Preparations begin for Fête National 2023

Teams from the Mairie are hard at working putting up hundreds of flags and banners for National Day 2023.

Installation of the important decorations by Municipal Technical Services began on 31st October, with the Mairie keen to ensure that the Monegasque colours extend to all districts of the Principality again this year.

Flags and banners in Monaco’s red and white colours are appearing throughout the Principality ahead of the big day on 19th November.

The flags this year have a special feature, the Centenary of Prince Rainier III motif.

Two teams from the Municipal Technical Services will work day and night to install around 650 banners, 500 flags and 90 pavilions across the city.

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Photo source: Mairie de Monaco

Food and Wine: Festival des Etoiles lures 3-starred Sven Wassmer to Yannick Alléno’s kitchen

The stars were shining bright on Friday night as the young and brilliantly talented Chef Sven Wassmer transported his culinary skills, honed at his restaurant Memories in the Swiss Alps, to the Pavyllon Monte-Carlo, a restaurant by Yannick Alléno at the Hermitage Hotel.

It was a spectacular pairing and one of the highlights of this year’s Festival des Etoiles: Swiss Chef Sven Wassmer showcasing why he was the youngest chef in the world to win three Michelin stars, alongside another one of the world’s youngest chefs to have earned the coveted ranking.

“Yannick Alléno is a legend,” Chef Wassmer told Monaco Life on Friday night. “He wrote to me and asked if I wanted to cook with him, and for me it was an instant ‘yes’, of course I want to share a stove with this legend.”

For the multi-Michelin starred Chef Yannick Alléno, who counts among his accolades three stars at the Pavillon Ledoyen in Paris, this was an opportunity to see in action one of the brightest talents of today.

“I follow him, because I like to know what the new generation of chefs are doing. And I invited him because he is the youngest chef to have three stars,” Alléno told Monaco Life.

Monaco Life’s Editor in Chief Cassandra Tanti interviewing Pavyllon Monte-Carlo’s Yannick Alléno, and Memories’ Sven Wassmer.

Together, the masters and their teams delivered a one-of-a-kind nine course extravaganza with wine pairings, manoeuvring the open kitchen of the Pavyllon Monte-Carlo like an army of white-hatted dancers.

It was another feather in the cap of the Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer, who’s unique “Four hands” dinners sees the pairing of signature dishes by some of Europe’s culinary masters with those of Monaco’s renowned starred chefs, in a testament to the resort’s commitment to perfecting “The Great Art of Living”.

Left: Sven Wassmer’s Sorell sorbet. Right: Pastry Head Chef Maxime Vaslin (right) at the dessert station. Photos by Monaco Life

A night inspired by nature and the classics

Chef Wassmer describes his food as “stripped back and minimalist”. By using locally sourced produce, often foraged from the forests and mountains, together with the finest international ingredients, the 36-year-old chef aims to evoke childhood memories of discovery, the great outdoors and the sense of wonder. It is also designed to make new connections and create new memories. “The result,” he says, “is a treasure trove of happy moments, savoured in one evening and etched in the memory forever.”

That was certainly the case on Friday night, as Chef Yannick Alléno and Chef Sven Wassmer conceived a menu that took guests from the familiar comforts of the Mediterranean to the vibrant and earthly flavours of the Swiss Alps.

Sven Wassmer’s Memories restaurant in the Swiss Alps has garnered him three Michelin stars. Photo by Monaco Life

Among the highlights were Alléno’s deliciously sweet gambero tartare from Genoa encased in velvety layers of avocado, and agnolotti del pin with sage and lashings of white alba truffle, interchanged with Chef Wassmer’s remarkably light omble chevalier (arctic char) with a forest fir cream, the classically Swiss and perfectly executed pasta dish of knöpfli – again finished with lashings of luxurious white alba truffle, and melt-in-your-mouth tender strips of beef with a meaty jus.

Wassmer finished his culinary journey through the Alpine forest with a wood sorrel sorbet and candied umbrella pine, before Alléno served up his famously beautiful plombiére de poire.

Left: Sven Wassmer’s artic char with fir cream. Right: Chefs in the open kitchen of the Pavyllon Monte-Carlo. Photos by Monaco Life

“We are the same, Yannick and I”

Incredible wine pairings perfected an evening that celebrated the brilliance of two chefs who are daring enough to combine traditional techniques with innovative methods that truly expose the flavour of their precious ingredients.

“I am classically trained in French cuisine, and his (Alléno’s) idea of ‘Extraction’ sauces, going back deep into the classics but in a new way, is how I think and feel too,” said Chef Wassmer. “I combine classic cooking with a very modern alpine perspective, with our heritage that we have in Switzerland, and I think this produces a unique cuisine that brings an amazing concentration of flavour on the plate. We are the same Yannick and I. Less is more.”

Left: Yannick’s Alléno’s gamberoni tartare with avocado. Pavyllon’s head chef Guillaume Bellayer. Photos by Monaco Life

A winning formula by SBM

Beyond the magnificence on the plates, the success in these Festival des Etoiles evenings is the access they afford to the chefs themselves; the way they playfully share stories and secrets to an adoring crowd; the opportunity to truly see these masters in action.

It is a food festival that can be found nowhere else in the world, and it is reserved for a privileged clientele in Monaco who truly appreciate the uniqueness of the pairings.

The Festival des Etoiles concludes in exemplary style on Saturday 11th November with a grand gala that brings together Monaco’s participating starred chefs: Alain Ducasse, in collaboration with Emmanuel Pilon, Marcel Ravin, Dominique Lory and Yannick Alléno. They will cook in front of guests at the emblematic Salle Empire at the Hôtel de Paris. Each chef will once again present their signature dishes, sending guests on a culinary journey through the star-studded Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer galaxy.

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Photos by Monaco Life.

EC President announces increased humanitarian aid for Gaza, backs Ukraine’s entry into the EU

In a speech to a mass gathering of European Union Ambassadors, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has made an appeal for the bloc to be “more engaged” in global affairs, citing the need for more civilian aid in Gaza and supporting Ukrainian entry into the EU.  

During her speech at the annual EU Ambassadors meeting in Brussels on 6th November, EC President Ursula von der Leyen called for the bloc to face current affairs head on, touching on three main areas: China, the Middle East and the Ukraine. 


“The people of Ukraine are longing to join the European Union,” she said. “They believe in Europe. They trust Europe more than ever before. This is certainly because an entire continent – the European Union – has mobilised in support of Ukraine.”

Von der Leyen revealed a plan to soon hold a ‘Ukraine Peace Summit’ with the aim of finding solutions that could end the conflict with Russia, as well as enact long-term security in the Ukraine via military and technological support, and to achieve EU membership for Ukraine.  


Standing in solidarity with Israel, the EC President called for the immediate release of the hostages being held by the terrorist group of Hamas, whom she described as “pure evil”.

Her harsh words against them did not extend to the Palestinian people, however, and she decried their plight and the mounting deaths of civilians in Gaza. 

“Supporting Israel is essential,” she said. “Aiding civilians in Gaza is essential, too. The humanitarian situation is dire. The death toll and the suffering of Palestinian civilians is tragic. And as policymakers, we face a dreadful dilemma. Israel has the right to defend itself while Hamas bunkers, hides fighters and stores weapons below refugee camps and civilian infrastructure… It is also essential that [Israel] strives to avoid civilian casualties, and to be as targeted as possible.” 

To these ends, she announced that humanitarian aid to Gaza will be increased by €25 million to ensure urgently needed food and medical supplies reach those trapped in Gaza. This boost takes the total financial aid package for Gaza since this latest conflict began to €100 million. 


China was also covered in her speech, with von der Leyen saying that the EU will continue to work with Chinese officials and the government via “functioning channels of communication and high-level diplomacy” in order to “get China right”.  

“Our rivalry can be constructive, not hostile”, President von der Leyen said, adding that China also needed to respect the global rules-based system. “There is room to define together common rules and solutions to challenges we all share.” 

President von der Leyen’s full speech can be read here


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Photo credit: European Commission, Facebook

Postponed: UK Ambassador coming to Monaco for ‘meet and greet’ ahead of MEB London trade mission

Ahead of an important trade mission to London next year, the Monaco Economic Board has arranged a special ‘meet and greet’ session with Dame Menna Rawlings, the UK Ambassador to France and Monaco, this coming Thursday*.  

*Article updated on 8th November: The MEB announced on 8th November that the event had been postponed due to a “last-minute issue”. According to a spokesperson for the MEB, “A new date will be communicated in due course.”

The Monaco Economic Board (MEB) is extending an invitation to a unique ‘meet and greet’ with UK Ambassador to France and Monaco Dame Menna Rawlings to those living and working in the Principality who are interested in learning more about the British economy, particularly its diverse service sector.  

The core objective of the gathering is to delve into the vast economic landscape of the United Kingdom, and although it is being marketed as two-hour ‘meet and greet’, the occasion has the real potential to open doors to new opportunities for Monegasque businesses and employees.  

Dame Menna Rawlings is a key figure in British diplomacy and has served as Ambassador to France and Monaco since 2021, having previously held the position of British High Commissioner to Australia and senior roles within the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.  

She will be accompanied at the MEB event by a representative from the UK’s Department of Business and Trade, who will be on hand to answer questions from those present and offer an insight into the practical aspects of doing business with the UK. 

Trade mission scheduled for 2024 

Three years after leading the European Union, the UK is continuing on a complex post-Brexit journey where international collaboration remains high on the agenda. The MEB is hoping to capitalise on possible future partnerships with UK businesses with a trade mission to London that is scheduled for the first half of 2024.  

This upcoming meeting in Monaco is thus a strategic move on the part of the MEB to pinpoint the exact aspirations and goals of member companies aiming to participate in the trade mission.  

The ‘meet and greet’ session will be taking place from 5.30pm to 7.30pm at the Novotel Monte-Carlo on Thursday 9th November. For further information and to register your interest in attending, please contact at 



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Photo source: David Vincent, Unsplash

Pianist Anastasia Voltchok to perform at ‘Les Musicales de Menton’

As part of the ‘D’un Festival à l’Autre, Les Musicales de Menton’ series, Saint John’s Anglican Church will welcome the enchanting and internationally acclaimed pianist Anastasia Voltchok on 17th November. Here are all the details.

Anastasia Voltchok’s virtuosity is no secret to the world of classical music. With a repertoire that traverses the timeless compositions of Mozart, Schumann and Chopin, whatever the theatre and whatever the city, Voltchok transports her audience to a place of melodic wonder.  

Soon it will be the turn of the Anglican Church in Menton, with its serene ambience and acoustic excellence, to host this sonorous experience.  

From 6.30pm on Friday 17th November, Voltchok will be performing a concert set to match the beauty of the church’s architecture. Later, guests will have the opportunity to enjoy refreshments in the library and even meet the artist herself.  

Ticket prices for this evening are €20 per person, but there is a student-friendly rate available at €10, making it accessible to all who wish to immerse themselves in this musical delight. Click here for more information. 

A neo-gothic marvel in historic Menton 

Built in 1867, Saint John’s Anglican Church is a neo-Gothic gem that reflects the British overseas community’s historical presence in the area. It was one of three churches constructed in response to the growing British trend in Menton during the 19th century.  

This architectural masterpiece, completed in 1868, sadly lost its slender bell tower in the 1887 earthquake and it was never reconstructed. The church has, however, recently undergone extensive renovations, with the apse adorned in pre Raphaelite-style marble and Italian mosaics.  

It remains an enduring testament to Menton’s rich history and architectural heritage, and is well-worth a visit if you are in the area.  


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Main photo source: Jordan Whitfield, Unsplash


Real Estate: The desire for luxury Alpine living shows no sign of abating

The mountains continue to call to wealthy prospective buyers. According to the latest Ski Property Report from Knight Frank, demand for luxury Alpine homes is now far outstripping supply and prices are rising fast in every major resort in the Alps.  

The pandemic years were a boon for the Swiss and French Alps, where properties in all price ranges were snapped up by people looking to escape city living and find a place to unwind surrounded by nature.  

That “appetite for mountain living” is still abounding, says Kate Everett-Allen, Head of Global Research at Knight Frank, but competition at the upper end of the market is getting tough. 

Demand is now far higher than supply. Compared to pre-pandemic levels, the number of homes reaching the market has fallen by well over 50% in the popular French resorts of Chamonix, Courchevel and Vald d’Isère, and it is a similar story everywhere.

“Owners of higher value homes are reluctant to surrender their Alpine home given the limited alternatives and, for many, the lifestyle benefits of their mountain abode have never been more apparent,” reads the report.  

The top end of the market 

The cost-of-living crisis is having little effect on those looking for a mountain property in a prime location, and higher mortgage costs appear to only be impacting the lower price brackets, according to research conducted by Knight Frank and Macrobond. 

The price of a luxury ski chalet increased by 4.4% on average in the 12 months to June 2023. Prices in Swiss resorts increased more than in France – up an astounding 15.8% in Klosters-Serneus and 12.6% in Davos, for example – but hikes are to be noted all-round.

Prices rose by 15.8% in a year in the Swiss resort of Klosters-Serneus, pictured. Photo credit: Simon Mumenthaler, Unsplash

The price per square metre in the most expensive resort to feature in the report, Gstaad, is now €41,300 compared to €39,300 last year. In the most expensive French resort, Courchevel 1850, the price per square metre has reached €30,500.  

Read related: SBM marks new era in business, officially purchases luxury ‘Palace des Neiges’ in Courchevel

Even the more secluded resorts – those furthest away from airports and metropolitan centres – are seeing interest grow and grow. Distance is clearly becoming less of an issue, with nearly seven in 10 respondents to the Knight Frank Sentiment Survey saying they would be “willing to travel between 1.5 and three hours from the airport to the resort”, up from 31% in 2022. 

Why buy? 

More than half of prospective buyers say they want a mix of holiday home and rental investment, with just under 40% saying they would keep a place exclusively for personal use.  

The pull of winter sports is still the biggest draw, with 52% saying skiing conditions and facilities motivate a purchase, while a further 37% simply want a “base from which to enjoy the mountains”. 10% of those surveyed say they would invest in a mountain home as a place “for family and friends to congregate”.  

Skiing remains the top reason for buying a winter home amongst the most wealthy buyers. Photo credit: Piotyr Figlarz, Unsplash

Where’s hot? 

According to Knight Frank’s Roddy Aris, who represents the French Alps, Chamonix and Megève are likely to outperform in the coming year. 

“These mid-altitude resorts set the benchmark for year-round appeal and have the added benefit of being within 75 minutes of Geneva Airport. Val d’Isère’s recent strong performance is set to continue due to its excellent snow record, tight pool of properties and strong public and private investment.” 

Over the border in Switzerland, resorts with “genuine year-round village life” are most likely to do well out of the continuing trend for an Alpine retreat.  

“Resorts such as Crans-Montana, Verbier, St. Moritz and Villars-sur-Ollon, which all boast strong resident numbers, will fare better than those that quieten down out of season,” says Alex Koch de Gooreynd, a partner at Knight Frank. “I envisage we will see continued strong demand for primary residences in the French-speaking resorts. In Graubünden, home to St. Moritz, Davos and Klosters, demand will be stronger for second homes. Investment in infrastructure has become a priority, from improved accessibility and local amenities to international schooling.” 

Check back in the coming weeks for Monaco Life’s review of the impact the ‘work from home’ phenomenon has had on the Alps, and why there are two clear trends emerging in the luxury Alpine property sector: the hardcore ski set and the buyer who “came for the winter and stayed for the summer”.  


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Main photo credit: Tim Arnold, Unsplash