A giant sculpture titled ‘Three elements’ has been unveiled by Prince Albert in the new Maraterra district alongside the artist Bernard Bezzina.
The monumental work has been installed in the new Place du Larvotto facing the Mediterranean Sea.
The bronze sculptures reach up to 10, 12 and 15 metres high and feature numerous uneven peaks.
“The theme is one I have had for many years: strength and fragility, something that has real meaning for me today,” said Bernard Bezzina during the unveiling on Saturday 3rd June.
It has taken three years for the French artist, who lives between the Var and Italy, to complete the work.
The sculpture has been cast on wood and made in bronze.
The ‘three elements’ that it represents are water, earth, and air. The site was chosen because “it was the best location to represent the three elements,” Bezzina told Monaco Life.
Bernard Bezzina is no stranger to the Principality. His work ‘La Main Divition III’ is positioned next to the Opéra de Monte-Carlo, and it was Prince Albert himself who first showed an interest in a 1/10 version of ‘Three Elements’ before it was commissioned to be produced on a larger scale.
In line with the mission of the Principality, Bernard Bezzina respects the ethics of sustainable development in his creative process.
He uses an old grinder to make cotton paper, which he then tears and lays on top of his designs, creating layer after layer, covering it with multiple coats of natural pigments. Eventually it reaches his desired density, resembling tanned leather with incisions and traces creating different impacts.
Bernard Bezzina will feature his monumental sculptures during a solo exhibition throughout the city of Pietra Santa, Italy, from 17th June to 17th September.
He is also being exhibited at the Galerie Podgorny Robinson in Saint Paul until 25th June.
President of the Var Jean-Louis Masson has called on France’s Sports Minister, Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, to invest the money necessary to bring back the French Grand Prix.
The French Grand Prix, most recently held at Le Castellet, to the north-west of Toulon, was dropped from this year’s calendar and, as of now, there are no tangible plans to resurrect this Grand Prix location. However, the country’s Sports Minister has expressed a desire for Formula One to return to the Paul Ricard Circuit.
“I think it’s positive that the boss of Formula One (Stefano Domenicali) has recently expressed such a desire for France. Therefore, we will work on a roadmap. This is a really great opportunity so we will do whatever we can to take advantage of it,” said Oudéa-Castéra.
However, amidst the discourse of a potential return, Masson, the president of the Var region, in which the Paul Ricard Circuit is situated, has called for real action.
“Let the state put €10 to 15 million like Italy with the Italian Grand Prix. That’s 10 times more than in the past,” said Masson.
However, before any progress can be made on a potential return of the French Grand Prix, the accounts need to be settled. The Public Interest Group, in charge of hosting France’s former Formula One destination, reportedly has “colossal” debts and an audit has just begun, which will either highlight financial misconduct or, on the contrary, validate the hosting of the Formula One race.
Whilst there may be a desire amongst certain parties for the French Grand Prix, the return of the Formula One paddock to La Hexagone currently feels a long way away.
In a busy week of celebrations at home, Monaco’s governmental and diplomatic forces were also hard at work abroad.
MONACO AT THE WORLD HEALTH ASSEMBLY
Carole Lanteri, Ambassador and Representative for the Permanent Mission of Monaco to the United Nations Office in Geneva, led the way at the 76th World Health Assembly that was organised by the World Health Organisation from 21st to 30th May in Switzerland.
Monaco has been a part of the WHO since its inception, and Ambassador Lanteri and her delegation spoke of the Principality’s firm and continued commitments to its mission and objectives, citing its past role in helping to eradicate polio.
The talks centred on preparedness and responses to health emergencies, as well as an ongoing support of Ukraine. They also touched on environmental threats to human health, with Monaco proving itself to be a key supporter of a resolution to tackle the threat of chemicals, waste and pollution on humanity.
MINISTER OF STATE IN MOLDOVA
Minister of State Pierre Dartout joined European leaders in Moldova, at a location 20 kilometres from the Ukrainian border, for the second Summit of the European Political Community on 1st June.
The war in Ukraine was a hot topic – the country’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, attended in an effort to expand his support network in Europe – but the conflict wasn’t all that was discussed. Energy, security, hybrid threats, and mobility and connectivity issues were also high on the agenda.
Speaking during the event, Minister Dartout said, “Monaco’s presence among the 47 countries that responded to Moldova’s invitation is testimony to our commitment to serving peace, freedom and security in Europe.”
The next meeting will be held in Granada, Spain on 5th October.
NEW ABASSADOR TO SLOVENIA
A communiqué released by the Monegasque government last week confirmed that Anne Eastwood had presented her letters of credence to Nataša Pirc Musar, President of the Republic of Slovenia, on 3rd May, making Eastwood Monaco’s new Ambassador to the country. Eastwood is also Monaco’s Ambassador to Italy, and therefore will be a non-resident ambassador to Slovenia.
The ceremony in Ljubljana saw Eastwood speak about the commonalities present between Slovenia and Monaco, notably in the areas of climate change, protection of the oceans, gender equality and the promotion of the role of women. Various joint projects were also discussed, and included environmental and economic issues.
The following day, Ambassador Eastwood met with the president of Slovenia’s National Assembly, Urška Klakocar Zupancic, who spoke of her intention to propose the creation of a Slovenia-Monaco friendship group.
Members of the government, along with the National Council and numerous business leaders and community representatives, came together to celebrate Monaco Pride.
The Principality also mourned the passing of Albert Croesi, a long-time and respected member of the Monegasque government.
“It is with great sadness that we learned of the sudden passing of Albert Croesi,” said Minister of State Pierre Dartout. “On behalf of the Prince’s Government, I would like to express my most sincere condolences to his family and loved ones. We already miss his generosity, his benevolence and the energy with which he undertook all the projects entrusted to him.”
In happier news, Monaco also kicked off the centenary celebrations of Prince Rainier III with a week full of events, exhibitions and special occasions. To see the photos and read more:
The Monaco community has wholeheartedly taken to the streets and squares of the Principality this past week to celebrate the centenary of its late sovereign, Prince Rainier III.
On 31st May, the celebrations began with a day and night of festivities up on the Rock and in front of the ancestral home of the Grimaldi Family, the Palais Princier de Monaco.
Music of all kinds provided the soundtrack to an event that brought Monegasque citizens out in droves, from folk and jazz bands, to an orchestral ensemble from the Prince’s Guard and the Children’s Choir of the Académie de Musique du Prince Rainier III.
Cars from the Prince’s Car Collection, a project initiated by Prince Rainier III, were wheeled out and, in some cases, driven by members of the Princely family, much to the delight of the crowds gathered.
As evening fell, Prince Albert II, surrounded by his own family, shared with those gathered a cake in honour of what would have been Prince Rainier’s 100th birthday.
31st May also saw the launch of several exhibitions connected with the late leader of Monaco, such as Le Prince Chez Lui within the confines of the Palais Princier, which was attended en masse by Prince Rainier’s descendants, and Le Prince et ses Animaux down at the Jardin Animalier.
Countless events took place across the Principality that day too, from the launch of a sculptural walk to a graffiti art session led by Mr One Teas.
Over the course of the next few days, weeks and months, many other commemorative occasions will be taking place in memory of Prince Rainier III, both here in Monaco and abroad.
Another round of strikes and protests is threatening to impact air and rail travel across France, including on the French Riviera.
On Tuesday 6th June, protestors will be taking to the streets for the 14th day of inter-union strikes against France’s controversial pension reform bill.
Locally, there will be two main public demonstrations taking place, with strikers due to meet at 10am at the Théâtre de Verdure in Nice and at the same time at the Pôle Multimodal in Antibes.
Fuelled by parliament
The 6th June protests come just two days before a bill to annul recent pension reforms, put out by the centrist Liberties, Independents, Overseas and Territories (LIOT) group, a catch-all name for a faction within France’s National Assembly, was supposed to be examined.
However, a vote in the Assembly’s Social Affairs Committee ahead of the debates saw the item withdrawn from the agenda, causing a new swell of anger amongst the unions.
“I can tell you that the withdrawal of the article has aroused a certain number of activists,” said Franck Hausner, the Secretary-General of Union Départementale Force Ouvrière 06, a local union. “There is a real dissatisfaction [amongst] workers and the population vis-à-vis the government’s attitude with a refusal of dialogue. This phenomenon of taking people for what they are not – let’s remain polite – pushes them to participate in the demonstration.”
Local travel impacts
Some train services will be cancelled, but in an announcement from SNCF, they will not be as severe as previously seen.
“Train traffic will be slightly disrupted on the SNCF network this Tuesday 6th June due to a national interprofessional social movement. We invite you to check the train circulation on your usual information channels the day before, from 5.00pm,” reads the statement.
Nationally, the railway company estimates that nine trains out of 10 will be operating as usual.
Air travel disrupted
The air traffic controllers strike may be more troublesome, though. The General Directorate of Civil Aviation (DGAC) has asked that “airlines reduce their flight schedule” ahead of staff walk-outs.
At Paris-Orly, 33% of flights have already been cancelled, according to the DGAC, which anticipates further cancellations at Lyon, Marseille, Nice, Toulouse, Bordeaux and Nantes Airports as well.
It is not fully known yet what flights will be affected locally, but Nice Airport has put out a statement asking passengers to be proactive and check their flight status before coming to the airport.
“Due to a national strike, risks of flight disruptions and cancellations are to be expected on Tuesday 6th June. For more information, we advise passengers to contact their airline directly or contact our telephone advisers on 08 20 42 33 33.”
Suggestions that one in five flights in and out of Nice will be scrapped have, however, been published by local French press outlets.
Some 250 total actions are planned in France, which could bring together numbers in the region of 400,000 to 600,000 people, including 40,000 to 70,000 in the capital, according to authorities. This is far from the record of 7th March, when 1.28 million participants marched according to the police, but still shows the unions are far from down and out in their fight against the reforms.
AS Monaco have sacked manager Philippe Clement after a run of poor form saw the Principality club miss out on European qualification for next season.
An air of resignation seeped into Clement’s discourse after Monaco’s latest defeat at the hands of FC Toulouse (1-2) on Saturday 3rd June.
“It’s up to the management,” admitted the Belgian manager, who arrived from Club Brugge in January 2022.
The poor result at the weekend meant that Monaco finished sixth in Ligue 1, which isn’t enough to earn them any form of European football for next season.
In his first season at the club, Clement turned a difficult campaign on its head during the final 10 games, nine of which they won. That allowed Monaco to qualify for the Champions League play-offs, although the club ultimately didn’t make it to the group stages of the prestigious competition.
Instead, the Principality club had to settle for the Europa League, but suffered an early exit at the hands of Bayer Leverkusen in the first knockout round, whilst Clement’s side were also knocked out by Rodez in their one and only Coupe de France fixture.
The first departure, but certainly not the last
Despite a lack of form in cup competitions, Monaco were still going strong in the league, and for much of the season were in contention for the Champions League places. However, Les Monégasques suffered five defeats in their final seven league matches. That run included just one win, against bottom club SCO Angers.
That form has now cost Clement his job. In a press release, Monaco thanked the Belgian manager for his work and wished him and his staff the best going forward.
“It’s a difficult decision to take because Philippe has always given the best of himself and has always acted in a professional way. On behalf of the club, I want to thank him for all of his efforts,” said AS Monaco Sporting Director Paul Mitchell.
Clement is the first out the door, but he won’t be the last in what is expected to be a hectic summer at the club. Mitchell has announced that he will be leaving once his replacement is in place and settled. That replacement is expected to be Thiago Scuro, and confirmation of his arrival is anticipated to come soon.
Plenty of players will also be leaving.
“I think it’s the end of a cycle,” said now-former Monaco manager Clement in Saturday’s post-match press conference. “There are players that would like to leave. Naturally, that needs to be on the conditions that suit the club,” he added.
The club concluded by stating that they will take time to reflect on who to hire to replace Clement. L’Équipe have linked Red Bull Salzburg manager Matthias Jaissle and former Leeds United manager Jesse Marsch to the vacant role.