Basketball: Roca Team pull off historic feat to reach Euroleague Final Four

Jordan Loyd: AS Monaco Basket v Maccabi Tel Aviv

On a night of high tension and high drama, AS Monaco Basketball beat Maccabi Tel Aviv (97-86) to become the first French side to reach the Euroleague Final Four since 1997.

Just like the entire five-match series, which came down to a final battle at the Salle Gaston Médecin on Wednesday night, this was an emotional rollercoaster. The series started with a demoralising defeat in Monaco but ended in the Principality on a very different note, on the highest of highs in what was undoubtedly the biggest night in the club’s history (3-2 series victory).

Photo of the Salle Gaston Médecin at full-time by Luke Entwistle, Monaco Life

Both sides failed to stop the opposition’s free-flowing attacks in the first five minutes with 35 points scored, but when the defences did make their appearance, it was Maccabi who held the upper hand.

15-point streak turns game on its head

John DiBartolomeo scored just one of Maccabi’s 14 three-pointers on the night to fire the Israeli side into a seven-point lead (26-33) at the end of the first quarter, but the Roca Team roared back spectacularly.

Mike James (21 points) scored five consecutive points to level the scores (33-33), but Monaco weren’t finished there. A James two-pointer plus a foul, followed by a Jordan Loyd (21 points) three-pointer turned the game on its head, but the 15-point streak hadn’t knocked the stuffing out of Maccabi, who showed fight to stay in the tie, especially in the third quarter, their efficiency outside the paint (14/29 three-pointers) proving a crucial arm in a fierce battle.

The Maccabi fans didn’t come in the same numbers for this fifth and final match, but they were certainly still audible inside the Salle Gaston Médecin. Photo by Luke Entwistle, Monaco Life

Monaco were constantly under the cosh, and Maccabi’s defensive grip tightened early in the fourth quarter to overturn the deficit with Donatas Motiejunas (six points) and Chima Moneke (10 points) particularly culpable of sloppy build-up play.

“Mike James is not Monaco.”

Against Olympiacos in last year’s Euroleague decider, when the pressure was on, the Roca Team crumbled, but this isn’t the team of last year, and over the course of the campaign, they have grown in stature, in confidence and in experience.

They had to lean on all of that experience in the final stages, as well as the roaring support of the sell-out crowd, who were joined by Prince Albert II and Aleksej Fedoricsev for the historic occasion.  (74-77).

Photo of Prince Albert II, Oleksiy Yefimov and Aleksej Fedoricsev by Luke Entwistle, Monaco Life

James was seemingly struggling in the dying stages, but as Sasa Obradovic said post-match, “Monaco is not Mike James. Someone always steps in.” Instead, it was Loyd who stepped up, procuring fouls and registering eight consecutive points to change the direction of the match for the final time in what was another night of plot twists.

“This was a historical night for me, for Monaco.”

Wade Baldwin (27 points) was once against decisive 0utside the key to bring Maccabi within five (90-85), but it wasn’t enough. John Brown III, Okobo and Alpha Diallo put the final nails in the Maccabi coffin to send the Salle into raptures. History was made. Monaco are in the Final Four.

Beyond the collective and historic exploit pulled off by this Roca Team, it was also the accumulation of 18 years of individual effort as an emotional Obradovic revealed.

“I can’t explain how happy I am today,” began the Serbian coach. “It was emotionally demanding. This was a historical night for me, for Monaco, and for most of the guys. French basketball has been waiting for this time. We deserve this kind of appreciation, this kind of reward. We played the whole year with ups and downs and with a great level of basketball, which people have enjoyed. Tonight was a special night, the fans were close and you could feel it and it was leading us towards this big success. There are two games to play [to win the Euroleague]. Let’s keep dreaming.”

Rendez-vous with an old rival

“18 years I have waited for this. Each day I mentioned this. I have a great team, great management, and a great president to put me in a situation to do something with my life,” added Obradovic.

Wednesday’s victory offers a tantalising clash on 19th May, against the inflictors of Monégasque misery in last year’s Euroleague play-off series, Olympiacos.

Photo of Sasa Obradovic by Luke Entwistle, Monaco Life

“We’ve beaten them in two games, so we can beat them again. I think they’re a better team than last year, but we are too,” Obradovic told Monaco Life. Naturally, therefore, Obradovic, the Roca Team and Prince Albert II are dreaming big.

“It’s a great night for sport in the Principality.”

“At the start of the season, I didn’t have in my mind being Euroleague champion, but over the season, expectations grow, and you see the teams you play against, you see that you can have a chance. I’m sure that we’re going to be a difficult opponent and you never know,” said Obradovic.

“It’s a historic night. It’s a great night for sport in the Principality and I’m so proud of all the team, and all of the staff. We can dream, but it will be very difficult,” added Prince Albert II in an interview with Skweek. 

Through the hard work of the players, the coach, and the staff, this year, but also over the course of many years, during which this project has gone from humble beginnings to a European powerhouse, the Roca Team have earned the right to dream. There is enough evidence to prove that those dreams can become a reality in Kaunas, Lithuania later this month.

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Photo by Luke Entwistle, Monaco Life

Monaco parents get support network in new ‘Entreparents’ app

A new government-backed app called Entreparents, from the creators of Carlo app, is giving Monaco’s mums and dads a chance to learn, listen and talk about the challenges and triumphs of raising families.

Parenthood isn’t always easy. No one provides a how-to manual on raising a child, and though books and websites are great, they can’t always answer specific questions or address individual needs.

Now, there is a way to connect directly with other parents and experts to find a way through the minefield that parenting can be.  The Principality’s new free Entreparents app, being launched on 1st June, is a way for local parents to be part of a community and find support, as well as offering events geared toward families.

Developed by Carlo Technologies, founders of Carlo app, and with the financial support and trust of the government, the Cuomo Foundation and Monaco Telecom, the app was built using advice from both experts and parents, making it a unique option. It is available for download in French and English.

“We are well placed to know that a parent needs support and to be heard at any time of the day and night, simple and intuitive guidance that facilitates their daily life,” the app’s creators say. “In response to the problems identified by parents of feeling isolated and ill-informed, we created the mobile application, an all-in-one digital tool to be at the heart of the Entreparents Network.”

A place to ask questions, share and be heard

The app’s main features include a chat room designed to let parents ask questions, share tips and find support on all parenting topics, a step-by-step guide giving newer parents and parents-to-be pertinent information for kids up to three, and an events calendar to connect families and parents at in-person events, giving them personal experiences outside of the virtual world.

The goal of “connecting parents to each other and their local parenthood service” in the Principality and neighbouring villages is part of an overall interest by the public authorities to put family life back on centre stage using the “it takes a village to raise a child” mentality.

“We want the Entreparents mobile application to become the daily reference for parents in our community, that they download it as soon as they plan for their baby and use it when they need, day and night,” say its creators.

Events already planned include a press conference on 1st June to formally announce the app at One Monte Carlo, followed by a screening of Eve Simonet’s documentary series Big Bang Baby, addressing the topics of ‘Becoming a parent: the identity crisis’ and ‘What place is there for parenthood in society?’. This will be followed by a talk between parents, the director, children’s rights advocate Marion Cuerq and local professionals. The event is free and child-friendly, but reservations are required to ensure a space.

On 4th of June from 9:30am to 12pm at Neptune on Larvotto is a ‘Let’s Meet: Mother’s Day’ event giving mums a chance to meet and relax with yoga classes, music and breakfast.

There will also be the launch of the #TheMumRibbonMovement in Monaco, where Entreparents ribbons will be given to mothers to hang on their bags and strollers. The ribbon is a symbol of a close-knit community of parents showing support for each other. By having the ribbon mums are saying: “If you need to talk, I’m here to listen to you. If you need anything, I’m here to try to help you. I may also need some support, so don’t hesitate to come and talk to me.” It is a movement that is part of the mission of the Entreparents Network: to reduce the occurrence of parents feeling isolated by connecting them to each other and promoting exchange and sharing. Reservation is a must and places are limited.

Then on 17th June, it’s the dads’ turn with a ‘Let’s Meet: Father’s Day’ event at the Club Bouliste on the Rock from 4:30pm to 6:30pm where the guys can meet for an apéro, a game of boules and friendly chats.

For more info and to learn about events, follow them on social media at Facebook or Instagram.


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Image from Entreparents association, Carlo Technologies


Monaco to welcome Octopus, one of the world’s largest yachts, during Grand Prix

At a whopping 126m, the legendary Octopus will be the biggest yacht by far at this year’s Monaco Grand Prix. But as Yacht Broker Henry Smith tells Monaco Life, securing a berth for this €2.2 million-a-week beauty is easier said than done.

Octopus is a formidable megayacht. She was designed by Espen Øino and built by Lurssen for the late American entrepreneur and philanthropist Paul Allen, a co-founder of Microsoft. At the time she was launched in 2003, she was one of the world’s largest yachts, capable of being used for deep sea exploration as well as luxury living at sea, and marked a turning point in superyacht design.

Allen spent 15 years hosting the most extravagant parties onboard Octopus, as well as concerts, album recordings, expeditions, and rescue adventures. But there was always a shroud of secrecy surrounding the vessel. That’s until she was sold in 2019 for over €200 million following Allen’s death .

Octopus is now available for charter for the first time in her history with central charter company Camper and Nicholsons, and Henry Smith, Director of the Monaco Office at Cecil Wright, has secured her a charter client who is keen to enjoy the legendary Monaco Grand Prix in the most luxurious circumstances.

With 13 guest suits, a cinema, multiple bars, a spectacular pool area that transforms into a dance-floor, a glass-bottomed aquarium, a DJ booth, gym, spa, and two helipads, there is no doubt that guests will help continue the Octopus legacy in her new era.

Henry Smith tells us more.

Monaco Life: How long has Octopus been available for charter?

Henry Smith: Following the sale to her current owner in August 2021, Octopus was first announced as being for charter in November that year, although it was not until summer 2022 that she became actively available for charter use.

There’s always been so much mystery surrounding Octopus. How exciting is it to be part of her new charter era?

When she was launched in 2003, she immediately became one of the most iconic yachts in the world, but as a private vessel very little was known about her and she was shrouded in secrecy. At 126.2m and boasting an incredible eight decks, she took the mantle as the largest contemporary superyacht by both length and volume (9,932 gross tons). The previous holder of this title for almost a decade was the Monaco stalwart 104.85m Lady Moura, which at 6,539 gross tons meant that Octopus was 20% longer and almost 50% larger by volume.

Securing a charter on Octopus was a great achievement for me and the Cecil Wright team and certainly one of the most exciting charters we have arranged to date.

Octopus features a stunning pool from which a dance floor rises

What are the main challenges when trying to secure a berth for a yacht this size during the Monaco Grand Prix?

As you might expect there are very few berths you can fit a yacht of Octopus’ size in Monaco. Her beam (width) of 21m was a large factor in this – for reference she is double the beam of the 60m yacht which will be berthed next to her and she is 3.3 times the volume of Lionheart.

As such our team had to exercise our relationships and worked closely with both the port and our agents to ensure that we could secure the best berth for her. She is one of four yachts we have in the GP this year with the Cecil Wright team successfully securing Zone 1 berths for the other three.

Which berth will she have?

There was a concern that she would have to be on the outer wall on Quai Rainier III due to her size but we managed to secure the central berth on Quai Rainier 1er. She will be clearly visible from almost all of Monaco.

How many crew does it take to run this megayacht?

She runs with a permanent crew of 45 (plus several rotational positions) but should additional ice pilots, helicopter pilots, submarine pilots and exploration guides be required, this number increases. There is also space to accommodate several supernumerary staff should a charter client wish to bring with them.

The glass bottom lounge area on Octopus

A glass bottom pool that can turn into an on-water dance floor, a former recording studio – come DJ booth, a wood-fired pizza oven, a beer tap and three bbq cooking stations… sounds like the best party boat you could have, would you agree?

Octopus was known as one of the party boats during Paul Allen’s ownership – she was a regular at the Cannes film festival and hosted some of the most epic parties at the time. This has not changed and the yacht can accommodate up to 350 guests for quay side events – with a dedicated DJ booth, the swimming pool floor raises to become a dance floor and there is a huge array of disco lights with a whopping 22 speakers – the party goes on!

Is the Triton 3300/6 on board yet?

Not yet – but there will be an option available for charters to use a Triton 3300/6 submarine which accommodates the pilot plus five guests and can dive as deep as 1,000 metres. Octopus will be the only yacht to have a Triton of this size that is available for charter. In addition to this, there is a fully dedicated dive centre which, as well as regular recreational diving, can accommodate complex diving (Nitrox and rebreathers), has a decompression chamber and there is a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) that can dive to 3,000 metres.

The Octopus boasts its own marina

Will guests be able to enjoy all the toys on board?

When the yacht is in port for the GP there are very strict controls about tender / toy usage so there will be limits. That said, the charter extends beyond the GP so there will be ample time for the guests to really make full use of the incredible arsenal of toys which, as well as seven tenders, includes Waverunners, Jet skis, Electric foil flight boards and F5S Seabobs.

Is it true that U2, Mick Jagger, Usher and Joss Stone are said to have spent time in the recording studio onboard?

These are but a few of the famous names to have allegedly been onboard but confidentiality dictates that I can neither confirm nor deny.

What is this boat capable of, in terms of ability and distance?

She is a true global cruiser and has a range of 12,500 nautical miles – this means she could effectively go from Monaco to St Barts, back to Monaco and then back to St Barts again on one tank of fuel. Her hull is Ice Class 1A which means she can operate in both the Arctic and Antarctic without any significant limitation – something she has done regularly, and she has just returned from a winter season in the Antarctic. If you fancy heli-skiing in remote areas, she is the ideal platform.

The balcony, featuring spa, is as close to the sea as possible on the Octopus

How much does it cost to charter Octopus during the GP and outside of this period?

To charter Octopus in the Mediterranean season this year, she is €2.2 million per week plus 30% Advanced Provisioning Allowance (APA – this covers food and drink, fuel, additional specialist crew, mooring fees etc) + VAT (this varies from country to country).

In the winter she charters at $2.2 million US per week + 30% APA and there is no VAT outside of the EU.

Do you have anything else interesting that you could share with our readers?

Having had the privilege to stay onboard Octopus in Panama last July, I can confirm that the level of service onboard is of the absolute highest level. The team of chefs are second to none with two of them having worked in Michelin starred restaurants and the interior staff, ably lead by David, are incredibly attentive and arguably one of the best in the charter fleet. I cannot recommend chartering Octopus highly enough.


All photos courtesy Cecil Wright and the owner of Octopus



Monaco Art Week announces dates and participants for 5th edition

Monaco Art Week offers an insider’s peek into the Principality’s art and auction houses via a well-planned walking tour. The details of the anticipated 5th edition have just been released.

What started as a way to unite the local art scene has become a synergistic event filled with exchanges, professional meet-ups, exhibitions and round table chats that has extended its reach beyond the week into year-round initiatives.

Celebrating its 5th edition, this year’s Monaco Art Week will run from 4th to 9th July and, as usual, will follow a trail laid out through some of Monaco’s artiest neighbourhoods, namely, Monte-Carlo and Larvotto.

Running in conjunction with the artmonte-carlo international fair, Monaco Art Week also will coincide with the Grimaldi Forum’s big summer opening of ‘Monet in Full Light’, which starts 8th July, and the Ballets de Monte-Carlo’s F(ê)aites de la danse performances.

Monaco Art Week will bring together 16 participants from the districts of Monte-Carlo and Larvotto: Artcurial, Boghossian, Christie’s, G&M Design, Hauser and Wirth, HOFA, Kamil Art Gallery; Lebreton, Elisabeth Lillo-Renner, M.-F. Toninelli Art Moderne, Opera Gallery, Galerie Adriano Ribolzi, Sotheby’s, Teos Gallery Monte-Carlo, Wannenes Art Contact, and Ward Moretti at Moretti Fine Art.

Though art is the focus, and there will be plenty of beautiful modern and contemporary pieces, the scope is not limited and the event will also include high jewellery creations. It is supported by the Monaco Department of Cultural Affairs and is held under the high patronage of Prince Albert II of Monaco.


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 of Les Lalannes at Sotheby’s Monaco Gallery in 2022, credit Alice Bensi. 



May 31st: Prince Rainier III’s 100th birthday celebrations

prince rainier birthday

On 31st May, what would have been the Builder Prince’s 100th birthday, the famous Rock of Monaco will be awash with celebrations as the whole of the Principality turns out to celebrate Prince Rainier III. 

It is but the first date in a year-long celebration of the former Prince of Monaco and the father of current sovereign Prince Albert II.

Prince Rainier III was born on 31st May 1923 and to mark the occasion, the Rock will be transformed into an open-air street party, with everything from music, dance and art to parades and a firework display set to dazzle the public.

The Rainier III Committee has even created a special flag, featuring Rainier’s profile on a tasteful red and white background, for the day and businesses and residents have been encouraged to decorate their homes, offices and streets with the pennants. The decorations have been on sale since 1st May and can be purchased at the souvenir shop on the Place du Palais Princier, Bazar Picco at 22 Avenue Saint-Charles, Brico Center on 4-6 Avenue Albert II and Le Khédive at 9 Boulevard Albert Ier.

There will scarcely be a corner of Monaco Ville where the 31st May celebrations will not be felt. Events will take place at the Palace, the Cathedral, in the streets, on the Place de la Mairie, in the Jardins Saint-Martin, the Oceanographic Museum, the Jardin Animalier and the Club Bouliste.

At the end of the day, at precisely 9.15pm, all locations will celebrate the great man by sharing birthday cake with the assembled crowds. An hour later, at 10.15pm, a fireworks show will be launched from the breakwater of Port Hercule.

The Prince, who reigned for 56 years, was notable for his modern approach to statecraft. Rainier III is credited with revolutionising the Monegasque economy; moving it from one reliant on casinos and gambling to a more sophisticated cultural hub as well as a place with an inventive tax system. He also reformed the constitution, limiting his own powers and creating today’s arrangement, which is a based on a constitutional monarchy.

For a full listing of the day’s events and for information in general on Rainier III’s year of celebrations, please click here.

Read more:

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


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 source:


Monaco’s budget surplus quadruples to reach €32.2 million in 2022

The latest public finance report by IMSEE shows that Monaco recorded a budget surplus of over €32 million in 2022, four times the previous year, thanks largely to the government’s real estate portfolio and a boost in VAT. 

Created using the state budget and the Constitutional Reserve Fund (CRF), IMSEE’s report shows that Monaco’s 2022 budgetary revenues and expenditures had both risen on the previous year.

Outgoings saw an 8.3% rise, hitting €81.5 million, but the incomings were the big news, showing a €24.2 million increase to reach €32.2 million, equalling four times the 2021 amount.


This increase in state revenues is due primarily due to tax revenues, which were up 16.3% to €200.2 million, and more specifically to commercial transactions, commonly called VAT, which saw a 14.5% leap of €126.3 million. The only category which saw a downturn was the finance sector, down a massive 72.6%, though the report attributes this to exceptionally high revenues in 2019 and 2021.

Expenditures reached just over €2 billion last year, a 15.8% increase compared to 2021. IMSEE says this is the result of investment and equipment expenses, which are nearly €1 billion of the total. Public intervention outgoings sat at €399.5 million, a moderate uptick of 5.1%, or €19.4 million, and operating costs went up by 10.4% to €62.1 million, with public services taking up the lion’s share of this with an increase of 31.9% in 2022.


The CRF had a healthy €6.5 billion in assets at the end of last year, and includes €2.2 billion in liquid assets stemming from financial investment and bank deposits, a “non-liquid” portion coming in at €3.9 billion composed mainly of properties and the government’s holdings in companies, and a gold reserve of €312 million.

The vast majority of properties held by the CRF generate rental income. As for the companies, these include shares in SBM, SMEG, SMEAUX, the Grimaldi Forum, Monaco’s Ports and the like, which bring in roughly €1.4 billion.

Monaco’s state budget had a surplus of €8 million in 2021, a deficit of €103.2 million in 2020, and a budget surplus of €3.8 million in 2019. The significant rise of 24.2 million in revenue in 2022 still falls short of 2018’s budget surplus of €38.4 million.

Some of the biggest influences on Monaco’s budget surplus/deficit over recent years have included the Covid-19 global pandemic, major construction projects such as One Monte-Carlo and the Hôtel de Paris renovation, and new housing for Monegasques.

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Photo by Monaco Life