speech of the 2023-2027 mandate, Marsan said that this time round he would oversee a major restructuring of the municipal council and introduce a number of new departments with their own dedicated delegate. Among them: Quality of Life, Environment and Sustainable Development led by Marjorie Crovetto; Youth, Gender Parity and Equality under the aegis of Chloé Boscagli Leclercq; and Revalorisation of Real Estate Heritage headed by François Lallemand. Others include culture, communal and public green spaces, and events and leisure.  

Marsan had further news to share with those gathered at the townhall, such as his intentions to improve childcare for young children in the Principality with the opening of three new crèches at the Palais Honoria, Ida and Bel Air premises. He also spoke about plans to revitalise Monaco’s markets, notably the Condamine, as well as the creation of an artisan’s market on the Rock and a “summer village” on the Port Hercule.  

Under Marsan’s tenure over the next four years, Monaco will see the opening of an extra auditorium at the Académie Rainier III, a sports hall at the Saint-Charles swimming pool complex, the new Espace Lamartine (coming this September), a media library and the new Espace Léo Ferré (within the next two years). 

See the full list of councillors below:

mayor monaco

Read more:

Monaco re-elects Georges Marsan for sixth term as mayor


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Photo credit: Mairie de Monaco / Ed Wright Images


Style with an eco-edge at Monte-Carlo Fashion Week

monte-carlo fashion week

Monte-Carlo Fashion Week will celebrate its 10th anniversary this year with an edition featuring clothing and accessory trends that have a serious ethical and sustainable edge. 

Under the patronage of Princess Charlene and organised by the Monegasque Chamber of Fashion, Monte-Carlo Fashion Week (MCFW) has gone from a local showcase to an international event in just 10 short years.  

Designers from around the world, whether established or emerging, are drawn to Monte-Carlo Fashion Week’s eco-cred as well as for its inclusiveness and diversity.  


Far from just a series of catwalk shows, MCFW is also a bigger picture event featuring fashion conferences and symposia, socials, cocktail parties and a fashion hub and pop-ups.  

For this 10th anniversary edition, which runs from 17th to 21st May, emblematic places around the Principality will become venues for side events and a “Fashion Map” will be given to guests to get them around.  

The Yacht Club of Monaco is where the Fashion Hub, the showrooms and the conferences will be based. The new museum of the Private Collection of Cars of the Prince of Monaco will host the parades and the Grande Verrière of the Grimaldi Forum will be the site of the prestigious Fashion Awards Ceremony. 


With a focus on green fashion, the week is also a sounding board to “help to raise awareness of the importance of protecting our planet and the life in it”, gaining prestige and attention from top designers such as Tommy Hilfiger, Alberta Ferretti and Pauline Ducruet.   

“Circularity is not a temporary fashion trend, but the key to the future, starting with the catwalk,” says Federica Nardoni Spinetta, the event’s creator and the president and founder of the Monegasque Chamber of Fashion. “This is the winning bet of Monte-Carlo Fashion Week, the event that once again confirms its role as a showcase for trends and, at the same time, perpetuates its essence as a reference platform for circular, ethical, eco-sustainable and inclusive fashion.” 


In 2016, the Monegasque Chamber of Fashion created the Ethical and Sustainable Fashion Award to honour a brand for its engagement and contribution to raising awareness and protecting our planet by playing an active role in encouraging positive change, supporting sustainability, promoting a cleaner and better world for generations to come, and of course, by producing high-quality, eco-friendly garments. 

Even the award is art. It was designed by Monaco-based artist Marcos Marin and features a curvy silhouette that looks as if it should be in a gallery. This year, the ceremony will be held at 8pm on 20th May. 


Monaco’s chic and fabulous also have a heart, and the MCFW will, for the seventh year running, support the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation, which raises public awareness about water safety; teaching children to swim and preventing unnecessary drowning deaths worldwide.  

For more information and the programme of events, please click here.


Do you have an event in Monaco or the French Riviera that you would like us to include in our What’s On section and events calendar? Please email  


Photo credit: Diana d’Orville / Monte-Carlo Fashion Week