Record road deaths force Monaco Police to get tough on drink driving, but how?

Despite 57,000 vehicle stops and hundreds of apprehensions for public drunkenness, Monaco’s police force was unable to prevent the deaths of six people caused by drink driving in the Principality last year. Now, the force is seeking tougher powers and launching new strategies to tackle this endemic issue.  

2023 may well go down in history as the worst year on record for drink driving related fatalities in the Principality.  

On 7th January 2023, a husband and father of two was killed on his way home from work at the Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel and Resort when a drunk driver behind the wheel of a 4×4 strayed on to the wrong side of the road and collided head on with his scooter. 

In the early hours of 1st April 2023, three men in their 30s died when the car they were travelling in smashed into the side of the Louis II tunnel at an estimated speed of 150km per hour before bursting into flames. The maximum limit anywhere in Monaco is 50km per hour. The men had been spotted enjoying the Larvotto nightlife scene before the tragic incident and traces of drugs and alcohol were later found in the post-mortem blood samples taken from the driver. 

Then, just days before Christmas on 17th December 2023, five students from the International University of Monaco were involved in a harrowing speeding accident at the exit of the Tunnel du Millenium, close to the border with Cap d’Ail, after spending the night out partying. Two young women died from their injuries, either at the scene or in hospital, while the male driver, who was later found to have been driving under the influence of alcohol, is reportedly still receiving care at the Hôpital Pasteur in Nice.  

Combined, these three car accidents led to the deaths of six individuals on Monaco soil. It is believed to be the worst year on record for drink driving related fatalities in the Principality.  

Added to this are the 143 people caught driving under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs by Monaco’s police force – an increase of nearly 24% on 2022’s numbers – and the 347 individuals collared by officers for public drunkenness and disorder, which also rose by 23% on the previous year’s data. 

A plan of action 

At the annual Sûreté Publique presentation in January, Richard Marangoni, the head of the Monaco Police Department, confirmed that tackling the issue of drink driving would be a priority for his force in 2024. 

According to Commander Fabien Vachetta, a bill, including a raft of related proposals drawn up at the request of the force, is in the process of being finalised.

On the table is a change to police powers to allow officers to breathalyse drivers before they get behind the wheel, which is currently forbidden under Monegasque law, as well as perform checks on drivers leaving the Principality’s many nightclubs, as is done frequently in France.

Increased sanctions

An increase to the sanctions placed on those found guilty of driving under the influence has also been touted as another preventative measure.  

Currently, individuals stopped and fined under Monaco’s public drunkenness and disorder rules stand to receive a €37.50 penalty, which some critics say is simply not enough to deter offenders. 

For drivers caught drink driving, the punishments range from a €300 fine if they are found to have between 0.25mg and 0.39mg of alcohol per litre of exhaled air or between 0.50g and 0.79g of alcohol per litre of blood. The fine is doubled if a drink driver is taken before the court.  

Should the samples return measurements equal to or exceed 0.4mg or 0.8g, drink drivers can be sentenced to six months in prison and a €9,000 fine.  

Read related:

Be Safe Monaco doubles down on efforts to get partygoers home safely


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Photo by Monaco Life

Rolando Villazón concert at the Opéra de Monte-Carlo sells out

Rolando Villazón monte-carlo

Renowned Mexican tenor Rolando Villazón is set to perform in Monaco on 24th February in an event so hotly anticipated that tickets have already sold out! 

For one night only, the versatile Villazón, who is also a well-respected author, radio and TV presenter, and stage director, will perform on stage at the Opéra de Monte-Carlo.

On the programme is a selection of works by Handel, Mozart, Haydn, Verdi, Offenbach and Puccini, and the vocals of Villazón will be accompanied by Conductor Lena-Lisa Wüstendörfer and the musicians of the recently founded Swiss Orchestra.  

Villazón’s storied yet varied career started in the 1990s when he was recognised for his vocal talents and awarded the top spot at the Plácido Domingo Operalia Competition.  

From there, he went on to headline shows at major venues around the globe, as well as spread his wings into other creative endeavours.

He recently made a foray into stage direction, with one of his career highlights thus far being the highly successful 2023 rendition of The Barber of Seville in Monaco.    

The upcoming show will be held on 24th February at 8pm. Tickets have officially sold out, but further information on the concert can be found here

Read related: 

Next month at the Opéra de Monte-Carlo: the light, the dark and a sold-out visit from Rolando Villazón



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Mountaineer Alasdair Mckenzie leads talk on self-belief and confidence for students in Monaco

alasdair mckenzie monaco

A fascinating insight into the role of sport on personal development and how it can help shape a person’s self-belief and confidence was provided by the young Scottish-French mountaineer Alasdair Mckenzie at an event organised by the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation for the benefit of Lycée Albert Ier students in early February. 

In an effort to cultivate a culture of self-improvement amongst Monaco’s youth, the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation organised a conference on the theme of self-betterment through the intersecting lenses of sports and education on Thursday 8th February. 

Students from all age groups at the Lycée Albert Ier were invited to attend the conference, which was led by the thoroughly impressive Alasdair Mckenzie, a 19-year-old athlete with numerous mountaineering achievements and records already under his belt and a dream of becoming the youngest mountaineer to conquer the world’s famous 14 peaks above 8,000 metres. It is a feat that only 44 climbers in history have achieved.  

In his capacity as an accomplished athlete and a project partner of the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation, Mckenzie’s talk aimed to inspire and motivate Monaco’s students by presenting tangible examples how overcoming challenges and attaining personal goals can help form a stronger sense of self and of self-belief. 

In comments shared on Instagram after the event, a representative for the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation said, “[Alasdair Mckenzie’s]journey and the sports challenges he has overcome with determination and perseverance serve as a source of inspiration for the younger generation he represents… The Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation would like to deeply thank Alasdair for his participation and wishes him all the best for the rest of his adventure.”


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Alasdair Mckenzie at the event, photo credit: Eric Mathon / Palais Princier de Monaco

Explained: France’s taxe d’aménagement for building works and renovations

Here’s everything you need to know about the taxe d’aménagement, the one-off French tax on all residential developments that require a permit, from swimming pools and photovoltaic panels to property extensions and garden sheds.  

The taxe d’aménagement – the development, renovation or conversion tax, depending on the project being carried out – is a one-time-only tax that is applicable to all domestic projects that required a building or development permit to be issued by town planners ahead of works. 

This includes everything from swimming pools to solar panels and wind turbines, and from home extensions and garden sheds above five square metres to the installation of caravans and mobile homes.  

Depending on the type of project, the taxable amount is calculated either per unit or per square metre of developed space.  

Some tariffs are set in stone. For example: caravans and mobile homes will incur a tax of €3,000 per unit, swimming pools are taxed at €250 per square metre, wine turbines above 12 metres in height are taxed at €3,000 per unit, and photovoltaic panels are taxable at €10 per square metre. 

Other developments are taxed according to a municipal rate of between 1% and 20% plus a rate for the department that is set at a maximum of 2.5%. A regional tariff may also be imposed. Combined, these rates are multiplied by the square metres of a project.  

A simulator can be found here.  


Completed works must be reported within 90 days of the project’s end date via the Votre Espace section of the official taxation website:  

If the total comes to more than €1,500, it can be broken up into two instalments. The funds raised by the tax typically help finance public facilities and road networks. 

Click here for more information.  


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Photo source: Annie Shelmerdine, Unsplash