With this year’s National Day of Monaco falling on a sunny Sunday, the occasion drew huge crowds eager to catch a glimpse of the ruling Grimaldi family, and they were not disappointed. Monaco Life looks back on some of the key moments of the 2023 Fête Nationale.
^ Thousands of spectators assemble in the Place du Palais to witness the traditional military parade.
^ Forever a favourite moment of the day, Monaco’s Prince Albert II, Princess Charlene, Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella wave to the public from a balcony of the Palais Princier.
^ Conseil National President Brigitte Boccone-Pagès (fifth from left) is joined by other National Council members and their families in the Place du Palais.
^ The Grimaldi family is pictured alongside Principality officials and the Carabiniers du Prince within the confines of the Palace grounds.
^ In full military regalia, Prince Albert walks towards a proud Princess Charlene and their eight-year-old twins, Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella.
^ With his mother and sister in matching royal blue and scarlet red coats, young Hereditary Prince Jacques is dressed in formal military attire for the important occasion.
^ The traditional Te Deum mass is held at the Cathédrale Notre-Dame-Immaculée de Monaco following the public appearances at the Palace.
^ Prince Albert and Princess Charlene head down the steps of the cathedral arm-in-arm following the mass.
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Instead of meeting targets and cutting emissions, terrifying new record temperatures are being set and emissions are continuing to rise, says the United Nations’ latest Emissions Gap Report, which has forecast a dramatic global temperature rise of 2.9°C by the end of the century. (more…)
The European Commission’s Autumn 2023 economic forecast is predicting a continued decline in inflation and modest gains in growth, while the labour market is expected to remain stable into 2024.
It has been an unsettling year on the economic front for people in the European Union, with high inflation taking bigger and bigger chunks out of earnings and spending power, and high interest rates causing alarm in the real estate and other sectors.
But there could be reason for hope – in moderation – if the latest economic forecast from the European Commission (EC) is anything to go by.
According to the EC, a rebound in growth is anticipated in general, with gross domestic product (GDP) growth expected to improve by 1.3% in the EU and 1.2% in the euro zone.
Inflation dropped to its lowest in two years this past October, to 2.9%. Against its peak of 10.6% a year ago, this fall is significant and suggests that the prices of food, manufactured goods and services should not be increasing as drastically as seen in recent times.
Inflation is “set to continue this downward trend in 2024”, says the EC.
The labour market is looking good. Unemployment sits at a relatively stable 6% and is expected to remain at this level in 2024. Despite employment levels being strong, however, high interest rates have made borrowing unrealistic for many, thus slowing the housing market and the overall economy.
In France, the picture looks much like the global EU forecast. Inflation currently remains high, but is predicted to drop from 5.8% to 3% next year. Current financial conditions in France, as in the EU, are making growth sluggish.
In 2024, France’s GDP growth is anticipated to rise from 1% in 2023 to 1.2% in 2024.
Unemployment is expected to rise slightly from 7.2% to 7.4%, higher than the EU average, but still is an unalarming figure, especially considering employment hit record highs of 68.6% in the second quarter of 2023.
The public deficit, which is about 4.8% of GDP in 2023, is predicted to fall to 4.4% next year. This will be spurred on by the withdrawal of energy-related measures taken at the height of the energy crisis.
Public debt declined to 109.6% of GDP in 2023, and to is set to pick up again to 110% in 2025, with 2024 looking stable, also due to the still high primary deficit.
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Ever since she was a little girl, Charlotte Barbotin has been fascinated by gems and jewellery. It is a passion that led her to combine her eye for detail with her innate creativity, and ultimately establish her very own brand: Charlotte.B.
Originally from Bordeaux, 38-year-old Charlotte Barbotin moved to Monaco in 2013 with her husband, and it was here in the Principality that she would make another big transition.
Charlotte was working as a sales assistant manager at Prada when she plucked up the courage to embrace a passion she had held since childhood; she became a jeweller. Now her creations are sold at the Ferret store on 27 Avenue de la Costa, through her own website and also at the Hôtel de Paris, thanks to a collaboration with Ferret.
“I started with some small sapphires,” she tells Monaco Life. “I told my sister, I need to make a jewellery [piece] for you from these sapphires. It was the first design that I made.”
Even today, all of the Charlotte.B designs come from a personal place, each inspired by her friends, family and the world going on around her.
“First, design for yourself, then think about how you can improve the piece,” she says of her approach.
She also finds inspiration in simply observing, whether that be other women, architecture and or fashion.
“Watching women definitely is where I get my inspiration from, seeing the smallest details about them,” she reveals.
For Charlotte, it is about capturing the essence of a moment, its authenticity, and translating that into something real and tangible.
Her design style is fluid, adapting to her mood, whether seeking romance or a hint of allure. Notably, she emphasises simplicity in adornment, advising against over-layering and advocating for a single statement piece to maintain balance.
Gold is her material of choice. Valued for its versatility and ease of transformation, particularly in reworking vintage pieces, it also melds well with her philosophy of quality over mass production. Other signature elements and materials in her designs offer the same appeal, such as the seductive and distinctive red spinel.
Made in Monaco
Charlotte says the key to success in the famously luxurious Principality – as a business, as an entrepreneur and as a jeweller in competition with countless other high-end brands – is understanding Monaco’s unique culture while staying true to oneself.
“If you understand Monaco in the right way and you don’t forget who you are, you will be successful,” she says. “I put everything I had in me to set up everything as I had envisioned.”
Looking ahead, Charlotte anticipates further collaborations, including one with Ferret. She also plans on focusing on gaining recognition as a designer and gemmologist. Her approach is gradual, prioritising learning and client relationships over rapid expansion.
She is following a self-set mantra of artistic integrity and personal fulfilment, and Monaco makes perfect sense as the place to achieve those goals.
With a theme fit for a prince, Monaco’s much-loved Village de Noël will be returning to Port Hercule in just over two weeks’ time. Here are all the details on the 2023 Christmas Village.
This year’s Christmas Village is set to open on 7th December with a theme dedicated to Prince Albert II’s late father: Prince Rainier III.
For a full month, until 7th January 2024, the festive market and fairground will highlight the many interests and passions of the Prince, from the arts and the sea to animals and motor sports. By all accounts, this much-loved Christmastime attraction will be a blending of all things good and great about the Principality.
The entrances to the Village will feature grand arches reaching several metres high that will represent Prince Rainier’s life-long loves of sport, the circus and navigation, while inside the Village de Noël, animated scenes will be juxtaposed with archival images for a wonderful immersion into Monaco’s heritage.
There will be seven thrilling rides to choose from on the Quai Albert I, including the ferris wheel, the toboggan run and three new attractions: flying chairs, a children’s roller coaster and Santa’s sleigh ride.
Visitors will also find dozens of stands and stalls selling festive gifts and snacks that will be open from 11am every day.
A series of special events are on the schedule too, such as parades, live music concerts by night and theatrical shows. There will also be arts and crafts workshops for children aged five and up, where they can make garlands and hanging decorations, from 2pm to 6pm daily.
For a full list of the events planned as well as dates and times, click here.