The best golf courses and clubs near Monaco

golf club course monaco

Let Monaco Life be your guide as we tour the best 18-hole golf courses that the region has to offer. 

Whether for business or pleasure, there’s no denying the power of a good round of golf.  

The area surrounding the Principality of Monaco – that is to say the south of France or French Riviera as well as Italy’s Liguria just over the border – is full of excellent golf courses. Here is Part I in a series of our favourites. 

Right outside of Monaco, in the French town of La Turbie, is the Monte-Carlo Golf Club. Due to the limited space and generally rocky terrain of the Principality, which is totally unsuited to the rolling greens needed for a good golf course, the Monte-Carlo Golf Club is the best that Monaco has got in terms of proximity.  And it’s pretty good.

The course sits at 900 metres above sea level so stunning views are one of the biggest draws; nine holes face the Mediterranean and the other nine look out to the often snow-capped peaks of the Alps. The Par 71 and 6,000+ metre course is over 100 years old and open every day. Non-member green fees are €140 during the week and €170 at weekends and on bank holidays. Given that Société des Bains de Mer owns the course, guests at its hotels can get a sizeable discount on both these figures.


Our next stop is east of the Principality: the Circolo Golf Degli Ulivi in Sanremo. This is another well-established course, having opened in 1932. Nestled between olive trees and mimosa, this “narrow and complex” Par 69 and 5,690 metre course is a beauty year-round and regularly hosts competitions, local and international alike. Click here for a hole-by-hole rundown of the course by Donato Di Ponziano. 

Membership fees run at €2,300 for single players and €4,200 for couples. The weekday green fee is €60 and €80 at the weekend.  

Now we head west of Monaco and over to the Golf Royal Mougins. This is more of a resort than a course, with a full 18 holes across a challenging Par 71 and 6,004 metres as well as a four-star hotel, spa and restaurant. It also has a Prime Golf Academy that is headed up by Stéphane Damiano.  

It’s one of the newer courses in the region, having been designed by the late Robert von Hagge in 1993, but it still very respected on the European circuit. Green fees are €190 in high season and €110 in low.  

Down on the coast, the Riviera Golf de Barbossi is something of an oasis. Located between the sparkling Mediterranean, the red rocks of the Esterel and the verdant forests of Mandelieu, its 5,461 metre and Par 71 course was designed by Robert Trent Jones Senior in 1991 and then redeveloped 15 years ago by its current owners, the Domaine de Barbossi. Luxe in true French Riviera style is to be found here, with a number of high-quality restaurants and spa facilities on site, as well as a hotel, country club and even vineyard. The course also boasts a permanent collection of contemporary art sculptures. 

Green fees are typically €105 during the week although the price does drop down steadily towards the end of the day. 

For the complete list of golf courses in the Alpes-Maritimes and the Var, please click here.  


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Main photo: Riviera Golf de Barbossi

Monaco launches campaign for responsible use of Monaco ON charging stations

‘Sharing is caring’ is the name of a new awareness campaign hosted by F1 Champion Lucas di Grassi that is designed to increase the proper usage of Monaco’s electric charging stations.

Thanks to the very nature of Monaco, electric vehicles are expected to represent nearly 20% of all registered vehicles in the Principality by the end of 2023.

As a result, the Monaco Government is continuing to expand its Monaco ON network, which has been available for nearly three years.

The Monaco ON recharging stations, which are positioned in the Principality’s public car parks as well as on the roads, are being made more powerful with faster charging capacities. The aim is to make charging even more efficient, accessible and available to as many people as possible.

But not everyone is using the charging stations effectively or responsibly. So, on Wednesday 31st May, the government began broadcasting an awareness campaign featuring Lucas di Grassi, the 2016/2017 Formula E World Champion and a Monegasque resident.

‘Sharing is caring’

In the three-minute video, Lucas takes viewers through the process of using the electric charging stations, noting that drivers have a maximum amount of time to leave their cars in the designated spaces, as well as demonstrating the different types of charging stations available and battery requirements.

“Through this video, the Government aims to empower the user for better charging sharing,” it said in a public statement. “The use of these terminals must be accompanied by a respectful attitude, which consists in particular of leaving the space once the battery is sufficiently recharged and avoiding what are commonly called ‘vacuum cars’. The objective of a better turnover rate on the terminals must be pursued with the support of all.”

A guide to using the Monaco ON charging stations can be found on the government website here and soon in the form of QR Code to be scanned directly from the terminals.

Meanwhile, the Your Monaco app allows users to check the availability map of terminals (car parks and roads) in real time, save their favourite terminal on the home screen and choose between the different types of sockets (according to the kW required).

Monaco boasts around 300 charging terminals in 17 public car parks and on the road.

To watch the video, click here.


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Photo by Monaco Life


New-look Saint-Charles swimming pool to reopen with extra activities

The Piscine Saint-Charles, which has been closed for a year for renovation, will swing open its doors once again on Thursday 1st June and feature some fun new additions.

The public swimming pool, located in the heart of the Monte-Carlo district, has been closed since 29th June 2022 for major renovation works.

The Mairie-run facility will reopen on Thursday to showcase a new reception area, change rooms, lockers and shower area designed by Monegasque artist Jérome Hein.

The 216sqm freshwater swimming pool has also been equipped with new elements that allow it to consume less energy, while surrounding walls and windows have been reinforced with insulation materials to comply with new energy consumption regulations.

More classes and gym equipment  

In addition to the usual activities on offer, including prenatal and baby swimming classes, the swimming pool now features two fun new activities for kids aged around six/seven. The Aqua Mermaid and the Aqua Dolphin classes are designed for kids who know how to swim and will help tone the body and teach water confidence.

For adults, there are also two new courses on offer. Experienced athletes will benefit from an Aqua Power and Aqua Gym class, given both in and out of the water, with the use of weights, rubber bands, etc., to boost cardiovascular performance.

A more “relaxing” lesson, the Aqua Relax, will offer stretching and breathing exercises to soft music.

Meanwhile, the gym has been refitted to feature a new space for gentle activities including pilates, yoga, and stretching classes.

The size of the structure allows for more “intimate” sessions to be held with maximum eight people per session.

For rates, timetables and schedules visit the Piscine section of the Mairie website:


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Photo source: Mairie de Monaco



Games of the Small States of Europe: Medal rush for Monaco

Monaco's medalists in Judo in the Games of the Small States of Europe 2023

After a difficult start to the Games of the Small States of Europe in Malta, there was a medal rush for Monaco on Tuesday, with 10 podiums earned in front of the onlooking Prince Albert II.

Prince Albert II was the man about Malta on Tuesday 30th May as he visited the sites of multiple Monegasque triumphs. The 19th edition of the event was inaugurated in Valetta, Malta on Monday 29th May, and involves, as the name suggests, the “small” nation-states of Europe. Andorra, Cyprus, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro and San Marino are all competing across multiple disciplines.

Ulrika Quist and Lucas Catarina: Photo credit: Manu Vitali / Direction de la Communication 

Monday’s ceremony included a homage to Prince Rainier III, whose centenary is being celebrated on Wednesday 31st May. Behind Lucas Catarina and Ulrika Quist, the Monegasque flagbearers, the rest of Monaco’s delegation wore badges and waved flags to mark the centenary.

“The first medals have come, which is a good omen”

Catarina progressed alongside Valentin Vacherot in the doubles tennis, beating San Marino 4-6, 6-2, 10-7, whilst Xiaoxin Yang and Sannah Lagsir progressed to the semi-finals in the table tennis tournament.

However, Tuesday will be remembered for the medals, and speaking to Monaco Info, Prince Albert II, who is also the President of the Olympic Committee, reflected on a golden day in Monegasque sport.

Photo credit: Manu Vitali / Direction de la Communication 

“The first medals have come, which is a good omen. There is a great team spirit in our delegation, a competitive spirit, but also joy in participating in this big event. Our delegation is proof of a great vitality and cohesion in sport in the Principality,” said Prince Albert II.

All 10 Monaco medal winners:

Rania Drid: (-63kg) Judo – Gold

Florine Soula: (-70kg) Judo – Gold

Sara Allag: (-52kg) Judo – Silver

Cédric Bessi: (-73kg) Judo – Silver

Marvin Gadeau: (+100kg) Judo – Silver

Marc-Elie Gnamien: (-81kg) Judo – Silver

Giulia Viacava: Swimming 200m backstroke – Gold

Giulia Viacava :Swimming 200m medley – Bronze

Giulia Viacava, Anaïs Arlandis, Tiffany Pou, Pauline Viste: Swimming 4×100 freestyle relay – Bronze

Théo Druenne: Swimming 800m freestyle – Gold



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Photo credit: Manu Vitali / Direction de la communication 

Meet Monaco’s new high-net-worth divorce lawyer Ayesha Vardag

The ‘Diva of Divorce’ Ayesha Vardag talks to Monaco Life about multi-million-euro splits, championing the No-Fault Divorce, and how being a divorced single mother made her a no-nonsense, compassionate lawyer.

Ayesha Vardag rose to fame for winning the landmark Supreme Court case Radmacher v Granatino in 2010, which changed the law to make prenuptial agreements legally enforceable in England and Wales.

Also among her many achievements, she championed the No-Fault Divorce rule that removes the need for couples to play the blame game, pioneered working practices that enable female employees to reach their highest potential in the male-dominated legal industry, and was recently awarded Woman of the Year at the GG2 Awards alongside fellow winner UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

Dubbed the ‘Diva of Divorce’ by TIME magazine, Ayesha, who grew up in England, has acted for and against heirs and heiresses, tycoons, international footballers, celebrities and royalty.

She now divides her time between London law firm Vardags’ head office in London and her home in Monaco, where she lives with her husband and two children.

Monaco Life spoke with Ayesha about the intricacies of divorce and what couples who are considering separating should know, especially those living in Monaco.

Monaco Life: What are the top reasons for divorce today? 

Ayesha Vardag: Every divorce is unique and there are always a lot of factors at play – relationships are complex and multi-faceted and often it’s a whole combination of internal and external stressors that eventually crack the foundations of the marriage. One of these ‘external stressors’ that we have witnessed more recently is the cost-of-living crisis, which we have seen play out across Europe. For some marriages, such economic strain has been the final straw.

What we’re also seeing as a reason for divorce is the awaited fallout from Covid and the pandemic’s impact on mental health. A lot of my clients tell me that their partner just isn’t the same after that deep, dark, uncertain period. Some marriages managed to endure that darkness, that uncertainty, and became stronger because of it – for others, the lack of everyday distractions, like work and socialising with friends, highlighted flaws and gaps in the marriage that couldn’t be patched over. As if lockdown revealed that, when forced to spend real quality time together, they were incompatible.

But, as I have always said: fundamentally, most divorces happen because the person you’re with is no longer the person that you married. In all of its possible forms, I’ll hear my clients describe how their partner has become a stranger. And this takes place on a whole spectrum of circumstances. Maybe their partner is spending more time at the office, found new friends or taken up new hobbies. On the other hand, they might be a born-again Christian, a different gender, changed – or revealed – their sexuality… Be it radical or subtle, what my clients are essentially telling me is that their partner has changed, and it is not a change that they agreed, consented to or wanted.

I guess, for many people, marriage symbolises a pillar of support and stability in an ever-changing, ever-chaotic world. They are the comfort, the tent-pegs, the refuge in times of uncertainty, discomfort, and turmoil. For this to be disrupted is unsettling, and in many cases, people just want out.

“It’s important to remember how difficult it is to sustain a marriage in the modern day.”

You were a champion of the No-Fault Divorce that came into effect in April 2022. What is that and why was this an important step in the divorce process for couples?

It’s important to remember how difficult it is to sustain a marriage in the modern day. We’re looking at 100-year lifespans now, if we’re lucky. A century is a very long time to keep coinciding with another being on the phases of one’s life.

It is for this reason that I championed No-Fault Divorce. Life is long and a relationship that may have been very good, and is between two very good people, can come to an end. There is no need for fault or victimhood. That’s what No-Fault Divorce is all about: two equals parting, amicably. That is what we should all be aiming for. Sometimes relationships just run their course. People reach the end of their compatibility with another person, and they move into the next phase.

What you can have after a divorce is a balanced, beautiful life in which you build a career, build time to develop yourself, build new relationships, and have the time and space to do that. Especially if you share the childcare. That’s how it should be. Marriage, and divorce, can both be beautiful.

What have been the challenges of rising to the top in a career often dominated by men? 

Children-related sexism I have had in abundance – which is part of what made me found my own firm. When I was finding work, it was never a problem being a woman, it was a problem having children. I was told in one set of chambers: “Two children. That wasn’t on your CV.” [And] that I wouldn’t manage as a single mother at the Bar. Likewise, at the time I left Linklaters, I was offered a job at a top department at a top City firm, until I informed them I needed 10 days off for a C-section. I was then ghosted.

“I’m emotionally empathetic, but, putting on my lawyer hat, I combine that emotion with calm objectivity”

You are a divorcee yourself and became a single mother. How has this impacted the way you approach your job as a divorce lawyer? 

My first divorce felt tragic at the time. It derailed everything I had always thought about my life. I had a sense of having really screwed it up, because I had chosen to exit the marriage. And then I had regrets and had gone to try and fix it, but it was too late. I felt huge despair – that moment of despair that people feel when they feel that they’ll never be happy again, and that they’ll never love anyone again or fancy anyone again, and it’s just over. I felt that sort of despair. And then you have to pick yourself up from that. And that’s when you cry yourself out and then you get up and get on with things. The truth is, finding my own way was the best thing that could possibly have happened to me. The silver lining of my divorce is that it gave me a life that is very much the life that I want to have.

What I love most about my job as a divorce lawyer is that I get to impart this wisdom onto my clients. I’m emotionally empathetic, but, putting on my lawyer hat, I combine that emotion with calm objectivity, helping my clients get the very best outcome for their divorce while encouraging fair and amicable negotiation. My career has always, essentially, been part lawyer, part therapist.

I believe you share your time between Dubai, Italy, West Sussex and now Monaco. How do you balance life, travel and work?

I spend several days a week working in London and the other two working remotely from my home in Monaco or Paris. When I’m in the UK, I wake up at 6am and walk to a private members club to exercise: [to] get the blood circulating and de-stress before the working day. I try to be the first person in the office by 8am.

Why did you decide to set up a Monaco desk at Vardags?  

I specialise in cases with assets in the excess of £100 million. My clients tend to be entrepreneurs who have built vast businesses or funds. I have had numerous Monaco-based clients over the years with this kind of wealth, so it felt logical to set up a Monaco desk to specialise in the issues that our Monaco clients face.

“Every second counts as the party that files their divorce petition first can often have a significant advantage”

Why is it important to look at both England and Monaco jurisdictions in cases? 

The difference in the financial outcome between Monaco and England can run to tens or hundreds of millions of pounds in the largest cases, and so anybody who has a British connection or who has a spouse with a British connection needs to take advice that looks at both jurisdictions. Every second counts as the party that files their divorce petition first can often have a significant advantage.

How does Monegasque divorce law differ from English or European law? 

Monaco has a much more ‘needs’ approach to payouts on divorce, which is great for the richer party. England, on the other hand, shares out the fruits of the marriage between the parties regardless of who made the money or in whose name it is, as well as being very generous in assessing needs and very active at investigating the reality of the finances. Because of this, it is much better for the financially weaker spouse.

You recently got a lot of press for encouraging staff at your London office to shun business attire associated with “bankers and estate agents” and “bring your personalities to work”… “You can all be as wildly fabulous as you feel like”, I believe. What was the reasoning behind that decision and what reaction did it garner? 

I want people to bring their humour, their creativity, their empathy [and] their emotions to work. The natural corollary for that is how they express themselves in their dress.

And being a lawyer is a largely client-facing role – the messages that you send off, whether that is power, formality, affluence, flamboyance or conservatism, are the first part of your dynamic when you’re engaging with someone. I want clients to feel invigorated, inspired and involved when they meet our lawyers because that’s what our lawyers are: great, exuberant, fantastic and interesting people. It’s not all about hard law and facts. Divorce is such a human area that it’s as much about the ability to connect with your client as it is about legal strategy.

What is your advice to couples who are considering a divorce? 

As a family lawyer with a real eye to trying to avoid conflict and unpleasantness in family, my advice to couples who have decided to divorce is to do so as amicably and practically as possible, especially where children are involved. Like the poet Drayton said: “Since there’s no help, so let us kiss and part.”

People often fight about finances and sometimes about children, but there seems no reason to have to spend a lot of money and cause each other misery just to go through the process of parting legally once the decision has been made.

Every drop of acrimony can contaminate a future relationship, which has to be friendly and cooperative for the sake of the children, who need to be co-parented even if they have that in two homes rather than one.


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Save the Rainforest Charity Cocktail

Borneo Wildlife Preservation, in partnership with Club Vivanova, is hosting a dynamic charity networking event to help save the rainforest and the Bornean Pygmy elephants.

Borneo Wildlife Preservation relies on the generosity of the international community to support wildlife and non-government organisations to help ensure the survival of the Bornean Pygmy elephants and to help with reforestation of local natural habitats.

The charity cocktail will be held at the Fairmont Monte-Carlo on Wednesday 21st June at 7pm and feature champagne aperitif, gourmet canapes and premium wine bar.

€15 from each €68 ticket will be donated to the Borneo Wildlife Preservation. A tombola will be held during the event to raise more funds.

For bookings, 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: Eutah Mizushima, Unsplash



Interview: Bob Lee, elephant manager