France, Ireland or New Zealand: Who has the Opta predictor chosen as Rugby World Cup winners?

Gilbert Rugby Ball being placed for a penalty

With just days to go before the start of the 2023 Rugby World Cup, the Opta supercomputer has calculated the likely winner of the tournament, which will be hosted by France. 

The Rugby World Cup gets underway on Friday with a match between two of the favourites to win the tournament. France and New Zealand will face off at the Parc des Princes on 8th September.

However, according to Opta’s predictions, neither are at the top of the list of teams likely to win it. According to the analytics company, it is instead Ireland, the winner of this year’s Six Nations, that are tipped for the title.

Will home advantage count?

According to Opta, Andy Farrell’s Ireland side have a 21.7% chance of winning the tournament. However, they will face stern competition. Home side France have a strong chance of taking the title, a 21.4% likelihood, according to Opta. On home soil, the fervent French support could make the difference.

Reigning champions South Africa are in the mix too, and a win for them could be the case once again. The Springboks have been attributed a 20.5% chance of winning this year after winning the previous edition in 2019.

New Zealand have only been given a 20.2% chance of being crowned champions, despite being many bookmakers’ favourites. Argentina (5.7%) and England (4.4%) both have an outside chance. The latter competed in the final in Yokohama in 2019, but have seen a significant drop-off in form these past months.


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Photo by Fanny Schertzer



The A500 Monaco tunnel to close every night until Friday

Maintenance work on the A500 Monaco tunnel will see the closure of this major thoroughfare every night until Friday. Diversions will be put in place.

The A500 tunnel, access to the motorway via exit no. 57 (A500/Laghet), and the ramp from exit no. 56 A8/Monaco, will be closed in both directions to traffic between the hours of 9pm and 5am until Friday 8th September at 5am.

Motorists will instead be able to take the no. 57 exit from the A8 to La Turbie to reach Monaco. Large vehicles will be diverted to exit no. 55.

For those exiting Monaco, diversions will be in place via the RD 37.

Normal traffic flow will be restored during this period from 5am to 9pm.

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Photo credit: G.E

How to take part in the Prince Albert II Foundation’s Environmental Photography Awards

Amateur and professional photographers alike can now register for the annual Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation’s Environmental Photography Awards. Here’s how. 

The Prince Albert II Foundation has long been a champion of all things environmental, sponsoring more than 750 projects and offering grants in excess of €100 million over the years. One of its newer and most popular initiatives is the Environmental Photography Awards, to which registrations can now be submitted for the 2024 edition.  

Launched in 2021 to mark the foundation’s 15th anniversary, the competition was created as a way of raising awareness through the universally recognisable visual medium of photography, celebrating the beauty of the Earth as well as highlighting the problems it faces.  The most recent edition attracted 10,000 submissions from photographers the world over.

Now it’s back and photographers of all backgrounds, skill level and nationality have until 5th November to submit their work via the official website. Participation is entirely free of charge.


The Environmental Photography Awards rewards photographers for their creativity and skill in capturing moments in time under five specific categories. This time, the themes are: Polar Wonders; Ocean Worlds; Into the Forest; Humanity versus Nature; and Change Makers: Reason for Hope.  

The 2023 Students’ Choice Award went to David Feuerhelm with Baby it’s Cold Out There!, 2019, Mýrdalsjökull Glacier, Iceland

Participants can submit up to five pictures in each of the five categories and prizes include €1,000 for the winner of each category, with the Grand Prize winner receiving €6,000 and the chance to travel to Ecuador to visit the Amazon Research Station of the University of Ecuador in the capacity of a photo documentarian for a project in the heart of the jungle.  

There is also a Public Favourite Award for the best photo as voted for online and a Students’ Choice Prize given by the Principality’s high schools in collaboration with the Department of National Education, Youth and Sport. Winners in these categories earn a €500 prize.  

“The Environmental Photography Award is now a major event in the panorama of photo competitions dedicated to nature,” says Olivier Wenden, Vice-Chairman and CEO of Prince Albert II Foundation. “What makes it special is its holistic approach: celebrating the beauty of biodiversity while also bearing witness to the harmful effects of human activity on the environment and the hopes of those committed to making positive changes. It is essential that the photos convey a strong message to the public and encourage them to take action.” 


For this edition, the jury presidency has been given to a British underwater photographer and marine biologist, Alex Mustard, who was a jurist for the 2023 competition.  

“I discovered the Environmental Photography Award in 2022, loved its ethos and entered immediately,” says Mustard. “Still images are both powerful and accessible, popping into our lives in books, magazines, as prints or on screens. When it comes to the natural world, we know that people are more inclined to protect what they know and love, which is why we photographers have a vital role to play in informing the public, providing them with new knowledge, and sharing with them our emotions and unique experiences.” 

Joining Mustard are Javier Aznar, Jasper Doest, Esther Horvath, Britta Jaschinski, Alxea Keefe and Steve Winter. 

After two years as a juror, Sergio Pitamitz, a wildlife and conservation photographer and photographer for National Geographic Expeditions as well as an International League of Conservation Photographers member, has been appointed as the contest’s chairman and will be part of the Prince Albert II Foundation team as they go through the selection process.  

Read about the winning image from the 2023 edition here:

The story behind the winning image: “Forest elephants are collateral damage to the global mining industry”


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Featured photo of the 2023 winner of the “Into the Forest” category: Kallol Mukherjee, Falling Leaves are Blue, 2018, Himalayas, India



‘Monet en pleine lumière’ breaks records, next three exhibitions revealed

It’s going to be a hard one to top. The Monet in Full Light (‘Monet en pleine lumière’) exhibition at the Grimaldi Forum has set a new attendance record with historically high visitor numbers. So what’s up next on the calendar and how will they compare?

The Monet in Full Light exhibition closed its doors on the evening of Sunday 3rd September after two full months at the Grimaldi Forum.

“It’s a record,” says Sylvie Biancheri, General Director of the Grimaldi Forum. “Relative to the number of days open, it is the most visited exhibition at the Grimaldi Forum with 120,000 attendees. We can be proud of such a result and I would like to commend the tremendous work carried out by all our teams.”

The visitors

An average of 2,000 people visited the exhibition daily, with peaks of up to 4,000 people at the end of the exhibition “when word of mouth had spread”. The majority, 80%, of visitors were from Monaco and France, but they also came from abroad, with mainly Europeans at the forefront, including 10% Italians, lured by Claude Monet’s paintings of Bordighera and Dolceacqua.

For Francesco Grosoli, CEO of CMB Monaco, the official and long-time partner of the Grimaldi Forum, “This exhibition will remain engraved in people’s memories. Its quality reflected our ambition in terms of patronage and that of contributing ever more to the cultural influence of the Principality.”

Photo by Monaco Life

Celebrating Monet’s love of the Riviera

Inaugurated on 6th July by Prince Albert II of Monaco, the Monet in Full Light exhibition ran from 8th July to 3rd September. Marking the 140th anniversary of Claude Monet’s first stopover in Monte-Carlo and the French Riviera, it offered a new look at the work of the Master through a tour of nearly 100 paintings from all over the world.

Curated by Marianne Mathieu, a Claude Monet specialist, the exhibition provided the keys to better understanding the painter’s quest to paint light through an exceptional scenography over 2,500 square metres. It was one of the most important exhibitions dedicated to Claude Monet of this decade, and undoubtedly also the most daring, with masterpieces rarely revealed together – and one previously unpublished.

It was produced by the Grimaldi Forum Monaco, with the support of the Marmottan Monet Museum in Paris, and also brought together more than 30 lenders. It was backed by CMB Monaco, Sotheby’s and the Marzocco Group.

A responsible exhibition

In the process of obtaining ISO 20121 certification, the reference standard for sustainable events, the Grimaldi Forum Monaco this year went even further, working in collaboration with transport company André Chenue to reduce the ecological impact of the exhibition. Cashier systems were redesigned, air deliveries consolidated, and a new fuel solution was used for road freight. It produced impressive results for a first approach: more than 20% emissions savings were achieved, equal to around 30 tonnes less CO2.

As part of the Grimaldi Forum’s CSR policy, the exhibition was also an opportunity to welcome solidarity associations such as Les Enfants de Frankie with CMB Monaco and Fight Aids Monaco, as well as organising visits for visually impaired or blind audiences with Valentin Haüy and Arrimage.


In a surprising move, the Grimaldi Forum Monaco on Tuesday not only revealed the theme of next year’s summer exhibition, it has divulged the next three summer exhibitions. They are William J.M. Turner, the sublime legacy, organised with the TATE museum in 2024, Colours, the masterpieces of the Centre Pompidou in 2025, and Monaco and the Automobile in 2026.

Stay tuned to Monaco Life for more details!

To see more of this year’s Monet in Full Light exhibition, click on our Instagram video below…


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Photo by Monaco Life 



Could France ban “bad habit” electronic cigarettes?

French Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne has revealed her intention to ban disposable electronic cigarettes. Known colloquially as “puffs”, she says they are a gateway to other tobacco products and an ecological disaster.  

In an interview with RTL on 3rd September, Borne revealed that she wants a ban on the throw-away devices, saying that, in addition to being an environmental disaster, they are a hook for youth to other tobacco products.  


Whilst increasing tobacco prices to combat the habit of smoking has worked to some degree – a packet of cigarettes now costs over €10 in France – the government won’t be raising taxes on tobacco products any time soon. Now, says Borne, it’s time for a different approach: to stop would-be smokers from ever starting in the first place. 

Disposable vapes, which feature flavours criticised for being too attractive to minors such as bubble gum and marshmallow, together with bright attractive packaging, are relatively inexpensive when compared to a traditional packet of cigarettes.  

Priced at €8 to €12 for around 500 “puffs”, teenage smokers have increasingly turned to this method of smoking over the “real thing”. According to a 2022 report by Statistica, the average regular e-cigarette user spends €59 per month on their habit. 

“It’s a reflex and a gesture that young people get used to. That’s how they get into smoking,” said Borne.  

She went on to say that it’s not only the nicotine that is a concern, but the mere action. She argued that products like “puffs” are “giving bad habits to young people” and should be removed from the marketplace. 


This measure is in line with a recent opinion piece released by doctors, tobacco specialists and environmental defenders that called for an urgent ban on these infamous cigarettes. In it, the National Academy of Medicine described disposable e-cigarettes as a “particularly devious trap for children and adolescents”.  

Several other European countries are taking a similar stance, with initiatives to ban them currently in the works in Ireland, Belgium and Germany.  

France has the EU’s second highest usage of vapes, with only Iceland using more.  

No date for a ban has been announced, although it’s likely to get the backing of the French parliament.


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Photo by Monaco Life 

Pétanque: Nelly Peyré retains Princess Gabriella Challenge title

Pétanque princess gabriella

Nelly Peyré retained her title in the second edition of the Princess Gabriella Challenge, a female-only pétanque championship, over the weekend.

French Peyré, who last year won the inaugural edition of the Princess Gabriella Challenge alongside Céline Lebossé, returned for last weekend’s edition alongside new partner Audrey Bandiera. Once again, it was Peyré, her teammate and France that won the all-female championship at the Rainier III boules pitch in the Espace Saint Antoine of the Stade Louis II on Sunday.

Promising performance from Monegasque pair

Peyré and Bandiera overcame the Italian pair of Serena Sacco and Alessia Bottero in the final (13-2) of the event, which was organised by the Club Bouliste Monégasque.

The Monegasque pair of Caroline Godard and Chloé Perez also put in a promising performance. The duo, both 20 years old, reached the quarter-finals of the event, alluding to a bright future for pétanque in Monaco.

The 76 pair-strong international pétanque tournament will return to the boule pitches of the Principality in 2024.


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Photo of winner Nelly Peyré, source: Club Bouliste Monégasque