Festival des Etoilés closes with spectacular gala in presence of Prince Albert and Princess Charlene

Festival des Etoilés

Prince Albert and Princess Charlene were not the only stars to shine on Saturday night, as Monaco’s celebrated Michelin starred chefs came together for the Festival des Etoilés Gala in the stunning Salle Empire of the Hôtel de Paris.

The annual journey into the twinkling galaxy of the Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer (SBM) came to an end on Saturday 11th November, as Michelin starred Chefs Dominique Lory, Marcel Ravin, Yannick Alléno and Alain Ducasse and their teams came together for the grand finale of the third edition of the Festival des Etoilés.

It was a proud moment for Stéphane Valeri, who opened the gala for the first time as head of Monte-Carlo SBM.

“Firstly, thank you to our starred chefs, the daily artisans of the magic of Monaco,” he began. “I thank them all and their brigades in the kitchen. We cannot forget our talented sommeliers for having worked in unison for many months to make this festival a success.”

The chefs on ‘stage’ for the Festival des Etoilés gala, with live music above and an adoring crowd watching on. Photo by Monaco Life

It is perhaps the most luxurious food festival in the world, organised by one of the most starred resorts on the planet. From 29th September to 3rd November, SBM’s Michelin starred chefs were able to invite some of Europe’s most talented chefs to their kitchens for a series of ‘Four Hands’ dinners that uniquely paired the culinary greats.

If that wasn’t enough, the Festival des Etoilés Gala brought together SBM’s starred chefs for a final celebration of Monaco’s unique gastronomic standing. The emblematic Salle Empire of the Hôtel de Paris was their stage as the chefs performed some of their greatest hits, supported by Monaco’s top sommliers and an army of white-gloved servers.

See also: Festival des Etoilés Monte-Carlo celebrates Dominique Lory and Jason Atherton

Among the crowd of privileged guests were Prince Albert and his wife Princess Charlene, and their nephew Louis Ducruet and his wife Marie.

Michelin starred Chef Dominique Lory, of Le Grill, served up his signature dish of langoustine, gamberoni and red mullet delivered on a delicate bouillabaisse jelly. It came with a crisp 2021 Les Romains of the Domaine Vacheron Sancerre.

Multi-starred Chef Yannick Alléno takes the stage for his course of turbot with bone marrow. Photo by Monaco Life

Next, Yannick Alléno, creator of the Michelin starred Pavyllon Monte-Carlo, presented his turbot fillet with bone marrow and ‘garlic toast’, accompanied by a Côte Catalanes ‘la D18’, Domaine Pithon 2020, which brought a touch of “wildness and harmony to the dish”, as per the wish of Chef Alléno.

“Why this dish? Because I like to follow the seasons,” said the multi-Michelin starred chef. “I like to follow the mood of my contemporaries. As we enter this colder period, we need a warmer and more nourishing cuisine. I think the turbot, married with the bone marrow, fits that brief spectacularly.”

See also: Festival des Etoilés lures 3-starred Sven Wassmer to Yannick Alléno’s kitchen

As live music resonated from above the stage, the journey continued with Marcel Ravin, of the two-starred Blue Bay, and his Caribbean-influenced smoked black Piedmont chicken with textures of vegetable ravioli, sweet potato sabayon and sweet and sour sugar cane vinegar sauce. It was finished with a 2017 Gevrey-Chambertin Vieilles Givens, Domaine Sérafin.

“The dish is, of course, in keeping with the narrative we tell through our cooking: local produce, the environment in which we live, and the harvests from our kitchen gardens,” said the chef, as videos of him cooking were projected on the large screens. “Our cuisine is sustainable, seasonal, creative, daring and well-travelled.”

The spectacular Salle Empire of the Hôtel de Paris was the setting for the third edition of the festival gala. Photo by Monaco Life

The dessert was another celebration of the seasons, this time orchestrated by the famous Alain Ducasse and Sandro Micheli, the head pastry chef of his flagship three Michelin starred Le Louis XV – Alain Ducasse: confit butternut pumpkin with anise and praline, alongside fromage blanc mousse and yuzu granita. A perfectly paired 2018 Coteaux du Layon Rochefort – Château Pierre-Brise drew the curtain on what was another spectacular gastronomic showing by the culinary artists of Monte-Carlo SBM.

“As promised at the start of the evening, every flavour, every smile, every moment shared this evening has helped weave incredible memories into the gastronomic history of our resort,” Stephane Valéri closed the evening by saying. “And it is all thanks to these men and women behind the scenes that we have been able to celebrate the culinary arts under the canopy of the resort’s seven Michelin stars.”


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Main photo credit: Eric Mathon, Prince’s Palace


Taxe d’habitation due date for second home owners fast approaching

taxe d'habitation

The taxe d’habitation may have been abolished for primary residences earlier this year, but it is still applicable to those who own second homes, and the due date for payment is just around the corner.   

By the end of this month, all owners of second homes should have received a notice regarding the due date for payment of their taxe d’habitation, or housing tax, which has been set for 15th December.  

The tax was historically imposed on all owners and tenants, but was changed as of 2023 and now only applies to those with multiple residences.  

It is collected “for the benefit of local authorities” and the amount required varies from one municipality to another, as well as for different types of furnished premises and outbuildings. A finished or converted garage, for example, would be eligible to taxation.  

It must be paid by the owner or usufructuary, which should be understood as a person who benefits from a right which allows them to use a property and to receive rental income from it.  

Additionally, even if the proprietor lives in the second home year-round, the tax must be paid if it is a second home.  

For more information, click here.


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Photo source: Satvik, Unsplash  

One Planet – Polar Summit sounds alarm for world’s poles and glaciers

Local voices from Monaco and the French Riviera joined countless others from the realms of science and government at the One Planet – Polar Summit held last week in Paris. Here’s what they had to say about the future of the world’s polar regions and why fast action at the poles is needed now.  

The terrifying rate of ice melt in the polar regions, which could have dire consequences for billions if left unchecked, was the focus of the One Planet – Polar Summit hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron between 8th and 10th November as part of the recent Paris Peace Forum.  

It united hundreds of scientists, world leaders, government representatives and NGOs, including Monaco’s Government Advisor-Minister of External Relations and Cooperation, Isabelle Berro-Amadeï, and longtime Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi, who both made speeches during the event. 


Berro-Amadeï gave an impassioned speech detailing the historical scientific interest held by the Princes of Monaco throughout the centuries, particularly underlining current sovereign Prince Albert II’s effects to increase environmental protections and of his “attachment to the polar regions”.   

She also spoke about the various initiatives and projects carried out in the Principality by the Prince Albert II Foundation, the Oceanographic Institute-Albert I Foundation and the Scientific Centre of Monaco. 

Meanwhile, Estrosi was present as part of the Ocean Rise & Resilience Coalition, and he led a discourse on rising sea levels and the subsequent adaptations of coastal cities and coastal regions.  


During the summit, President Macron announced that France would be pledging €1 billion to polar research between now and 2030. 

“We are not talking about a threat for tomorrow, but one that is already present and accelerating,” he said. “We are talking about a transformation of the cryosphere (the Earth’s ice) that already threatens millions and will threaten billions of the planet’s inhabitants with multiple direct and indirect consequences.” 

The speed and scale of ice melts and permafrost thaws were key themes covered at the event, as explained by World Meteorological Organisation Secretary-General Professor Petteri Taalas. 

“One of the most visible impacts of climate change is seen in the cryosphere, with the acceleration of melting of glaciers and sea ice,” he said. “Unfortunately, the high concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere means that melting of glaciers and sea level rise is expected to continue for the coming millennia.” 

Though solutions at the One Planet – Polar Summit were not aplenty, many hopes are resting on outcomes at COP28, which will take place between 30th November and 12th December at the Expo City in Dubai.  

“We human beings do have the ability to act in equitable ways to make a difference and avoid the worst impacts of climate change,” said Jim Skea, Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. “Now we must find ways to implement changes before our time runs out.” 

For further information on the summit, its mission and its outcomes, click here.


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Photo source: Alexander Hafemann, Unsplash

Old or unwanted eyeglasses can be dropped off at new Fontvieille recycling scheme

European Week for Waste Reduction is fast approaching, but Monaco has started its efforts early with a new scheme that offers old or unwanted glasses – corrective or for sun protection – a second life. Here are all the details.  

From 13th to 26th November, shoppers and passersby at the Fontvieille shopping centre will be able to drop off eyeglasses of all kinds at four designated collection bins.

There is one for far-sighted or presbyopic spectacles, called presbyte in French, another for short-sighted or myopie glasses, one for glasses worn by people with astigmatism, and a final box for coloured specs and sunglasses with or without a prescription. If you aren’t sure which box to use, deposit glasses in the yellow box, says a spokesperson for the Direction de l’Environnement, which is managing the drive. 

At the end of the scheme, the Direction de l’Environnement will collect up all the donations and sort them for recycling, if broken beyond repair, or reuse, and hand functional glasses to the Semeurs d’Espoir association, which will distribute them among those in need for a new pair of specs.  

According to the Direction de l’Environnement, some 100 million pairs of perfectly good glasses are needlessly sitting around in drawers and in cabinets when they could be used by the 500 million people who need a new set.

The recycling boxes can be found at the entrance to the Galerie Commerciale de Fontvieille.  


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Photo source: Direction de l’Environnement 

25 years of Les Enfants de Frankie celebrated with grand ‘Extravaganza’ gala

The opulent Salle Garnier was abuzz with excitement last Friday night as the Les Enfants de Frankie community of supporters and benefactors came together to celebrate the 25 years of this admirable Monegasque association.

In honour of the major landmark achieved by Les Enfants de Frankie and its founder, Francien Giraudi, a grandiose circus-themed gala was held in the esteemed presence of Prince Albert II of Monaco on Friday 10th November.

It was not just a celebration, but a symphony of culture, charity and extravagant entertainment that enchanted guests, who turned out in their droves to laud the work of the association over the last two and a half decades.

Celebrating a legacy

As the evening began, a sense of excitement filled the air, paving the way for an unforgettable night. The initial focus was not on the lively Beatles-themed auction nor the dazzling Extravaganza circus show that were to follow, but on a touching moment of reflection.  

Francien, the revered president and founder of Les Enfants de Frankie, who has been at the helm since 1997, graced the stage to share her profound journey with the audience. Her speech struck a chord with everyone present, highlighting the profound impact and milestones Les Enfants de Frankie has met and made over the years. 

See more: Les Enfants de Frankie celebrates 25 years of hopes and dreams

Speaking of the many sick children her association has helped, Francien said, “I’m here to alleviate their suffering, to help make their dreams come true. It’s about giving them moments of joy and happiness, something positive to hold onto.” 

After the heartfelt speech, the atmosphere heightened as Prince Albert II took the stage, where he eloquently paid homage to Francien’s unwavering dedication and the significant accomplishments of Les Enfants de Frankie.  

“I am deeply moved and honoured that Les Enfants de Frankie has made Monaco its home, transforming the lives of countless children,” declared the Prince.  

Prince Albert on stage with Francien Giraudi. Photo by Monaco Life

Rare treasures and a circus show

Then came the much-awaited auction, led by the charismatic Alexandre Jaffray. Bidders actively competed for rare and treasured items, with a live recording experience at Abbey Road Studio fetching an impressive €30,000. The allure of the auction was further enhanced by exclusive Beatles memorabilia, including signed photographs of Ringo Starr, limited edition John Lennon prints and original vinyl LPs of iconic albums like Abbey Road and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. 

L-R: Alexandre Jaffray, Francien Giraudi and Frankie the clown. Photo by Monaco Life

Following the spirited auction, guests shifted their attention to the Extravaganza circus show; a breathtaking fusion of artistry and athleticism.  

Aerial acrobats soared through the air with grace and precision, while Argentine bolas dancers spun their instruments in a hypnotic dance. The acts were a blend of circus performers, multidisciplinary dancers and artists from around the globe who each brought their unique flair to the stage.  

The involvement of renowned groups such as the Princess Grace Dance Academy, The Studio of Monaco, The Little Singers of Monaco, Stella Almondo and the Rosella Hightower National Superior Dance Pole added layers of local prestige and talent to the already stellar line-up. 

A soirée of splendor 

Following the mesmerising performances, the evening transitioned to a cocktail reception at the Atrium, where, in a display of impressive creativity, champagne was served in a unique fashion: elegantly dressed ladies in ball gowns positioned themselves in the crowd, offering glasses of champagne directly from their gowns. 

A select group of VIP guests later had the distinct honour of joining Prince Albert for an exclusive private dinner in the Salon Rose of the Casino de Monte-Carlo.  

As the night ended, it was evident that this gala was more than just a celebration; it was a testament to the power philanthropy and community. Guests left with not just memories of a spectacular evening, but also with a renewed spirit of generosity and hope. 

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Photos by Monaco Life

Monaco to hold a series of events spotlighting violence against women and support for victims

Ahead of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women later this month, Monaco’s townhall is organising a series of events and conferences that seek to raise public awareness and help victims access the best support available.  

In 2022, Monaco’s Department of Social Action and Assistance and the Association for Assistance to Victims of Criminal Offenses recorded 33 violent incidents against women. On a global scale, the World Health Organisation puts that figure at a shocking 736 million cases.  

The actual number, however, is unknown as many women don’t report the violence they have suffered, whether it be a one-off attack or a prolonged episode of abuse over weeks, months or even years. 

Since 2008, International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, a United Nations-led campaign, has called for activism at all levels, and encourages nations around the world to bring the issue to the forefront of public life.  

A key message of the campaign is that abuse can appear in many forms, from the physical to the psychological, and manifests itself in many ways, for example as domestic violence, rape, cyber-stalking, trafficking, forced child marriage and genital mutilation.  


Though the actual day is 25th November, the Mairie de Monaco has organised a series of events over the coming weeks that will bring this dark topic into the light.  

On 13th November at 6.30pm, the Médiathèque de Monaco will host an evening of “exchange and information” that mirrors the HELP exhibit at the AIAP art space by artist Christain Bonavia. Representatives from organisations and associations who work with victims will be present to impart important information and offer assistance to victims, whether current or past.  

The Condamine Market will be the site of the next round of events on 22nd and 23rd November, where the Committee for the Promotion and Protection of Women’s Rights will be on the scene to raise awareness on various subjects linked to women’s rights and plights. The events will run from 9am to 1pm. 

Finally, on 23rd November at 6.30pm, the Committee for the Promotion and Protection of Women’s Rights will present a manga on the theme of digital violence at the Médiathèque de Monaco. The animation was created in collaboration with Cédric Biscay, the founder of Shibuya Productions, who produces the popular Blitz series.   

All these actions will be held with the support of the Conseil Communal, who are invested in stopping violence in the Principality and beyond.

Click here for more information. 


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Photo source: Melissa Askew, Unsplash