Charles Leclerc’s All Star Drivers win World Stars Football Match

Charles Leclerc next to Prince Albert II prior to the World Stars Football Match

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc led the All Star Drivers to victory in the World Stars Football Match, the curtain-raiser for Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix.

The charitable match, which raises money for Star Team for the Children MC, has become a fixture in the Monegasque sporting calendar, with the biggest names from the world of Formula One facing off against stars from other sports, such as tennis player Daniil Medvedev, who graced the turf of the Stade Louis II during the 30th edition.

After last year’s draw, the All Star Drivers beat Star Team For The Children MC (4-3) to lift the trophy.

Leclerc, Gasly and Sainz form attacking trident

The All Star Drivers team fielded a front three consisting of Ferrari teammates Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, as well as Pierre Gasly, a close friend of the Monegasque driver. All had chances to make an impact on the game in an open and entertaining edition of the match.

Leclerc, who faceplanted the turf in the opening minutes, joked about his performance.

“I really don’t have any talent! Football really isn’t for me. I’m a bit ridiculous,” he said to RMC Sport. 

However, in such events, it is the spectacle that matters and, in front of Prince Albert II, both teams put on an entertaining match with the Monaco Grand Prix just around the corner.


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Photo by ACM / Peyret

Interview: Photographer Vanessa von Zitzewitz on her new exhibition ‘Michael, Intimacy Behind Speed’

Vanessa von Zitzewitz standing in front of her photograph of Michael Schumacher's helmet


Intimate images of one of the greatest F1 drivers of all time, Michael Schumacher, are being shown at Sotheby’s Gallery in celebration of the Monaco Grand Prix.  

She has photographed some of the biggest names on the planet: Mick Jagger, Lisa Marie Presley, Claudia Schiffer, Sir Roger Moore, Fernando Alonso… As a Monaco resident for most of her life, German-born Vanessa von Zitzewitz has also produced multiple portraits of Princess Charlene and Prince Albert, as well as Christmas portraits featuring the young Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella.

But this exhibition is particularly special to Vanessa, because it came about by pure chance: negatives which had sat in secret for more than 20 years were rediscovered and curated for a special show that will be launched on Thursday 25th May. It’s titled ‘Michael, Intimacy Behind Speed’.

I spoke to Vanessa von Zitzewitz as she and her team were setting up this unique photography exhibition at Sotheby’s Monaco Gallery.

Monaco Life: How did this photo shoot of Michael Schumacher come about?

Vanessa von Zitzewitz: I studied at the Parsons School of Design, New York, and I was lucky to have very quickly found my path. I published my first book for Cartier when I was 23, so when I did the Schumacher pictures, I was pretty much set in my career.

I have lived here in Monaco for 30 years, and it was amazing the access you had with the right passes. To see the actual (Monaco Grand Prix) race, I remember walking around the whole track during the race seven times – including the tunnel – which today would be impossible, security wise. You would get pieces of tyres stuck to your face from when they were speeding by. I remember photographing Ayrton Senna driving by me in Place du Casino.

I had the right pass, I knew the right people, and I was actually on the circuit, not behind the barriers; I was in the grid with the drivers, everybody, it was sizzling hot.

One of my closest friends was Jean Todt, the head of Ferrari at the time, and he allowed me to come to several races backstage, so I had this huge privilege due to him.

‘Michael, Intimacy Behind Speed’ exhibition, photograph by Vanessa von Zitzewitz, all rights reserved

What was the thought process behind these images?

I had asked Jean if I could come to several races and do some backstage images because what I find interesting are the details. What I wanted to do for Ferrari was to get all the details, the logos, the hand of the mechanics, Michael’s shoes; like the picture you see here where he is checking on Mika Hakkinen’s time… Details that had not been photographed before. That’s what I always find challenging, moments that capture the sense of what’s going on behind the scene.

What did you find were some of the most remarkable things about photographing Schumacher at that time?

This whole exhibition is an entire coincidence. I was still using film at the time and I was transferring all of my negative archive from one place to another when a picture fell out of the files. It’s the one where you see Michael relaxing, having a cup of coffee and on the phone, smiling. It is the opposite of what people have in mind when they think about Michael Schumacher; they always think of him as very concentrated, with a helmet, not in a relaxed, intimate position. This intimate, secret side of him was never really shown.

Also, at the time there were no iPhones, so people had less access to images that showed him in a different way. When I found this picture of him sitting there – I can just imagine that he was probably calling his wife or his kids – I said to myself, ‘Oh my God, I have to check if I have some more’. Suddenly, I saw this massive amount of contact sheets with pictures that I found very interesting. Sotheby’s saw them and asked to have a show during the Monaco Grand Prix, and so that’s how it happened. It was a pure coincidence.

Do you have any recollections of what Michael Schumacher was like as a person?

Yes, he was very polite, very precise, very kind, but very discreet and so focused. As you can see, these pictures were all taken when he was working very hard. Every second, every minute, people were talking to him, whether it was his team or the journalists. You didn’t have time to chat with him. I remember just saying ‘Hello’, and smiling, and ‘How are you? How’s your wife?’ because I also know Corinna, his wife. I photographed her on several occasions. But you had this distance. He made it clear that he was working. You would feel a lot of respect. That’s what I remember doing these pictures. I would really try to be as discreet as possible, not to bother him. I remember that very well.

michael intimacy behind speed
‘Michael, Intimacy Behind Speed’ exhibition, photograph by Vanessa von Zitzewitz, all rights reserved

Indeed, you do get that perception when you’re looking at these photographs, it does look as though you were blending in and capturing those moments as if it was all very spontaneous…

They’re stolen moments, obviously, and that’s what makes them interesting. What did Ferrari and Michael Schumacher represent? Speed. So, that’s why I came up with this title for the show, ‘Intimacy Behind Speed’, to show that behind all of this crazy speed and loud moments, there are very calm moments. He was always very cool, very calm, very relaxed, very focused. It’s the total opposite of what’s then going on when he goes out of the pits and paddocks and sits in his car, and there are all these journalists and people watching and screaming. If you go around the pictures and look at them, it’s like you have just turned off the volume, and then you get these moments that I photographed.

They obviously have extra significance now given the accident. Do you feel privileged to have captured these?

I’ve worked for several months on the show now, because as they’re negatives, you have to blow them up and some old negatives had to be restored. So I’ve seen the images many times before they were printed and framed. But yesterday, when we put them all up on the wall, suddenly it was very emotional for me to see him there and remember the time that I took the pictures, but also the respect and what a man he is.

It’s not that long ago, most of the pictures were taken in 1998, but you see a lot of sports people today and things have changed a lot. Everything today is about agents and publicists and advertising that tell you what you’re allowed to do, what you are not allowed to do, or what you have to do.

You hardly have access to these racing drivers like you did at the time. So I’m not only privileged to have photographed him, but I’m also privileged to have had the opportunity to go behind the scene and to see things which probably today would be impossible to do because of all the regulations with sponsors saying, “Maybe she might see the inside of the engine and tell Mercedes what Ferrari is doing…” (laughs).

michael intimacy behind speed
‘Michael, Intimacy Behind Speed’ exhibition, photographs by Vanessa von Zitzewitz, all rights reserved

It is a does represent a bygone error, even traditional film photography itself is a dying art…

It is a dying art. And what makes me very sad, and it makes me laugh on the other hand, is on Instagram every second girl is a photographer, because obviously it’s very easy now with an iPhone to take a picture. But I consider myself an ouvrier: I’ve learned how to process film, I’ve learned how to work in a dark room to develop my images. Film is expensive, so you wouldn’t just shoot like crazy and then erase 95%. You used to think before you would photograph something because you knew it was going to be expensive to process. And also the light. Today they all have these little lights with them. Lighting has not been used in these pictures – maybe I used a reflector or something – but now everything is easier, and I don’t think it’s better.

What else have been career highlights for you?

What I think is amazing about my job is that I really went from one subject to another. I used to spend two months a year in the slums of Bangkok living at an orphanage and I came up with this book called Slaughterhouse Angels. And Caroline Scheufele from Chopard organised a big event in Switzerland where we sold my pictures and book and a piece of jewellery she did for this project, and we raised almost $500,000 that we gave entirely to the orphanage.

So I went from shooting children dying of AIDS, because in the early 2000s, children were actually dying around the age of 15 when they were born with HIV, to photographing very wealthy weddings in Middle Eastern countries: a very sad charity project to overwhelming pictures of incredibly well-dressed people with tonnes of jewellery and haute couture dresses. I like contrasts in life in general, and I think my work represents that. If I have my Canon in my hand, I can do whatever is interesting. There’s not a specific subject that I really like or dislike, it just it has to be different.

Your exhibition is showing during this year’s Monaco Grand Prix, so is this also a proud moment for you to have your work on show?

I’m very proud, and I’m also very proud that Prince Albert and Princess Charlene are attending the opening. I consider myself very lucky with their busy schedule, especially during the GP weekend. Jean Todt is also coming on Monday to see the show, so yes, I’m being rewarded by the attention of a lot of people coming to see the show, and as an artist, what more can you want?

I’m also doing a tribute to Michael through this show. The most special picture of all is going to be sold worldwide with Sotheby’s for the ‘Keep Fighting Foundation’ of the Schumacher family.

‘Michael, Intimacy Behind Speed’ by Vanessa von Zitzewitz, is on show at Sotheby’s Monaco Gallery from 25th May to 23rd June.


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Interview with Charles Leclerc: “We’re just at the start of the season, there is still everything to play for”



Pelagos backs new course to help save ensnared cetaceans

Monaco, France and Italy have come together to offer a new training course to maritime authorities that could help save the lives of whales and dolphins trapped by fishing nets in the Pelagos Sanctuary.  

Every year, an estimated 300,000 whales and dolphins are killed worldwide by fishing nets. At least a portion of these unnecessary deaths could be prevented with a bit of careful help and disentanglement, and that’s the goal of this new Pelagos Agreement-backed course.  

The Pelagos Agreement was formed by Monaco, France and Italy in 1999. It allows the three coastal nations to jointly coordinate initiatives in favour of protecting cetaceans and their habitats from danger and disturbances. 

This new programme, which has also received support from the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and the Coast Guard-Maritime Directorate of Genoa, was made possible through Italy’s contributions to the Pelagos Voluntary Fund.  

The training scheme will teach key players in the region how to free ensnared sea mammals from fishing gear in the Pelagos Sanctuary, which rests in the Corso-Liguro-Provençal Basin. 

This is the first time a programme like this has been launched for the operational units that make up the Agreement, which include the Maritime Gendarmerie of Nice and Toulon for France, the Department of Maritime Affairs for the Principality, and the Coast Guard-Maritime Departments of Genoa, Livorno, Cagliari and Olbia for Italy. 

pelagos training
Maritime authorities from France, Monaco and Italy participated in the first such training session in the region. Photo supplied by the Pelagos Sanctuary

The first training session was held in mid-May in Genoa and was led by David Mattila and Bob Lynch, IWC experts from the Global Whale Entanglement Response Network, who have so-far trained about 1,300 people in 36 countries on the techniques needed.  

The opening day of the course was devoted to learning about the local cetacean population through case studies and discussion. The next day was more hands-on, with the participants taking on practical exercises at sea, where they practised and perfected the methods to be used in real-life situations. 

“An intervention toolbox will be made available to each member country of the Agreement in order to encourage the use of common technical tools, as well as the harmonisation of intervention procedures,” the affiliated associations said via a press release. 


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Photo source: Talia Cohen for Unsplash

Dinner and club hotspot Twiga opening the summer season on Grand Prix weekend

Twiga, with its eclectic menu and sophisticated style, is kicking off the summer season during Monaco’s biggest weekend – the F1 Grand Prix.

Twiga Monte-Carlo opened its doors in 2014 and was instantly considered unique in the Principality’s nightlife scene.

With a menu featuring a mix of Italian and new-Asian cuisine, an extensive African and Japanese cocktail menu, and a beautifully decorated venue, Twiga’s ability to mix up different influences and cultures translates into a sophisticated night spot where seemingly unrelated pieces all fit together in harmony.

The name Twiga is translated from Swahili, meaning giraffe, and it is the brainchild of Italian entrepreneur and F1 legend Flavio Briatore, who brought together his love of the wildness and beauty of Africa with his innate sense of style.

The menu at Twiga is as eclectic as the establishment itself. Photo courtesy Twiga


Summer is when Twiga comes alive and this year it will launch its season starting from the Grand Prix weekend for the entire summer.

Once again, patrons will be able to indulge in an eclectic menu that includes Seabass Tartare, Salt Crusted Branzino, and Red King Prawns Gnocchetti, as well as a cocktail menu with inspirational choices like A-Peel-Ing, a refreshing blend of strawberry infused Aperol and Campari, Bombay Sapphire gin, Umeshu and Sparkling Chinotto.

The restaurant will host exclusive dinner shows featuring Alessandro Ristori and the Portofinos, as well as several cabaret shows by Dolce Riviera, to name a few. The club opens at 1am for those who like to party until the sunrise, and will host DJ’s like Louie Vega, Themba, Sona, Jamie Jones and Marco Carola.

Opening times:

Dining: Tuesday to Sunday from 8pm

Club: Thursday to Sunday from 1am


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


Main image courtesy Twiga 


Grand Prix: All the closures and diversions you need to know about

Knowing how to navigate your way into, or around, the Monaco Grand Prix circuit is vital as the Principality hosts its biggest event of the year. 

An event like the Grand Prix, particularly given the urban setting of Monaco’s famous race track, is going to necessitate some disruption. Here’s everything you need to know about the diversions and closures ahead of kick-off on Friday 26th May. 

Partial and total road closures 

Vehicles will be prevented from accessing the following roads during official events, with closures beginning between 6am and 11.30am depending on the programme of the day: 

Quai des États-Unis, Route de la Piscine, Jules Soccal jetty, Darse Sud, Boulevard Albert Ier, Place du Casino, Avenue des Citronniers (up to the entrance of the Métropole), Avenue Princesse Grace (from Avenue des Spélugues to Boulevard Louis II), Avenue J.F. Kennedy, Boulevard Louis II, Avenue de la Madone (between its intersection with Avenue des Spélugues and Avenue de Grande-Bretagne), Avenue de Monte-Carlo, Avenue d’Ostende, Avenue des Spélugues, Quai Albert Ier, Avenue de la Quarantaine, Avenue de la Costa (between No.3 and Avenue d’Ostende), Rue Grimaldi (between Place Sainte-Dévote and Rue Princesse Florestine), Boulevard du Larvotto (between the Auréglia and Grande-Bretagne roundabouts as well as between Rue du Portier and the Auréglia roundabout) and the Rocher Albert Ier and Rocher Noghès tunnels 

Avenue des Papalins, between No. 13 and No.39, and Avenue Albert II will be entirely closed for the duration of the Grand Prix. They will reopen at midnight on the final day of racing. 

The Rocher Antoine Ier tunnel has been closed since Friday 19th May and will remain so until Tuesday 30th May at 6pm.  

Pedestrians and public transport affected 

Pedestrians will be prohibited from accessing Avenue de la Costa (between No.3 and Avenue d’Ostende) on the same days and at the same times as drivers.

Boulevard du Larvotto (between Rue du Portier and Rue Louis Auréglia), Avenue de la Porte Neuve, Rue des Remparts, Terrasse du Ministère d’État and the Saint-Dévote and Costa staircases will also be similarly affected unless the pedestrian has a ticket to the Grand Prix or an official document allowing them access.  

It is also forbidden to enter the grandstand areas on foot until the huge structures have been fully dismantled, which is expected to be completed by Sunday 18th June.  

Click here to see the timetables and deviations in place for the Compagnie Autobus de Monaco bus network during the Grand Prix. 

grand prix closures diversions
Officials will be working on removing any offending street parkers from Monaco roads in the run-up to the Grand Prix. Photo by Monaco Life

Limitations on the Rock 

On Saturday 27th May, from 7am to the end of racing, and on Sunday 28th May, from 6am to the closure of the event, the one-way system on the Rock, or Monaco-Ville, will be closed. This will affect the following roads: 

Avenue des Pins, Place de la Visitation, Rue Princesse Marie de Lorraine, Rue Philibert Florence, Rue des Remparts, Place du Palais, Rue Colonel Bellando de Castro and Avenue Saint-Martin 

From 5.30am on Saturday 27th May to the end of action the following day, vehicles with a registration plate from outside of Monaco will be banned from using the Avenue de la Porte Neuve.  

Little to no street parking 

Parking on Monaco’s streets will be by-and-large prohibited during the Grand Prix and, in some cases, the days that follow. A complete list of areas where parking is banned can be found here.  

Monabike and electric charging points 

The following electric vehicle charging points will be out of action until Tuesday 30th May: 

Rue Grimaldi, Rue Notari, Rue Louis Auréglia, Rue Princesse Florestine, Quai des États-Unis, Avenue de la Madone, Avenue de la Quarantaine and Boulevard d’Italie 

These Monabike stations will also be closed until Tuesday 30th May: 

Place Sainte-Dévote, Sauvaigo, Parking des Pêcheurs and Place d’Armes 

Those at Darse Nord and the Yacht Club will be shut down until Wednesday 31st May.  

More disruption to come after the Grand Prix 

The Quai des États-Unis, Route de la Piscine and Avenue J.F. Kennedy will be off limits to drivers from 8.30pm on Sunday 28th May until 8pm on Tuesday 30th May. A one-way system will also be in place for much of Port Hercules until Sunday 18th June as workers take down the grandstands.  

Access to Quai Antoine Ier will be impossible during the Grand Prix event, extending until Sunday 4th June for the section between Route de la Piscine and No.14.  

These areas will also be affected on Wednesday 24th May as final preparations take place.


Read more:

A guide to getting to and from Monaco during the Grand Prix

How Monaco’s most famous Grand Prix corners got their names


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Photos by Monaco Life


NEW PODCAST: The story behind ‘Michael, Intimacy Behind Speed’ by Vanessa von Zitzewitz


As her photographs were being hung on the walls of Sotheby’s Gallery Monaco, Vanessa von Zitzewitz spoke to Monaco Life about the extraordinary discovery that lead to this exhibition, ‘Michael, Intimacy Behind Speed’, and what it was like to shoot the legendary Formula One driver in days when few restrictions were imposed on photographers.

‘Michael, Intimacy Behind Speed’ by Vanessa von Titzewitz, is on show at Sotheby’s Monaco Gallery throughout Monaco Grand Prix weekend, from 25th May to 23rd June.


Photo: Vanessa von Titzewitz, Jean Todt and Louise Grether at Sotheby’s Monaco Gallery. Photo courtesy Vanessa von Titzewitz.



Interview: Photographer Vanessa von Zitzewitz on her new exhibition ‘Michael, Intimacy Behind Speed’