Monaco takes 2nd place as Europe’s Best Destination 2024

Monaco’s legendary status as an exceptional destination continues with the Principality ranking as the second best place to travel in Europe in 2024, according to Best Destinations in Europe.

More than one million people from 172 countries voted for their  Best Destinations in Europe, an independent travel website that has been assessing travel trends since 2009.

According to the website, “Monaco makes any experience unique. So unique that no one can claim to have experienced it anywhere else. The Principality of Monaco is undoubtedly like nowhere else”, relaying the Monaco Tourism Board’s current catch-phrase.

Monaco lost out only to Marbella, Spain. In third place is Malta, followed by Geneva, Switzerland, and Batumi, Adjara Region, Georgia rounding out the top five.

Selected for their quality of life, sustainable development, year-round cultural offer, growth in popularity on social networks and their international recognition for campaigns like smart tourism and European Union Green Capital, the 20 most-popular sites will be promoted throughout the year and are authorised to display the coveted title of ‘European Best Destination 2024’.

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Monaco showcased in Times Square, New York, for ‘Like nowhere else’ campaign


Photo by Monaco Life

Property prices at record levels in almost all Monaco neighbourhoods

The average price per square metre in Monaco topped out at a massive €51,418 in 2023, equating to an almost 40% rise in a decade and setting new records in five of the Principality’s most unexpected neighbourhoods.  

The latest annual real estate report from IMSEE, Monaco’s official statistical agency, has just been released, bringing with it a fascinating spread of information on the health and wealth of the Principality’s property market. 

Record prices per square metre 

Among the revelations are the all-time highs recorded per square metre in five of the neighbourhoods in the Principality, a place that has long held the title as the most expensive country in the world for real estate. 

Fontvieille in the west, the Jardin d’Exotique, the Condamine, Les Moneghetti and La Rousse all generated record prices per square metre in 2023.  

The Condamine recorded the sharpest rise – a climb of 19.7% to reach €54,099 and clear the €50,000 mark for the first time in history – while property in Les Moneghetti on the northern border generated prices per square metre of €46,511, up 18.3%.  

The cheapest neighbourhood continues to be the Jardin d’Exotique area, but prices here still rose 10% in 2023 to demand more than €41,600 per square metre. The most expensive remains the sea-facing Larvotto quartier, which demanded a vast €65,857 for each square metre of property, although prices remained below the record €70,414 observed in 2017.  

Across the Principality, only the central Monte-Carlo district, which is home to the famous Carré d’Or of the Casino de Monte-Carlo, the Hôtel de Paris and the Café de Paris, noted a dip. Here, prices fell by 6.2% to €51,628 per square metre.  

The figures for Monaco-Ville, also known as The Rock and as being the location of the Prince’s Palace, are not made publicly available.  

Prices up almost 40% in a decade 

Back in 2014, the first year that IMSEE combined the numbers for new build properties and resales, the average price per square metre in Monaco sat at just over €37,000. This figure rose to its highest point in 2021, when prices came in at close to €52,000, but 2023 isn’t far behind. 

According to data compiled by IMSEE and the Department of Tax Services, the mean price per square metre in Monaco last year was €51,418, equating to a 38% rise in a decade. 


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Photo by Monaco Life

Football: Travel and ticket information ahead of Sunday’s Derby de la Côte d’Azur

Anytime that the Rouge et Blancs take on their Côte d’Azur rivals of OGC Nice, the Derby match always causes much excitement amongst local fans and commentators. 

The upcoming Ligue 1 fixture on Sunday 11st February in Nice’s home stadium is no exception, especially as both teams are close to the top of the league’s standings, with AS Monaco placed fifth behind the second-placed Aigles de Nice.  

Tickets for the match purchased via the AS Monaco office cost as little as €10 and can be bought online here. Once purchased, an e-ticket will be generated and this pass, as well as valid ID, is mandatory in order for fans to gain entry to the stadium. The box office will remain open until 10am on the morning of the fixture unless all tickets are sold out ahead of time.  


There is no designated visitors’ parking area at the stadium, but parking is plentiful in and around the site. AS Monaco is also encouraging use of the MuneGo carpooling service.  

Though the game doesn’t start until 8.45pm, the visitor section of the Allianz Riviera stadium will be open from 6.45pm to allow fans to get comfortable. 

In the interests of safety, the relevant authorities have requested that Monaco supporters should avoid the south side of the stadium. Requests of respect for the opposing team, their supporters, the stadium and the local neighbourhood have also been issued.  

Additionally, there is an active AS Monaco WhatsApp group that shares live and up-to-date information on all developments that might concern fans heading to the match. 


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A race through history: the conclusion of the 2024 Rallye Monte-Carlo Historique

The 2024 edition of the Rallye Monte-Carlo Historique has come to an end, with Michel Decremer and Jennifer Hugo clinching the victory in their Opel Ascona 400.

Ahead of the final stage, the famous Nuit de Turini on 6th February, Prince Albert II of Monaco made an appearance on the Quai Albert Ier to wave off the drivers as they prepared to head in the direction of Sospel.

Before the eclectic mix of vehicles left the Principality, however, Prince Albert took his turn behind the wheel of a Deutsch Bonnet Coach Frua, a replica of the very car that Prince Rainier III drove during the Tour de France Automobile in 1953, as he completed a lap of the iconic Monte-Carlo Grand Prix circuit. 

The final leg of the epic rally, which had begun in cities across Europe in late January, saw the fleet take on the Sospel-Col de Turini route. The next step should have been the La Cabanette-Col de Braus portion of racing, but adverse weather conditions forced its cancellation.  

Among the competitors was Daniel Elena, a celebrated Monegasque figure in rallying, who has achieved significant success, notably winning the Monte Carlo Rally seven times alongside Sébastien Loeb.  

Unfortunately for Elena, it wasn’t to be this time as the rally was ultimately won by Michel Decremer and Jennifer Hugo in their Opel Ascona 400. Their consistent performance throughout the stages earned them the top spot and they finished with 960 points to mark Decremer’s second win at the Rallye Monte-Carlo Historique.  

Close behind, the team of Schon and Giammarino in an Austin Mini Cooper S secured second place with 1030 points. The third position went to Aiolfi and Merenda in a Lancia Beta Coupe 1800, who finished with 1090 points. 

Click on the images below to see more from the Monaco-hosted section of the event: 



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Photo credits: Michael Alesi / Axel Bastello / Palais Princier de Monaco


New restaurant: Croquettes, vol-au-vents, French fries… get into the Belgian spirit at Smakelijk!

Belgium has come to Monaco with the opening of Smakelijk! – an authentic Belgian brasserie in the heart of Le Meridien Beach Plaza offering the best of this northern European cuisine.

From waffles to beer, fries to chocolate, Belgian food is some of the most mouth-watering in the world.

It is for this reason that General Manager Vincent Clinckemaillie and Culinary Director Chef Laurent Colin decided to transport Belgian cuisine 800 kilometres south to the Principality of Monaco, creating the first ever authentic Belgium brasserie at the Le Meridien Beach Plaza.

“The idea is to be very authentic and genuine,” Clinckemaillie told Monaco Life during a recent press lunch. “We have Belgian food, but we’ve also taken the Belgian hospitality. It’s all about friendship, authenticity, and simple but good food.”

Authentic Belgian cuisine in Monaco

Smakelijk, pronounced smaak-lek and meaning Bon Appétit in Flemish, aims to take guests on a culinary journey that is both familiar and exotic.

This journey should always begin with croquettes – a stand-out dish at Smakelijk that includes both grey shrimp and cheese croquettes. The tomatoes stuffed with shrimps and mayonnaise is another classic that you’ll find on any top-10 foodie list for Brussels. Grey shrimp are tiny yet flavourful, and hold a special place in the heart of Belgium’s seafood tradition.

The croquettes at Smaklejk are a signature dish of this chic new Belgium Brasserie. Photo by Monaco Life

Another menu highlight is the Liège meatballs, hailing from the south of Brussels, which are surprisingly sweet, sour and light; while the mussels in garlic and parsley sauce is always a crowd pleaser.

Chef Laurent Colin and his team have taken the best of Belgian cuisine and added a slight Mediterranean touch. For example, the humble ‘Eel in the Green’ dish is recreated here using cod fish, served on top of a vibrant, herby green sauce that is finished with vegetables.

Every good restaurant needs a signature dish, and both Vincent Clinckemaillie and Chef Colin agree that that it is the vol-au-vent – a famous, deliciously flaky pastry filled with chicken, cream sauce and mushrooms, and theatrically finished table-side with a burst of creamy sabayon. There are three variations here – the classic, a vegetarian option, and a gastronomic version featuring confit duck and pan-fried foie gras because this is, after all, Monaco.

Served alongside most dishes are fries – Belgium’s national pride – which are lovingly recreated according to tradition. Freshly-cut potatoes are cooked twice, firstly blanched to cook the inside, then deep fried in beef fat to cook the outside. The result is perfectly crispy, flavourful fries that are served with an array of sauces, like garlicky aioli and spicy samurai, promising a flavour-bomb with each dip.

The desserts at Smakelijk are equally decadent and comforting: the Brussels waffle served with chocolate and whipped cream; crème brûlée with vanilla from Madagascar; Callebaut hot chocolate soufflé; and speculoos cheesecake are among the proud ambassadors that can be enjoyed at any time of the day.

Getting the tick of approval

The Belgians are among the top five most prominent nationalities in Monaco, so there’s a certain amount of pressure on Vincent Clinckemaillie – who is not from Belgium – to get this right.

So, about a month before opening, and leaving nothing to chance, the general manager of just over a year took his team on a journey of discovery to Brussels.

“We visited the Grand-Place, we had a guide explain to us the whole story of how Belgium was built and the origins of the gastronomy; we tasted real croquettes and vol-au-vents in the city, and we had dinner with the ‘King of French Fries’ – the biggest seller in Brussels – who gave us some advice,” says Clinckemaillie.

“And I can say that we are not far off the best that we tasted in Brussels,” adds Chef Colin confidently.

The real test will come on 8th February, when Monaco’s Belgian community come together for a private gathering at Smakelijk.

“We really want to have the blessing of the Belgian community,” says Clinckemaillie.

Art nouveau style brasserie

Like the menu that is steeped in tradition, the brasserie itself has been inspired by yesteryear, but enhanced with a nouveau twist. Adjamé design studio has put together a décor that is full of character: a harmonious mix and match between kitsch and contemporary with leather booths, vibrant colours, striped prints and second-hand service consoles enhancing the vibe of this new gourmet adventure.

A taste of discovery with every sipserie

The epicurean exploration of Belgium continues with a curated selection of Belgian beers with infinite nuances of flavour: bitter, floral, citrus, spicy, herbal, fruity…

Head sommelier Jonathan Durante has also created an exclusive list of wines with a Brussels accent. Wine lovers are encouraged to discover new vintages and crus from the Gudule Winery, which produces only 100% organic wines.

It tastes good

Smakelijk is a wonderful celebration of Belgian gastronomy, of cheeky indulgences and the joys that only fries cooked in beef fat can bring. The motto: “ça goûte bien” (it tastes good) is all that matters here, and for a place like Monaco, there is welcome comfort in that philosophy.

Smakelijk offers continuous service from 12pm to 11pm. Starters are priced from €14, mains from €22 and desserts from €14. A special lunch menu includes starter, main, water and coffee for €26.

See more in our Instagram reel below…


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Main photo: Culinary Director Chef Laurent Colin (left) and Le Meridien Beach Plaza General Manager Vincent Clinckemaillie 



Basketball: AS Monaco overpower closest Betclic Elite rivals LDLC ASVEL

In a clash that pitted the two frontrunners of France’s Betclic Elite basketball league against each other, AS Monaco came out on top with a convincing 89-71 victory over Lyon’s LDLC ASVEL. The result solidifies the Roca Team’s status at the top and extends their unbeaten run at home to 11 games. 

On Tuesday 6th February, AS Monaco showcased why they are the team to beat in the Betclic Elite by delivering a strong performance against Lyon-Villeurbanne (LDLC ASVEL) that concluded 89-71. 

Going into the game, AS Monaco had been just two points ahead of their closest rivals in the domestic league after a recent setback over the weekend that saw the Rouges et Blancs lose out to Bourg-en-Bresse. 

See more: Sports round-up: Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella watch on as Roca Team seal EuroLeague victory 

Starting evenly with a first-quarter tie at 21, AS Monaco seized control after halftime through aggressive tactics and strategic play. Mike James stood out, contributing 17 points, four rebounds and five assists to once again affirm his key role in Monaco’s offense. 

Élie Okobo also shined for Monaco, with a solid 14 points, three rebounds and an evaluation of 18 to his name. The positive result was further enhanced by Matthew Strazel and Alpha Diallo, who contributed 11 and 10 points respectively. 

Post-match, Coach Saša Obradović remarked on AS Monaco’s performance: “We lacked energy in the first half, we were soft in attack. In the second half, we made the effort and that allowed us to make a difference.”  

This victory marks Monaco’s eighth win in eight encounters against LDLC ASVEL. 

While the attention of both teams will now be on the EuroLeague, with 18th-placed LDLC ASVEL heading to Spain to face Baskonia on Thursday 8th February and fifth-placed AS Monaco set to visit Bologna on Friday 9th February, the two teams will meet again in less than a week for the Round of 16 in the French Cup. 

The game will take place in the Salle Gaston Médecin on Tuesday 13th February at 8pm. Click here for tickets.


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Photo credit: AS Monaco Basket, Facebook