With the best month for long bank holiday weekends just around the corner, Airbnb has released its list of the “most welcoming” coastal destinations in France and Èze-sur-Mer is the only Riviera town to make the Top 10.
For a region that lives off its top-quality appeal to tourists, it’s perhaps surprising that only one place in the French Riviera made the cut. Èze-sur-Mer came in fourth position on the new list from Airbnb, which places La Hague in the northwest, Port-en-Bessin-Huppain in Calvados and Le Bois-Plage-en-Ré in the Charente-Maritime at the top.
Èze deserves to be on the list. Stunning scenery, world-class restaurants and an enduring authenticity – plus it’s mere minutes from Monaco by road, boat or train – are just some of the reasons why it’s a beautiful place to spend a day, weekend or longer.
Overall, the list was dominated by destinations on the Atlantic coast of France, with places in the Loire-Atlantique, Vendée, Côtes-d’Armor, Morbihan and Somme filling in the remaining Top 10. The only other Mediterranean hotspot to rank – Airbnb filtered for the highest number of five-star rated stays to compile the list – was Olmeto in southern Corsica.
Our stretch of the coast fared better in the second half of the report, which features the most popular listings on the bord de mer.
A cute cottage in Marseille picked up the Number Two slot here, while a rooftop loft with spectacular views of the sea in Villeneuve Loubet came in third.
Fresh from his experience in the NBA, Chima Moneke touched down in Monaco in January. The nomadic Nigerian power forward has grand designs on forging a legacy in the Principality, as he tells Monaco Life.
Moneke is forced to watch on as his teammates train at the Salle Gaston Médecin, as he hobbles over for an interview with Monaco Life. The Roca Team’s newest recruit is nearing the end of an injury recovery period, but his effervescence and warmth shine through.
Moneke has integrated seamlessly into this AS Monaco Basketball team, which fresh from their Coupe de France triumph, has a genuine shot at further domestic and European glory this season. His status as a firm fan favourite attests to that integration. The rapport that he has created with the Roca Team faithful is built to last. The nomadic Nigerian player’s stints at previous clubs have been ephemeral – his most recent spell with the Sacramento Kings lasted just months – but at Monaco, Moneke hopes he has reached the end of the road, as he tells Monaco Life.
Monaco Life: How has it been joining midway through the season?
Chima Moneke: I feel as though I could do more; I always feel that way. This is the first time that I’ve joined a team in the middle of a season, but this is the highest level that I’ve played. We’re having so much success in both competitions, and we’re so talented in every position, and I haven’t experienced this before. I’ve never been on a team where I don’t need to contribute heavily. There are games that I could play for 25 minutes, and then the next time just five. We have talent in every position, and coming in and being the new guy, things won’t fully click until next season. I’m just happy to be on a winning team and contribute in any way that I can.
You have managed to become a firm fan favourite. Is that the case everywhere you go?
That’s what I care about the most, and I feel as though that’s very accurate. It’s the type of person I am, the way that I play. I don’t feel as though I’m above anybody, and I like to give the fans a show whether it’s laughing with them in a dead ball situation or doing some crazy celebration. I’ve always been that sort of person. I embrace all of it. If I’m a fan watching the game, I want to watch personalities, entertainment, highlights and people that don’t feel as though they’re above me, as a fan. I try to be that for them.
You’ve played in Spain and then of course in the USA, but all roads in your career seem to lead back to France…
When I left France after three years, I didn’t think I’d come back, but I always said as a joke that the only place I would come back to was Monaco. It has an interesting ring with my surname. I want to be here for years to come.
You of course played in the NBA. How was that experience, and is it somewhere you aspire to return?
I don’t have any regrets. I don’t like to think with regrets. Things happen the way they’re supposed to; whether that’s good or bad. My NBA experience wasn’t what I hoped it to be, what I visualised it to be, what I dreamt for it to be, but it happened for a reason. I could have gone to Utah or Minnesota, but I went to Sacramento, and that’s what I was supposed to do, and it’s led me here. This is a place where I feel I can be for years to come. I want to get my jersey retired here, I want to have kids here.
I thank Sacramento for the opportunity and getting cut for the NBA is a privilege. I achieved my dreams, and it didn’t work out, but I scored in the NBA. No one can ever take that away from me. I played against the greatest player of all time – Lebron (James), who is kind of my idol. I’ve achieved a lot of things, and I’m grateful for it all.
You’ve had a nomadic career, but it’s something you’ve experienced from a young age with your parents being diplomats…
Up until 17, I moved because of them. I never would have gone back to Australia for high school if it wasn’t for their job. I grew up travelling. I thought that was normal, and I didn’t understand that my life was different to most people’s until I got to Nebraska when I was 17, and that’s when I realised that I’d lived an interesting life, that I’d done things that most people weren’t able to do.
Were you ever pushed down the diplomatic route?
I was never pushed. Nigerians are notorious for saying that they want their kids to be lawyers, engineers, doctors, nurses, and maybe the next president. Before any sports activity, that’s what they say they want them to do. For me, I knew that wasn’t in my plans.
I wanted to be a football player growing up. That was my goal until the age of 13. I started watching basketball because of Lebron three or four years before that. I just knew that I wanted to play sports, and at the time it was football. Then I moved back to Australia and I was maybe 6″1 at the time, and I wanted to try playing basketball, and my friends at the time wondered if I played.
My interest peaked from there. I wasn’t that good, and then I’d say in 2015, I was cut from a state-representative team that I was supposed to make, and at that point, I said no one was going to stop me from achieving my dream. I focused completely on that.
So you really went from getting into the game by watching Lebron to playing against him. It’s quite the journey…
I was eight when he got drafted into the league and I started watching him. When I really started loving it and when I really started to get emotionally attached to his game was around 2005/06. It was always a dream to be on the same court as him. When I heard that we had the Lakers twice in the pre-season, you know, life is crazy…
What is the biggest difference between the Euroleague and the NBA?
Spacing, tactics and it’s [Euroleague] more of a team game. There is less reliance on individual talent. There are very talented players here, but you have to play in a system. That’s why a lot of guys struggle. Some guys are put in a box, where they have to sacrifice, check their ego at the door, do what the team needs them to do, and if you’re lucky and you’re one of the two, three, maybe four guys that get to play how they want to play, then that’s fine, but most players have to be role players. In the NBA, for example, you score on one [kind of] play, with the players getting a pick-and-roll and exposing the weak defender and keeping doing that over and over. Here it’s like, “Let’s run through our plays and do it as a team.”
Would you say that the Euroleague is getting stronger, and growing as a brand?
Absolutely! It should still be watched more and praised more. I think it’s the best quality basketball. Obviously, the NBA and the playoffs are at a different level, but every Euroleague game feels like a playoff game in the NBA. The way that the fans treat it, how competitive it is, that’s why I think that the Euroleague is the best quality of basketball. I love it!
Did you come into the team thinking that this team could win the Euroleague?
Even when I was with Sacramento, I was still watching Euroleague games and paying attention to what was going on. Monaco was one of the teams that I was watching intensely. I had a feeling I could help this team, and knowing the project they were building, and all the things that were going on for them, part of me was wondering what it’d be like to be here before it came to fruition.
They were very talented and made the playoffs in the first year last year and they wanted to take the next step, and I feel we have the talent to win it all. There are few teams that can genuinely say that. Even before coming here, I considered them as one of the favourites.
You faced Monaco when you were playing for Orléans. Do you see a big difference between the Roca Team you faced and the one you now play for?
They were in the EuroCup then, and it was the season that they won that. My teammate at the time, Paris Lee, then ended up coming to Monaco last season, and I talked to him about a lot of things. I always had a connection to Monaco from when we played that game here. Visually, the stadium is much better. The red and yellow seats at the time weren’t the best combination, but it’s pretty now, and it feels different. I see the project, I see the difference, I see how much they believe in what they’re doing. We have a great president, who is trying to build a culture and bring in guys that will be here for a while. I love his energy and his passion, and he’s a big reason behind me wanting to be here for the rest of my career.
You’re all in on this project. What has created such an attachment to the Roca Team so quickly?
Throughout my whole life, there has been a lot of movement and a lot of travelling. Even until this day, people ask where I live and I don’t have an answer for them. I say, “I play here for the season, then for the off-season, I can be in LA or Australia.” I don’t have a house. I want to have a home. I want to make Monaco my home. My ultimate goal is to retire here, to have my jersey retired here having played seven, eight, nine years here, whatever it is. Obviously, that’s a long time, and a lot of things need to happen for that to happen, but that’s honestly my goal. I’ve played for seven different teams in my five years. I want to be here for the rest of my career.
Princess Charlene looked on with pride as South African side Blue Bulls Pretoria beat the Georgian Barbarians to win the Sainte Dévote trophy on Saturday, in front of the entire Princely Family and the Monaco Impi’s.
The 11th edition of the rugby tournament, held at the Stade Louis II, was the biggest yet. 20 teams from 17 countries took part, hailing from across the globe.
The event also represented a chance for the Monaco Impi’s to present the Melrose Sevens trophy to the public. The triumphant Monégasque side watched on as the Blue Bulls Pretoria won the international tournament trophy, which was presented to the South African side by Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene, whose foundation partnered the event.
“A magical experience for young rugby players.”
In the morning, the local Monegasque team won the Sainte Dévote trophy, which honours the winner of the match between the Monegasque Rugby Federation and the Rugby Club Lucciana, whilst Erin Shire and Sandile Majola won the best female and male players of the tournament.
“This tournament is a magical experience for young rugby players from all over the world to come together, make friends and learn from each other,” said Tyler Bush, the ambassador of the tournament and captain of the triumphant Impi’s team.
Click on the gallery below to see more images from the tournament. All photos credit Eric Mathon / Palais Princier…
Prince Albert II has inaugurated the first temporary exhibition of the season in the Grands Appartements of the Prince’s Palace: a series of works entitled ‘500 Monaco-Dolceacqua’ by artist Julien Spiewak.
On Thursday 20th April, Prince Albert, accompanied by Monaco Mayor Georges Marsan and Fulvio Gazzola, the mayor of Dolceacqua, was shown a gallery of original photos highlighting certain rooms of the Prince’s Palace as well as private places and historical sites of the small town in the Ligurian hinterland.
The photos are part of a series entitled ‘Corps de Style’, which associates a human body, or fragments of naked bodies, with a work of art or stylish furniture.
“This exhibition is part of the demonstrations of the twinning between the Italian commune and Monaco, which will be solemnly concluded on 3rd November, five centuries to the day after the oath of loyalty of the syndics of Dolceacqua to Augustin Grimaldi, Lord of Monaco,” said the Palace in a statement.
The exhibition will conclude in Monaco on 8th May, before moving to Dolceacqua, where it will be held until the end of the summer.
Click on the images below to see more from the opening of ‘500Monaco-Dolceacqua’. Photos credit: Michael Alesi, Prince’s Palace…
Water Safety workshops were organised by the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation for kids taking part in the Sainte Dévote Rugby Tournament on the weekend.
On Friday 21st April, ahead of the Sainte Dévote Rugby Tournament on Saturday, 85 children participated in aquatic rescue activities at the swimming pool of the Stade Louis II, with former Olympic swimmer Princess Charlene of Monaco also taking part.
The activities were offered by the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation and supervised by a team from the Académie Monégasque de la Mer, led by world renowned freediver Pierre Frolla, with the support of the Monaco Red Cross.
The children were part of the seven U-12 teams that arrived before the start of the tournament: South Africa, Georgia, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Ecuador, Mauritius and Morocco. They took part in various drowning prevention and first aid workshops including resuscitation, ball games for non-swimmers, water draw, water polo, tube buoys, water course and lifesaving.
The workshops allow young children to learn first aid techniques and are a way for them to acquire the basics of rescue in a fun way.
Tyler Bush, Ambassador of the 2023 Sainte Dévote Tournament and captain of the Monaco Impi’s team that recently won the Melrose Sevens Tournament in Scotland, and fellow Jamaican Conan Osborne, another Impi’s player, attended the workshops and also gave their encouragement to the kids.
Also present was Gareth Wittstock, Princess Charlene’s brother and General Secretary of the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation.
A round table is being held in Monaco later this month to give people a chance to discuss the follow-up to the recommendations contained in ECRI’s monitoring report on Monaco, published in 2022.
In co-operation with the High Commissioner for the Protection of Rights, Liberties and for Mediation of Monaco, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) is organising the round table on 25th April at the Novotel Monte-Carlo.
The event will be divided into three categories: a ECRI’s main findings, the equality body, and combating hate speech.
In its 2022 report on Monaco, ECRI expressed concern about issues such as the need to pass legislation governing the fight against all forms of discrimination and strengthen the High Commissioner’s powers, particularly with regard to inquiries, the need to enable the judicial authorities to tackle online hate speech more effectively, the need to eliminate any unjustified differences in treatment between same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples, the need to include in domestic law a procedure for processing asylum claims in accordance with international law and establish clear norms governing the right to family reunification and residence permits, the need to ratify the revised European Social Charter, prohibit termination of employment without a prior valid reason and take effective measures to guarantee access to housing for foreign residents.
Opening statements at the round table will be made by Isabelle Rosabrunetto, Director General of the Department of External Relations and Cooperation of Monaco, Bertil Cottier, Vice-Chair of ECRI, Johan Friestedt, Executive Secretary of ECRI, and Marina Ceyssac, High Commissioner for the Protection of Rights, Liberties and for Mediation of Monaco.
ECRI’s report on Monaco will be presented by Kristina Pardalos and Bertil Cottier, ECRI members and co-Rapporteurs.
In addition to national and local officials, the round table will bring together representatives of civil society organisations, as well as members of groups of concern to ECRI. This event aims at contributing positively to the national debate on combating racial discrimination and intolerance in the country.
The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) is a unique human rights body of the Council of Europe that monitors action against racism, discrimination (on grounds of race, ethnic/national origin, colour, citizenship, religion, language, sexual orientation, gender identity and sex characteristics) and intolerance in Europe. It prepares reports and issues recommendations to member states.