Brought to you by: Monaco Life
Le Camembert is no more. Casino Square has finally got its facelift and is ready for its close-up, but that almost certainly will not be before June.
The renovation of Casino Square, Monte Carlo’s central area facing the iconic Casino de Monte Carlo, has been a long time coming. The last phase of the makeover that included the building of One Monte-Carlo and the reconstruction of the Hôtel de Paris, was set to be officially inaugurated by the hosting of three major events this summer.
Sadly, the coronavirus had other ideas, forcing both the Fête de la Danse and a concert by Canadian super-songstress Celine Dion to be cancelled, as well as a gathering of 120 Ferraris on the esplanade to inaugurate the new look that was meant to happen at the end of June.
Nevertheless, SBM President Jean-Luc Biamonti has moved the €2.5 million project forward and accomplished what he set out to do after roughly four months of work. The project had two main objectives. The first was the removal of the grassy mound, affectionately called the camembert, which was an impediment to having large scale events on the site. The second was to resolve the on-going traffic circulation issues that continuously cropped up.
There were three contenders for the project and in the end, it was landscaper Michel Desvigne whose design was chosen. Desvigne is well-respected in the Principality and also has his stamp on the Mareterra land extension and Larvotto revamp.
The new Casino Square is now flattened and wide open. In the centre, Anish Kapoor’s mirror stands reflecting the casino whilst removable palm trees dot the area. The trees can be moved for events and the process of removal and replanting takes 24 to 48 hours. Traffic will no longer drive past the Café de Paris, but the side where the Grand Prix passes remains untouched.
For those who are ready to start enjoying the 3,500m2 plaza, SBM has stated that it will officially open when the Café de Paris reopens. If all goes according to plan with deconfinement, this means the public can begin enjoying the space in June, albeit without the Ferrari parade.
“The Place du Casino should be accessible again when the Café de Paris reopens, a date which is not yet known right now, because it is linked to the calendar of deconfinement of the Principality,” the Société des Bains de Mer said in a statement.
Despite the anticipation, not everyone is enamoured with the changes. Those waxing nostalgic, primarily on social media, long for the old version. But it is hoped that, as was the case when the Winter Sporting was replaced by One Monte-Carlo, people will soon adapt.
It should be noted that this is not the first time the square has been altered. Horse-drawn carriages once dotted the site, later followed by cars. Pedestrian traffic was always a feature, though in more recent times, safety issues became a concern. This latest incarnation solves the thorny problems of traffic, parking, safety and usability, making it the kind of place ready to take on the 21st century.
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