Football: Monaco draw to Lille in cagey affair

It is advantage AS Monaco in the race for the Europa League place after a cagey draw against Lille (0-0) at the Stade Louis II on Sunday. 

The stars descended on what was billed as an offensive spectacle with two of Ligue 1’s highest scorers coming up against each other in a crucial match in the fight for European football. However, Prince Albert II, Ricardo Carvalho and Nico Hulkenberg will doubtless have been disappointed by what both sides offered on the day.

There was a lot on the line, and it showed. Both sides were hesitant to commit, especially in the first half, meaning that chances were at a premium. Myron Boadu, who was looking to add to his goal against SCO Angers last week, came closest but was denied by the onrushing Lucas Chevalier.

Kevin Volland a surprise omission

The game opened up slightly after the break. Lille, who were looking to reduce the five-point gap to Monaco, were in more need of the three points, and they began to push in the second half and had the chances to win it.

However, they were denied by an in-form Alexander Nübel. His save from Timothy Weah was crucial, whilst he also denied the profligate Jonathan Bamba on numerous occasions.

Photo by Luke Entwistle, Monaco Life

Takumi Minamino, arguably Monaco’s most dangerous player, had the ball in the net but was rightly ruled out for offside. Les Monégasques lacked a cutting edge, but couldn’t lean on Kevin Volland to break the deadlock. The German, originally in the matchday squad, suffered a late injury, meaning that he was forced to watch on with compatriot Hulkenberg in the stands.

“It was crucial not to lose this match.”

Neither side managed to find an opener, and the match finished in a stale 0-0 draw – a result that naturally pleases Monaco more than Lille.

“It was crucial not to lose this match,” began Clement post-match. The Belgian coach was without many key players, including Wissam Ben Yedder, Guillermo Maripán, Krépin Diatta, and Volland and Mohamed Camara. “I hope to have a few back next week,” said Clement.

Monaco have two more crucial ties against direct rivals for the European places. Les Monéŋasques travel to Lyon on Friday before facing Rennes the following week. By the time Clement’s side return to the Principality for the final game of the season against Toulouse in early June at the Louis II, Monaco will want to have already secured their Europa League qualification. They have navigated one hurdle, but there are two big ones to come.


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Photo by AS Monaco

Basketball: Roca Team lose as domestic regular season draws to a close

Chima Moneke: AS Monaco Basket v Le Mans

AS Monaco Basketball lost their final home match of the regular Betclic Elite Season against Le Mans (95-101) on Friday. Their lead at the top remains unassailable. 

Just 48 hours after their historic qualification for the Euroleague Final Four, the Roca Team were in action once more at the Salle Gaston Médecin. Naturally, this game wasn’t quite greeted with the same fanfare, and on the courts, there were discernable and understandable signs of a hangover on Monaco’s part.

Whist the Roca Team’s spot at the top of the Betlclic is already secured, Le Mans still had something to play for going into the final two games of the regular season. The difference in motivation levels showed as the away side began to construct a lead in the second quarter.

Mike James rested

With Monaco’s first-ever Final Four game under a week away, Sasa Obradovic fielded a much-changed side. Mike James and Jordan Loyd were amongst those rested, but Élie Okobo (16 points) made the team, as did his compatriot Matthew Strazel (nine points, six assists), who was Monaco’s main creative outlet.

It was, however, Alpha Diallo (28 points, five assists) who stood tallest for the Roca Team. The American, voted the fifth-best defender in the Euroleague this season, couldn’t inspire his side to victory, however.

Monaco fought back in the third quarter, but Le Mans put their foot back on the accelerator to make the definitive break and pierce the 100-point mark in an attacking game at the Gaston Médecin (95-101).

“It was hard after all of the emotions.”

The match is of little consequence for Monaco and is perhaps an unnecessary distraction. The most important thing is that no injuries were sustained. There is now just one game, away at Blois on Tuesday, before the Roca Team make the trip to Kaunas.

“We could have expected this after Wednesday’s emotions,” said assistant coach Mirko Ocokoljic. “We avoided injuries tonight, which is very important. Next stop – Final Four,” added Roca Team captain Yakuba Ouattara.


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Photo by AS Monaco Basket

How the Grimaldis came to live on the Rock

It’s an iconic symbol of the Principality of Monaco, but how did the Grimaldi family come to call this famous Rock their home? 

The Principality was been inhabited on and off throughout prehistory and the Paleolithic. Some of the most important archaeological finds of this era were actually found in the caves of the Saint Martin Gardens up on the Rock, and others from 30,000BC have also been uncovered in the nearby area. 

But it’s not until fairly recently, around 500BC, that we see the first written down name for Monaco: Monoikos. 

Early Monoikos 

Over the next few centuries, Monoikos grew in importance as a useful stopping-off point – one theory behind the name is that it comes from the Phoenician or Hebrew words menihh or monêhh, which mean restful – for Roman vessels sailing between the Italian peninsular, Gaul and Hispania. Even Julius Caesar is believed to have passed through Monaco sometime around 50BC.  

At the turn of the millennia, Monaco and much of the surrounding regions were under Roman rule. At this time, Emperor Augustus, Caesar’s successor, called for the building of the Via Julia Augusta, which ran just to the north of Monaco.  

After the fall of the Roman Empire several centuries later, activity along the Mediterranean coast was much diminished. This time period is often called the Dark Ages; a time when everything from culture and learning to the economy and trade was in decline.  

Monaco felt this too and not much is known of this stage in the Principality, but things changed in the 12th century, when the region around the Principality is put under the direct control of the Genoese by the Holy Roman Emperor of the day, Frederick I or Frederick Barbarossa, in 1162.  

The first fortress on the Rock 

The Genoese built two fortresses in Monaco over the next few years: one where the Palace sits today on the Rock and another a little further down the hill, close to the Pavillon Bosio arts centre. The Palace site was the most important and work began in 1215. 

150 years later, tensions over the border in Italy were at boiling point. Two factions were at war: the Guelphs, supporters of the Pope, and the Ghibellines, supporters of the Romano-Germanic emperor. The Grimaldis, a noble family in Genoa that had seen several of its figureheads act as Consul in the city, were on the side of the Guelphs. It is believed they suffered periods of exile from their city given the Ghibelline domination of the area, which is what may have pushed one man to action. 

In the dead of night 

On 8th January 1297, François Grimaldi dressed himself as a Franciscan monk and stashed weapons beneath his cloak. He quietly entered the fortress on the Rock in the dead of night, killed all the guards and took control of Monaco. It earnt him the nickname Malizia for his cunning; a name keen sailors will recognise from the Yacht Club de Monaco

François Grimaldi, who took control of the Principality in 1297. Photo by the Monaco Communications Department

A treaty was signed in 1301 between François Grimaldi and Charles II d’Anjou that cemented the foundations of the Grimaldi dynasty. The Grimaldis now had a home and another series of works on the Palace, born out of the Genoese fortress, began.  

Conflict with Genoa continued for many years, but Charles I of Monaco, who ruled from the Rock between 1331 and 1357, was able to extend the Principality’s territory into Roquebrune Cap Martin and Menton during his tenure. He was a skilled sailor, ran a powerful fleet and was even appointed Admiral of France; this prowess is what made his fortune.  

Monaco as seen from the east and its former territory of Roquebrune Cap Martin. Photo by Monaco Life

It wasn’t smooth sailing for the Grimaldis after this, however. The land to the east is lost in 1448, during the era of Jean Grimaldi, but confidence is restored in the Grimaldi line by Lambert Grimaldi – a man who got the name through marriage to Jean’s daughter – in 1458.  

More trouble surfaced in the winter of 1506/7, when the Genoese laid siege to the Rock for more than three months. The ruler at the time was Lucien Grimaldi, who led his troops and people to victory, with some help from the French.  

“Instituted by God and the sword” 

Another important moment came in 1512, while Lucien was still in charge, when Monegasque sovereignty was formally recognised as being “instituted by God and the sword” by Louis XII of France. Lucien was assassinated just a few years later by his nephew in something of a failed coup.  

Glorious architecture of days not forgotten. Photo by Monaco Life

Nevertheless, the line of Grimaldis continued and the most significant developments of the Palace on the Rock took place around 1529, but it was yet to be called a palace and Monaco’s rulers were yet to be called princes.  

Up until now, the leading members of the Grimaldi dynasty had only been known as lords. But this changed in 1612, when Honoré II took on the official title of Prince of Monaco “by the grace of God”. It was a momentous step in the history of the Grimaldis and the Principality.  

The Rock now had a Prince, and it would stay that way.  


See more of the Prince’s Palace in our Instagram video below…


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Main photo by Stevie Luisser for Unsplasj

The most expensive towns in France are on the Côte d’Azur

cote d'azur expensive

A new ranking of the towns and cities in France with the most expensive real estate has placed the French Riviera at the very top of the list, beating even the French capital of Paris. 

According to real estate estimates from the Meilleurs Agents website from 1st May, the Côte d’Azur has some of the most expensive properties in France. In fact, all three top spots on its new ranking went to towns along this part of the Mediterranean coast. 

A glamourous top three 

Number One on the list was Saint Jean Cap Ferrat. The average price per square metre for a flat comes in at €14,559 and up to €20,454 for a villa in this prestigious post code, which boasts amazing views, proximity to Monaco and Nice, as well a level of privacy that is hard to get in this highly developed region. 

Saint Tropez came in next, with apartments going for, on average, €10,941 per square metre and houses for €18,914. This legendary spot – known for Brigitte Bardot, high-end beach clubs and a picturesque, cobble-stoned old town – has an enduring appeal, which has meant the market is almost always hot here.  

The third local town in the rankings is right next door to Saint Tropez: Ramatuelle. Flats here go for €12,646 per square metre and houses at €16,015, on average. The town has the benefit of beautiful beaches and a quieter vibe than its flashier neighbour, but is still close to the action.  

To put these prices into perspective, they all beat out Paris, usually considered to be wickedly expensive. In the French capital, the price per square metre hovers at about €10,000.  

Nice has some of the most expensive streets in all of France 

Though five of the 10 most expensive streets in France are in Nice, the city itself did not make the top of the charts.  

A flat, on average, will cost a buyer €5,071 per square metre, whilst a house can be had for €6,253. This discrepancy between the most expensive streets and the lower property prices is explained by the wildly differing costs between districts.  

Real estate on the Cap de Nice or the Promenade will be higher than areas inland, where property is considerably less expensive. The Mont Boron and Gairut neighbourhoods are exceptions, with prices there being higher than average.  


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Photo source: Romain Gal, Unsplash

Alpes-Maritimes demands “emergency solution” for unaccompanied minor migrants


The Alpes-Maritimes is calling on the French government to provide an “emergency solution” to help the department manage a growing influx of migrant minors crossing the border without adult supervision.  

France took in more than 336,000 migrants in 2021 according to statistics put out by the European Union. That same year, it was recorded that 25,750 of these newcomers were children unaccompanied by an adult.  


This wave of young people is becoming a crisis for the Alpes-Maritimes. Roughly 5,000 unaccompanied minors are believed to have arrived via the local French-Italian border so far this year and 2,000 continue to reside in the Alpes-Maritimes.  

François Sauvadet, President of the Assembly of the Departments of France, says, “We have exhausted all the reception capacities of the department. We no longer have a place available, we even resort to hotels.” 

Several establishments have been taken over by the young immigrants, notably in Biot and Châteauneuf de Grasse, but also in Menton, where an order was recently issued to allow a gym to be repurposed to help shelter these young people.  

“The State must take responsibility”

During a meeting with Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin, Justice Minisiter Eric Dupond-Moretti and the Secretary of State in charge of Children, Charlotte Caubel, Sauvadet asked for “additional means”. 

“The State must take responsibility, financially and by offering an operational response… of these young people during the period of evaluation of [their] minority,” he added.  

Local authorities say that the strain caused by these additional minors is diverting “human, logistical and financial resources” from universal child protection objectives and cannot be the sole burden of the department.  

The plight, which “has caught the attention of the ministers”, will soon be put to French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne, who, it is hoped, will provide a solution to alleviate the growing pressures.   

As of now, though, what form it will take is yet to be determined and the fates of many young lives remain in flux.  


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Photo source: Jacques Dufrenoy for Unsplash