Self-service paddle boards costing €20 an hour opens in Larvotto

Monaco’s Larvotto Beach recently welcomed a new self-service paddle board rental kiosk for beachgoers to enjoy from dawn until dusk.  

With the summer season fast approaching, visitors and locals are flocking to the sandy beach in Monaco’s Larvotto neighbourhood for sunshine, swimming and now a spot of paddle boarding thanks to a new self-service rental station that recently opened up on the boardwalk.  

Located between the trees at the eastern edge of the beach, the rental kiosk is open seven days a week from 6am for early birds until 10pm for those hoping to catch the sunset while out on the water.  

The system is simple. Users must first download the Equip app and scan the QR code displayed at the bottom of the kiosk. Then they can select one of the six boards and collect the provided life vest and paddle equipment. Users can securely lock their belongings in the empty locker before heading out for a paddle.  

The boards can only be rented for one hour at a time. If users want to extend their experience, they need to return their board and apply for another session. It costs €20 per hour.

The service costs €20 per hour. Photo by Monaco Life

The self-service system will be open year-round, only closing when the weather isn’t suitable for paddle boarding. 

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Larvotto Beach gets ready for the summer season


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Photo by Monaco Life 


Formula E: Cyril Blais appointed as Maserati MSG Racing Deputy Team Principal

Monaco-based Maserati MSG Racing has promoted Cyril Blais to the role of Deputy Team Principal.

Maserati MSG made the announcement on Tuesday 7th May, ahead of the 2024 Berlin E-Prix on 11th and 12th May.

“Since joining the team in 2021, then under the guise of Venturi Racing, Cyril has played a critical role in advancing technical innovation and shaping culture in the Monaco-based outfit,” said the team in a statement. 

Cyril was named as Formula E’s Engineer of the Year last season and was appointed as Maserati MSG Racing’s Chief Engineer in 2023. 

“His step up to the position of Deputy Team Principal marks a natural career evolution,” said Maserati MSG. 

Cyril Blais engineered the team to three victories and 10 podiums. He will now report to Maserati MSG Racing Managing Partner, José M Aznar Botella.

“After making a strong start to 2024 with a win in Tokyo and a podium at Misano, the level of motivation, determination, and ambition within the team is at an all-time high, and although my promotion has arrived during the season, it won’t change my level of focus or responsibilities on the technical side,” said Cyril Blais. “I will continue to push hard so we can achieve the best results possible in the second half of the season, and we’re all looking forward to getting back out on track this weekend.”

One of three key management appointments

Alongside Cyril’s promotion, Maserati MSG Racing also confirmed the appointment of Bérengère Quaix as Chief Financial Officer, and James Hughes Mulligan to the role of Commercial Director.

Maserati MSG Racing, formerly Venturi Racing, is one of the founding teams of the FIA Formula E World Championship and in December 2013 became the first manufacturer to join motorsport’s premier fully-electric category. 

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Main photo supplied



Écophyto 2030: France aims to reduce pesticide use by 50% before the end of the decade

The French government is hoping to cut pesticide use by the nation’s farmers by up to 50% by 2030 with a new action plan. 

On 6th May, the French government rolled out its new Écophyto 2030 strategy.

It takes a tough stance on herbicide, insecticide and fungicide use in the domestic agriculture sector, with the plans setting out a roadmap to a future where biodiversity and human health is better protected.  

One key aspect of the strategy is the government’s commitment to supporting research into viable alternatives for farmers, with the promise that there will be “no ban [on pesticides] without a solution”.  

“To give credibility to [this], we are putting historic resources of €250 million in 2024 into the search for alternatives,” says Marc Fesneau, France’s Minister of Agriculture and Food Sovereignty. 

Another mission of the Écophyto 2030 plans is to boost training in the sector in a bid to drive innovation and better governance.  

 “We owe it to our agricultural industry and farmers to achieve a just and sustainable ecological transition,” says Sylvie Retailleau, Minister of Higher Education and Research.


 France has been making efforts to cut its reliance on pesticides under various forms of the Écophyto strategy since 2008.  

According to government sources, “For the first time since 2009, there has been a drop in the use of synthetic plant protection products, with a reduction of 20% in 2022 compared to the 2015-2017 average.” 

The unveiling of Écophyto 2030 comes just weeks after Fesneau launched the national Ambition Bio 2027 project to stimulate demand for organic produce in France and better support domestic producers looking to make the transition to more ecological methods of production. Under Ambition Bio 2027, the government hopes to achieve the objective of converting 18% of France’s farmland into organic agriculture in the next three years.  

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Ambition Bio 2027: France’s plan to encourage more people to buy organic produce


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Photo source: Waldermar, Unsplash


The deadline for Fête de la Musique band registrations is coming up

fête de la musique monaco

Ahead of this summer’s Fête de la Musique, the Mairie de Monaco has put out a call for six more groups of musicians to fill out its roster of acts, but the deadline for applications is this Friday! 

The Fête de la Musique signals the start of the summer season. Typically falling on the summer solstice – although that will occur the day before the festival in 2024 – the Fête de la Musique is a free public event that began in France in the 1980s. It has since spread to Monaco too, where the sociable nature of the festival has really taken hold among the population.  

Every 21st June, musicians and music lovers pour out onto the streets for back-to-back sessions of free outdoor concerts and gigs featuring every kind of musical genre.  

This year will be no different, but the Mairie de Monaco is hoping to plump up the programme a little more and recently put out a call for six additional groups of musicians. 

There are two time slots available: two groups are needed for the noon to 2pm sessions and there are four spaces across the Principality for bands that would like to perform from 5.30pm to 7.30pm. 

If you and your band are interested in taking part, send an email with the following details: band name, number of musicians, genre of music, the preferred time slot and a short demo. The deadline is Friday 10th May. 

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Photo credit: Manuel Vitali / Monaco Communications Department

Bridging cultures: Takreem Foundation’s fundraising gala to raise money for vulnerable children

The Takreem Foundation, founded by Ricardo Karam to bridge the East and the West, is bringing its fundraising gala to Monaco under the high patronage of Prince Albert II. 

The Takreem Foundation was established in 2010 by Ricardo Karam to modify the image of the Arab world through the lens of notable achievements by remarkable individuals. Since its inception, the Foundation has awarded around 100 honourees from most Arab countries, including the famous architect, artist and designer Zaha Hadid, Princess Ghida Tala of Jordan, and Nabil Nahas, a renowned Lebanese artist and painter, to name a few.

Ricardo Karam is a talk show host turned author, screenwriter and creative director, who founded Takreem as a gateway to Arab culture and to promote new role models for the younger generation. Recognising the importance of providing role models for young people seeking inspiration, I founded a sustainable platform aimed at motivating and empowering individuals,” Karam told Monaco Life.

A brighter future

The highlight of the Foundations calendar is an awards ceremony that is hosted in a different city every year. Last years award ceremony took place in Oman in West Asia.

The awards ceremony is a weekend-long affair with over 500 attendees gathering to connect with their roots and the Takreem community.

We strive to foster connections and collaborations, uniting individuals to address pressing challenges and pave the way for a brighter future,” explained Karam.

The laureates, who are required to come from Arab countries, go through a selection process where they must meet certain criteria in a two-stage process. Our selection process is characterised by transparency, professionalism, and impartiality,” revealed Karam.

There are nine categories for which the laureates can be chosen, from entrepreneurship to civil services and technological advancements. To maintain the suspense, the names of the selected laureates will not be revealed until the ceremony.

The Takreem Foundation gala

Annual initiatives

Every year, Takreem’s focus shifts to addressing urgent societal issues, with donations from the fundraisers going towards the years chosen cause. In 2022, the efforts were directed at supporting Lebanese students in the United States and Europe by providing scholarships and covering living expenses. Previous fundraising gala dinners have taken place in cities like Paris, Geneva, and London, with last year’s gala dinner aiding Lebanese artists.

The mission this year is to support vulnerable children by supplying medical care. It is a concerted effort, says Karim, to catalyse lasting positive change in the Arab community globally”.

The Monaco gala

This year, the fundraising gala dinner ‘Art for a Cause’ is coming to the Hôtel de Paris on 9th May, promising an evening of culture and charity with international artists auctioning their artworks in support of their cause. All contributions will be directed to the provision of medical care to vulnerable children. As Ricardo Karam explained, Monaco was chosen as this years destination because Monaco complements Takreem’s aspirations by providing a prestigious platform to showcase Arab excellence and promote cultural exchange.”

Together, we boldly declare no to war and yes to peace; no to dark tunnels and yes to light, hope, dream, and love,” concluded Karam.

For more information and tickets to the gala, click here: Takreem | A better image of the Arab world.

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Photo credits: Supplied

This article was originally published on April 25th 2024.  

Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou to host Nikos Galis at Hellenic Initiative fundraiser in June

nikos galis

Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou has announced his plans for an upcoming charity fundraiser in aid of The Hellenic Initiative and its Summer Youth Academy. Greek basketball legend and ‘Hall of Famer’ Nikos Galis has been invited to attend as the event’s guest of honour. 

The charity gala will be taking place on 24th June in the Stelios Philanthropic Foundation Conference Hall in Monaco with the goal of raising funds for The Hellenic Initiative, a non-profit association that provides support for an array of philanthropic programmes and initiatives related to crisis relief, the encouraging of entrepreneurship and the promotion of economic development in Greece. 

Through this upcoming event, easyJet founder and Monaco resident Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou hopes to generate support for another branch of The Hellenic Initiative’s causes: the Summer Youth Academy, a project that will give 100 budding young basketball players a chance to experience first-hand the “power of education and sports to transform lives”.

He has invited the Greek basketball icon and ‘Hall of Famer’ Nikos Galis to attend the bash and give a keynote speech on his experiences as a top-level sportsman.  

Spaces at the event are limited to 60 VIP guests. Attendees will be asked to make a suggested donation of €500 per person. The Stelios Philanthropic Foundation will match all funds generated at the event and cover all necessary organisational costs.  

To be a part of the fundraiser, contact Constantina Karameri at the Stelios Philanthropic Foundation by 10th June. 

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Photo via Stelios Philanthropic Foundation