Rumours of a migrant camp in Menton denied in wake of Lampedusa crisis

lampedusa menton

An estimated 10,000 migrants landed on the Italian island of Lampedusa last week alone, putting serious pressure on local infrastructure that is suitable for just 400. Border crossings of migrants into France are also rising, forcing French authorities to call in reinforcements and deny rumours of the creation of a camp near Menton. 

200 boats containing a reported 10,000 migrants arrived on the shores of Lampedusa the last week, according to media reports, leading Italian officials to reach out to their European neighbours to ask for assistance. 

France’s Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, travelled to Rome at the start of this week to meet with his Italian counterpart and try and find a way forwards in dealing with the ongoing crisis on Lampedusa, and while stating that France would not be accepting any of the recent arrivals.

In an interview with Europe 1, Darmanin said that France was “not preparing to welcome” any of the migrants currently installed on Lampedusa.

Meanwhile, in the French Riviera, rumours have been circulated in the media of a temporary migrant camp that may be erected to help with the processing of these thousands of migrants.  

“Fake news”

The Prefecture of the Alpes-Maritimes has branded this information as “fake news”, and released a statement saying, “The #Prefect06 categorically denies any project to build a migrant camp in Menton.” 

It has been confirmed, however, that local police will be given “increased capabilities” to deal with the larger-than-usual numbers of illegal migrants crossing the border from Italy into the French Riviera.  

According to France 3 Côte d’Azur, the number of border personnel in the region will rise by 200. Soldiers numbering 120 may also be drafted in.  

Around 1,500 migrants are reported to have been stopped last week, up from the usual 100 per day. 

Following a decision to requisition a hotel near the Italian border to house an elevated number of unaccompanied minors earlier this month, there has also been talk of identifying similar properties in the Menton area to help process adult migrants who have crossed the border into France. No official statement has been made as yet on this matter. 


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Photo source: Red Charlie, Unsplash

Get a truffle taster this weekend ahead of the big autumn festival in Alba

In the lead-up to the International Alba White Truffle Fair, Monaco’s neighbour of Beausoleil is hosting its own Italian-themed market this weekend, which will highlight the truffle alongside plenty of other Piedmont delicacies. 

With the Fiera Internazionale del Tartufo Bianco d’Alba – the International Alba White Truffle Fair – just around the corner, its twinned city of Beausoleil has planned a special event for 23rd and 24th September.  


Beausoleil’s Marché des Couleurs et des Saveurs d’Italie, now in its 15th edition, will welcome a host of vendors offering exquisite Piedmontese delicacies, such as white truffles, wines, chesses, charcuterie, jams, pastries and more to the Boulevard de la République and Avenue du Général de Gaulle. Saturday’s market will run from 9am to 6pm, and Sunday’s event will take place between 9am and 2pm.  


This local event is but a prelude to the 2023 edition of the International Alba White Truffle Festival, which officially runs from 7th October to 3rd December. 

The city of Alba, known as the white truffle “capital” of Italy, if not the world, is famous for this exceptional gastronomic event as well as its signature tuber.  

Each autumn, a market selling truffles from the Langhe, Monferrato and Roero areas of the region dominates the historic city centre of Alba.  

Visitors can also expect a variety of side events, such as cookery classes, exclusive dining experiences, cooking shows, wine tastings and courses on the unique characteristics of a true Alba truffle. 

For more information and the full schedule, please click here.  


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Photo source: Andrea Cairone, Unsplash


Formula E: Edoardo Mortara leaves Maserati MSG Racing

Edoardo Mortara - Maserati MSG Racing

After six years, Swiss-Italian driver Edoardo Mortara has left Maserati Monaco Sports Group Racing. Here are all the details. 

Mortara joined Maserati MSG Racing, known as Venturi at the time, back in 2017. Over the course of his stint with the team, one of the longest and most successful in the championship, Mortara won six races, scored 13 podiums and claimed a total of 422 points.

He came close to winning the Formula E Championship on two occasions, being crowned Vice-Champion in Season Seven, before once again getting close in Season Eight. However, Mortara struggled in Season Nine, being outperformed by new teammate Maximilian Günther.

In a press release, Mortara has reflected on his time with the team.

“The past six years have been quite a journey, and it has been an honour to represent the team during this time. Since 2017, we have experienced a lot together, it’s been a rollercoaster at times and by learning from the tough moments we faced, we grew to become a competitive outfit, fighting for race wins and world championships,” he began.

“I’m proud of the role I played in this”

The Swiss-Italian driver added, “I’m proud of the role I played in this. I want to take this opportunity to thank the team and for their trust in me and their support. I wish them the best of luck for the future.”

Team Principal James Rossiter said, “We would like to thank Edo for his efforts and success over the past six seasons. His experience, knowledge and expertise have been pivotal in our journey and development as a team.”

Maserati MSG Racing now have the task of recruiting Mortara’s replacement before the start of Season 10, which gets underway in Mexico City on 13th January.


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Photo source: Maserati MSG Racing

Everything you need to know about this year’s Monte-Carlo Jazz Festival

The Monte-Carlo Jazz Festival will return this autumn with an eclectic roster of performers as well as the popular Before & After series at intimate and iconic venues around the Principality. 

The Monte-Carlo Jazz Festival (MCJF), now in its 17th year, has hit its stride with the 2023 edition. The concert series will feature some of the biggest names not just from the jazz world, but also from pop, comedy, soul and R&B, giving it a truly broad-base appeal that is standing the test of time.  

Festival highlights

Concerts to look forward to include those by American soul and pop star Macy Gray on 25th November, and French-Lebanese trumpeter and MCJF regular Ibrahim Maalouf on 2nd December. Festival godfather Marcus Miller is making a special guest appearance with the Ron Carter Foursight Quartet on 18th November. 

Other highlights include a modern jazz show by students from the Academie Rainier III on 21st November and a special collaboration between Magma and the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra on 27th November,  

MCJF is also hosting a “masterclass” on 26th November, where Alex Jaffray will take the audience through “the soundtrack of [their] life”. This event is a unique mix of music, comedy and insights that leaves no genre unheard… Expect everything from Bach to Daft Punk via The Eagles and Gilbert Montagné! 

Additionally, the MCJF will be hosting a special screening of Clint Eastwood’s highly acclaimed and touching film Bird about the turbulent life of jazz saxophonist legend Charlie Bird Parker on 17th November.  

Finally, the Bar Américain at the Hôtel de Paris, the Crystal Bar at the Hôtel Hermitage and the Casino de Monte Carlo’s Café de la Rotonde will be hosting Before & After events throughout the festival, offering dedicated fans even more action and up-close experiences with their idols.  

The Monte-Carlo Jazz Festival runs from 17th November to 2nd January. Concerts will be held exclusively at the Opéra Garnier.  

Tickets are on sale now. For more information, please click here


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Photo via Monte-Carlo SBM / Facebook  

Parisian cabaret dancers inspire new Kalon Cardio Barre class at the Spa Métropole

The Spa Métropole by Givenchy has teamed up with former professional cabaret dancers from Paris to offer a new style of fitness class, the Kalon Cardio Barre, which combines dance and Pilates with a serious dash of glamour thrown in.  

A fun and lively blend of dance moves, Pilates techniques and strength training, the new Kalon Cardio Barre class has been designed and created by top Parisian dancers from the French capital’s finest cabaret shows.  

The workout is purported to tone and sculpt all parts of the body using small isometric movements with low weights and a lot of repetition; class-goers stand to burn burning up to 500 calories per session. The theory is that these movements tone muscles without turning adherents into Arnold Schwarzenegger.  

“From the very first class, your posture changes,” says Sophie Fourçans, the creator of the Kalon Cardio Barre method. “For an hour, you escape into the sound of the music, you stop thinking about anything and you get an intoxicating rush of endorphins that boost your energy in the long-term.”  

Followers call it addictive, and the instructors say it can be done by people of all fitness levels, so even couch potatoes can join in the fun. No formal dance training is required either, making it great for those who are open to trying something new.  


The Spa Métropole has teamed up with the Kalon Fitness Studio for an exclusive offer this autumn: personalised lessons are offered three days a month, with no more than five people per class, and there are also one-to-one sessions available for those that like a bit more privacy.  

Classes are being held 19th, 20th and 21st September, then 17th, 18th and 19th October, and 21st, 22nd and 23rd November from 10am to 11am. The cost is €95 per person for group classes. Individual lessons are €160 and start from 2pm.   

For more information, or to book a space, email or call +377 93 15 13 70.  


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Photo credit: Studio Phenix

Beausoleil mayor handed €150,000 fine and suspended prison sentence 

Gérard Spinelli, the mayor of Beausoleil since 2008, has been given a one-year suspended prison sentence and a €150,000 fine for the misappropriation of public funds, which reportedly included a birthday party for his wife at the Hôtel de Paris in Monaco paid for by the taxpayer. 

Last week, a court in Nice found Gérard Spinelli, the mayor of Beausoleil, the French commune that borders the Principality to the north, guilty of charges pertaining to the misappropriation of public funds.  

The 69-year-old has been handed a €150,000 fine as well as a one-year suspended prison sentence for crimes including the “embezzlement of public funds by a person invested with an elective mandate… the organisation and financing of private activities by the town hall, the incurring of expenses for personal purposes and more generally the non-compliance with the rules of public procurement regarding food expenses”, according to the prosecutor in Nice.  

In a communiqué sent out to the local media following his high-profile sentencing, Spinelli said, “Errors can be made.” 

As printed by France 3 Côte d’Azur, Spinelli in his statement blamed a “lack of time, lack of staff” for these errors, adding that he had since “increased controls” to prevent any future incidents. He also claimed: “I have not benefited from any personal enrichment.” 

In comments published by the Nice Matin on the topic of the controversial birthday party for Spinelli’s wife, which was held at the Hôtel de Paris in Monaco back in 2017, the mayor, who maintains his position, argued that the reality of the event had been manipulated by a “political opponent” to make it seem as though Spinelli had used public funds to pay for a birthday cake.  

This is not the first time that the long-time mayor has been in front of the French courts. In 2017 and 2018, he was accused of “passive corruption” linked to the construction of the Tour Odéon, the vast 49-storey skyscraper that straddles the Principality of Monaco and Beausoleil. The case against Spinelli was eventually dismissed.  


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Photo source: Irina Muller, Unsplash