yachts monaco eye

Port Hercule Cruise Terminal

Monaco Cruise terminal

There has been a flurry of activity in Port Hercule this year, culminating in the construction of a covered area on the big jetty that serves as an exit to the cruise ship terminal Read More...


Yacht name: Godspeed
Formerly: Seaquest -> Freedom
Length: 130 ft • 40 m
Year: 2005
Builder: Westport • # 1512
Architect: Bill Garden
Design: Greg Marshall

The 130-foot Westport Godspeed was consumed by fire in the south of Italy earlier this month. Thanks to Martin for the link.

© HMB/ • Caribbean 2009 • Do not copy without permission


Force Blue

All photos copyrighted: monacoeye • Monaco, May 2010 • Do not copy without permission

Yacht name: Force Blue
Formerly: Big Roi
Length: 206 ft • 63 m
Launch: 2002
Builder: Royal Denship
Architect: Tom Fexas

May 2010: Force Blue back is back in the news. According to press reports, it was seized by Italian tax authorities this morning in a dawn raid in Italy.
It left Monaco last week after Renault success at this year’s Grand Prix.

May 2008: Force Blue back in Monaco for the F1. Alonso back again with Renault. No sign of the penguins yet…
May 2006: Flavio Briatore's Force Blue in nearby Beaulieu yesterday - Renault driver Fernando Alonso won the Monaco Grand Prix

Force Blue at the Monaco Grand Prix 2010

Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal
Photos copyright: monacoeye • Monte Carlo Tennis Masters 14 April 2010 • Do not copy without permission

New pictures of clay-court specialist Rafael Nadal, seeded number 2, taken yesterday at the 2010 Monte Carlo Tennis Masters.

He went through to the second round easily yesterday in two sets.

Lady Christine Helicopter Crash

Lady Christine crash photo
Helicopter crash Maine
Lady Christine Helicopter Crash
Helicopter on board Lady Christine
Helicopter on board Lady Christine
Lady Christine leaves the Monaco Yacht Show September 2008

Helicopter tender to Lady Christine

Photo: monacoeye • Monaco Yacht Show • September 2008
Tow photo: US Coast Guard • Maine • 1 August 2009
On land: Mary Offutt • Little Deer Isle, Maine • 3 August 2009

Update - 4 August 2009: Mary has just sent in photos of the wreck of the helicopter, taken yesterday. You get a good view of the sturdy inflatable buoys which kept the craft from sinking and allowed the helicopter to be towed so easily.

The main rotor is unseated and the rotor blades and engine casing are very beaten up, the pilot's door is missing, but the cabin of the helicopter looks remarkably unscathed.

Those are lobster pots in the background, in case you were wondering…

According to press reports, Scottish peer Lord Irvine Laidlaw, 66, who owns Lady Christine, was at the controls of the helicopter when it crashed. He was picking up passengers and returning to the yacht.

Breaking news - 2 Aug 2009: Lady Christine's helicopter tender, the one pictured above with personalised registration M-Boat, has crashed in the water in Maine, USA, yesterday afternoon, 1st August 2009.

The accident happened near Little Deer Isle in Penobscot Bay, Maine. The helicopter took off with four people on board, including owner Lord Laidlaw at the controls, from Lady Christine, which was anchored at sea. The four got out safely after the crash and waded ashore to the island. One eye-witness said that after seeing the helicopter spin down fast into the water she was amazed that anyone got out alive.

A spinning helicopter is often a sign of a rear rotor malfunction.

A small boat was sent out from the Lady Christine to collect the four passengers and return them to the yacht.

Fortunately, no-one appears to be seriously hurt. One person was taken to a nearby hospital to be treated for a neck injury, but the injury was not considered serious.

"Salty Hebrew" left this eye-witness report on below:

"I am a watchstander on the Training Ship State of Maine. Lady Christine pulled into Castine Harbor in Maine today. I watched her Heli tender take off as I was monitoring VHF Marine CH 16. 10 minutes after her takeoff, I witnessed a call to the USCG reporting that the heli tender went down in the water of a cove near Little Deer Isle, Christine is now missing her Heli =( as of Aug. 1st, 2009. "

The helicopter has now been towed to shore by the coastguard and the Environmental Protection Department are looking into containment methods for any resultant pollution that may exist. Photo here. About 30 gallons of fuel were on board when it crash-landed.

If you live nearby and have photos please send to and I'll post them on this page.

Lady Christine

Lady Christine

Lady Christine
Lady Christine yacht
Lady Christine leaving the Show

Yacht name: Lady Christine
Length: 182 ft • 56 m
Year: 2001
Builder: Oceanco • Y561
Architect: The A Group

Photo: monacoeye • Monaco Yacht Show • September 2008

2010: New 68m Lady Christine launched from Feadship
August 2009: Lady Christine's helicopter crash landed in water in Maine. No serious injuries.
September 2008: Lady Christine has arrived for the show.

Lady Christine helicopter


Pari on the rocks
The yacht pari runas agound by Carlie Chpalin's villa

Yacht name: Pari
Length: 130 ft • 39 m
Year: 1989
Builder: Alucraft • Dell'Argentario
Design: Vicenzo Ruggiero • Refit: Espen Øino

Photos: monacoeye • St Jean Cap Ferrat • 2 June 2008

20 June 2009: Activity around Pari. A containment barrier has been placed around her and hull inspections appear to be taking place.

2 June 2009: Pari ran aground off St Jean Cap Ferrat, on Saturday 30th May, dragged on to the rocks at anchor by heavy winds during the night. Attempts to refloat her have been halted until an inspection of her hull has been undertaken. No one was reported injured.

As can be seen from the photos above, she has now been tethered to the rocks with some floatation devices at her bow and stern - or perhaps those are fuel containment barriers? No fuel was visible in the surrounding area.

The magnificent villa La Fleur Du Cap, that overlooks the waterfront, used to belong to Charlie Chaplin, then was owned by David Niven until his death in 1983.

Below, Pari last year in Cannes, in better times.


Roger Federer

Roger Federer

Photo: Monaco • April 2009 • Monaco Tennis Masters

June 2009, Roland Garros: Roger Federer pitted against outsider Robin Soderling in the final this afternoon …

April 2009, Monaco: Roger Federer failed to make it through to the quarter-finals in the Monte Carlo Tennis Masters this week. Murray is set to play Nadal in the semis later this afternoon, with the winner playing either Djokovic in the finals tomorrow.

Robin Söderling

Robin Soderling

Photo: monacoeye • April 2009 • Monaco Tennis Masters

Here's a photo of Swedish giant-killer Robin Söderling, who ended Rafael Nadal's winning streak at Roland Garros and is now pitted against Roger Federer in the final.

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton goes for a stroll minutes before the start of the Monaco Grand Prix
Lewis Hamilton in his 2009 Vodafone Mclaren at Monaco GP
Lewis Hamilton's Tyre guy

Photo: monacoeye • Monaco Grand Prix • May 2009

Lewis Hamilton looked relaxed minutes before the start of the Monaco Grand Prix. Unfortunately he was unable to reproduce last year's performance.

Jenson Button

Button wins Monaco
Jenson Button congratulated by rival teams
Jenson Button steams past to win Monaco for Brawn GP
Jenson Button victorious at Monaco
Jenson Button jogs back to winner's podium
Jenson Button

Photos: monacoeye • Monaco Grand Prix 2009
Photo: Tatiana Hughes • Monaco Grand Prix 2008.

"We've got Monaco, baby" - Jenson Button's words over the Brawn GP radio as he and team-mate Rubens Barrichello strolled home in first and second place yesterday.

In a tactical gamble, Brawn were the only team to start with super-soft tyres, which gave them an early lead, but were liable to deteriorate faster than harder tyres.

Meanwhile, last year's winner Lewis Hamilton had a bad race, starting at the back of the grid after crashing in qualifying. Ferrari showed potential picking up third and fourth.

Button's only mistake was to park in the wrong place in the pits after winning the race, so he ran back along the track to the podium, to great applause from both the crowd and rival crews.

MSC Melody

Cruise Ship MSC Melody
For security reasons don not approach closer than 50 metres unless authorised - sign on cruise ship msc melody which recently thwarted pirate attack near Somalia
MSC Melody

Cruise ship name: MSC Melody
Formerly: Atlantic • Atlantic Starship
Length: 672 ft • 205 m
Year: 1982 • Refurbished: 2001
Builder: CNIM (France)
Operator: MSC Cruises
Gross Tonnage: 35,143 GT
Speed: 18-21 knots
Passengers: 1000-1550
Crew: 500

Photos: monacoeye • Monaco • 2006-2008

The cruise ship MSC Melody, run by Italian operator MSC, successfully fought off a pirate attack in the Indian Ocean on Saturday night, 25th April 2009. According to an AP report, onboard Israeli private security forces thwarted the pirates by returning fire after the ship was attacked with automatic weapons as pirates try to board.

The attack took place about 200 miles north of the Seychelles, as Melody was returning to Genoa from a cruise in South Africa. About 1000 passengers were on board, no-one was hurt although the liner was slightly damaged.

Until now it has been unusual for civilian ships to exchange fire with pirates. Perhaps this marks the start of a new trend of preventative action… MSC Melody is a regular visitor to Port Hercule in Monaco, as can be seen in the above photos, and often displays a large sign: "For Security Reasons Do Not Approach Closer Than 50 Metres Unless Authorised."

Andy Murray

Andy Murray - Scottish tennis champion

Andy Murray

Photo: monacoeye • Monte Carlo Tennis Masters • 13 April 2009

World number 4 seed, Andy Murray, warming up on the clay courts of the 2009 Monte Carlo Tennis Masters today.

News Roundup

Here's a digest of a few items of news that have caught my eye recently.

Sardinia's luxury tax on yachts may be scrapped. Italy plans to ban yachts from mooring offshore, to protect the marine environment from anchor damage.

Shari Arison, Israel's richest woman, has put My Shanti up for sale, listed at $103 million. My Shanti is in Monaco currently. Thyssen Krupp may be selling Hellenic Shipyards.

The yacht market has taken quite a hit in the credit crunch. Inventories have risen and prices have fallen, but buyers and sellers are still doing business.

Lara was sold by Ardell (BOGOF - buy one get one free). Burgess lopped a whopping $6 million off Multiple's asking price, now $19 m. Gale Winds, a 26m Broward, was sold. Hebridean Spirit, a 90m mini cruiser, was sold by Ocean Independence.

Lone Ranger was donated to a US charitable foundation for oceanographic exploration. There was a $2.5 million price drop for My Issue and 15 more sales in March including Bad Girl, 57m, Casino Royale, 50m and Stanley, the 120 ft Palmer Johnson at IYC.

Armani has dropped the price on Mariu by €4 million to €20 m. The explorer Garfield's price dropped by $4 million to $11 m. Skylge was reduced from €15m to €10. Lady Christina is now for sale at €52 m. All these and many more "bargains" to be found at Malcolm McLean's excellent brokerage news site.

According to Camper & Nicholson's newsletter the number of yachts on sale over 24 metres nearly doubled in 2008, from 1000 to 1750, while yacht prices dropped a fairly modest 15%, those longer on the market moving more in price, with the greatest reductions coming in January 2009.

85m Vibrant Curiosity was launched by Oceanco for German screw manufacturer, Reinhold Würth. Benetti launched 64m Silver Angel and 45m Harmony III. Stabbert is converting 308 ft Sahara.

Royal Huisman has launched Hanuman, the J-class replica of Endeavour II. CMN launched 60m Slipstream. Rodriquez launched Ocean Emerald, the first Yacht Plus fractional ownership yacht, designed by Foster and Partners. Maiora launched 39m Why Worry. Baglietto launched Natori, 41m. Amels launched their fifth LE 171. Feadship launched #667 Hurricane Run, and High Chaparral has been put up for sale.

The world seems to be waking up to the fact that paying multi-million dollar ransoms in the Gulf of Aden is likely to be fuelling piracy by giving pirates the means to buy faster boats and more sophisticated equipment.

On a sad note, 28-year-old Florent Lemacon's dream of sailing around the world with his family ended last week, when he was killed as French forces stormed their 41-foot hijacked sailing yacht Tanit. His wife and child were freed with another couple.

Last September another French couple on board their 48 footer the Carré d'As were freed unharmed in a similar hijack rescue. On that occasion the couple locked themselves into a small room when the boat was stormed - a wise move.

More sad news - in March, a British man Malcolm Robertson was killed in a ghastly attack by pirates off the Thai coast whilst on board with his wife. Their blog details their round the world trip which started in 1998 in Eastbourne.

Meanwhile, things ended well for America's new hero Captain Richard Phillips, who was freed yesterday from his own Somali pirate hostage ordeal. Vice Admiral William Gortney's poignant message to the captain's wife was "Mrs Phillips keep your son away from those Easter eggs, his Dad's headed home."

Bernie Madoff Yacht Bull Seized

Bernie Madoff's yacht Bull has been seized and chained in Antibes
Chained Propellors of Bernie Madoff's yacht Bull
Bailiff's notice affixed to stern of Bernie Madoff's yacht

Yacht name: Bull
Length: 27 m ?
Builder: Leopard • Arno

Photos: monacoeye • Antibes • 7 April 2009

Bull, the yacht of convicted Ponzi fraudster Bernie Madoff, was seized by bailiffs on the 3rd of April, in Port Gallice, Cap d'Antibes - he also has a small property nearby.

The propellors have been chained and a notice of seizure [is this a boat arrest ?] has been served by bailiffs acting on instruction from a Parisian-based financial company. The letter tells the owner not to move the boat and says the port authority has been informed. Translation of bailiff's notice with larger photo.


Nautica Cruise

Cruise ship: Nautica
Operator: Oceania
Length: 594 ft • 181 m
Gross Tonnage: 30,277 GT
Year: 1998
Builder: Chantiers de l'Atlantique
Capacity: 684 passengers
Crew: 386

Photo: monacoeye • Monaco • 2007

Nautica, a frequent visitor to Monaco, is the latest cruise ship to be targeted by pirates in the Gulf of Aden. Nautica used a combination of speed and a pain-inducing long range acoustic device (LRAD) to foil the pirates, who approached in two skiffs and fired shots. The attack only lasted 5 minutes.



Andreas Liveras

Today I heard the shocking news that Andreas Liveras had been killed in the terrorist attacks in Mumbai. He was visiting the Taj Palace for a curry and actually phoned the BBC during the sickening ordeal:

"As soon as we sat at the table we heard the machine gun fire outside in the corridor."

Mr Liveras was known to all in the yachting world as a warm and charismatic leader in the luxury charter market.

He was gifted in business, starting his career as a bakery delivery-man, having arrived in London from Cyprus as a young man, and eventually going on to own the bakery, which he then sold to Express Dairies.

He went on to make a business from his passion for yachts, buying a series of yachts, refitting them, chartering and eventually custom building. Liveras Yachts currently operates Alysia and Lauren L.

He will be greatly missed - our sincere condolences go out to his family, friends and colleagues.

News links: BBC - BBC - Times

Lauren L

Man Utd v Zenit St Petersburg

The Russian Bear is coming for you !
Russian Supporters

Monaco is awash with cheerful Russian football supporters, primed for kick off against Manchester United at 8.45 pm in the UEFA Super Cup Final. Didn't see many Man U supporters this afternoon - maybe they're flying in after work, or in the bar already perhaps ?

Plenty of Russian boats around, of course, including Pelorus and Izumi (I'm reliably informed). A bit of Wikipedia trivia for the pub quiz later - Zenit's majority owner is the Russian energy giant Gazprom, whose ex Chairman is none other than Russian President Dmitry Medvedev …

A significant turn out of yachts moored off the Larvotto too - Deniki and Friday Star above… "A" was visiting Beaulieu earlier in the week.

Tiara - Pirate attack - Corsica


Yacht name: Tiara
Length: 178 ft • 54 m
Year: 2004
Builder: Alloy Yachts • # AY30
Naval architect: Dubois Naval Architects
Interior: John Munford Design

Photo: monacoeye • Monaco • 2006

25 August 2008: Pirate attack - Breaking news

Tiara, the 54m luxury sailing yacht, which is available for charter, was boarded by four armed men in the bay of Porto Novo, off Porto Vecchio, in the south of Corsica - last night, 24th August 2008.

The men arrived in an inflatable, armed with guns and other weapons, and quickly overpowered the crew. The attackers left with €138,000 taken from the safe.

The ten crew and nine passengers, who had sailed from Porto Cervo in Sardinia, were reportedly shocked but unhurt.

The pirates then disappeared into the night. French police are investigating …

Basrah Breeze

Saddam's former yacht Ocean Breeze is handed back to Iraq and renamed Basrah Breeze
Saddam's yacht Ocean Breeze
Ocean Breeze

Yacht name: Basrah Breeze
Formerly: Ocean Breeze <- Al Yamamah <- Qadissayat Saddam
Length: 269 ft • 82 m
Year: 1981
Builder: Helsingor

Photo: monacoeye • St Jean • April 2008
Photo: monacoeye • Nice • November 2007

3 August 2008: An end to the Saddam yacht saga appears in sight.

The French press have reported that Saddam's yacht Ocean Breeze was handed over to Iraqi authorities today, and the Iraqi flag was hoisted. They add that the yacht will now be heading down to dry dock in Greece.

According to the Nice Matin, the Jordanian authorities suddenly had a change of heart and decided not to contest Iraqi ownership claims. The yacht has changed names once again, and is now Basrah Breeze !

Jan 2008: Ocean Breeze is in the news again. The Iraqi government is claiming ownership of the yacht. According to an article in the Independent today, French police and a bailiff boarded the yacht in Nice and found an insurance document pointing to former ownership by Saddam Hussein.

Although the history of ownership of the yacht is not at all clear, it seems it was intended for Saddam, but, according to the report, moved into Saudi and then Jordanian hands, before coming to Monaco for the 2007 yacht show.

She was then sold and renamed Ocean Breeze. According to the Independent, a French court blocked resale of the yacht ten days ago. She is currently in Nice.

Yacht Fire - Port Vell Barcelona

Burnt shells of yachts on the quayside in Port Vell
Barcelona Port Vell Fire

Photo: Ricardo Pilguy • Port Vell, Barcelona • July 2008
Photo: Katja Juvonen • Port Vell, Barcelona • July 2008

Update July 2008: The top shot shows the burned shells of XTC and Drumfire, seen from the air, by Ricardo.

2 March 2008: This video and photo, taken in Port Vell, Barcelona, Saturday, by local resident Katja Juvonen, caught the drama of a raging fire as it tore through four 20+ metre yachts.

All four yachts sank with a fifth sailing yacht badly damaged - you can see the mast topple in the video. 6 people were on board but unharmed. Katja says the fire team seemed slow to respond, which may have allowed the fire to take hold.

The fire chief was reported in the press as saying that the job of extinguishing the fire had been complicated by the water-repellent nature of the yachts themselves - which may have been scuttled, as a last resort.

This La Vanguardia video shows a general view of the port with many yachts nearby. More links in comments.


Guilty yacht
Guilty Faliro marina

Yacht name: Guilty
Length: 114 ft • 35 m
Year: 2008
Builder: Rizzardi
Exterior art: Jeff Koons
Design: Ivana Porfiri
Owner: Dakis Joannou

Photos, as always, exclusive to monacoeye !!

Photos: A • Rhodes • 1 July 2008
Photo: Aeolos • Faliro marina • 13 July 2008

The guest list for the christening of recently launched Guilty reads like a Who's Who of the contemporary art world. Nicholas Serota of the Tate, Jeffrey Deitch, Larry Gagosian, Marian Goodman, Maurizio Cattelan, Ashley Bickerton … the list goes on, and on.

Of course, Sarah Morris' text painting "Guilty" hangs on the wall of one bedroom - bought after the yacht was named. Owner and major art collector Dakis Joannou simply had to have it!

The exterior design was created by international art star Jeff Koons, famous for his basketball in perspex case, three-storey high "Puppy" made of flowers, and the "Made in Heaven" erotic series of photographs with Italian ex-wife and porn-star-member-of-parliament La Cicciolina.

Although the blown up print and poster colours will be familiar to art fans from Roy Liechtenstein's signature Ben-Day Dots style, Jeff Koons actually based this design on the Dazzle Painting, or Razzle Dazzle as the Americans called it, WW1 camouflage pattern invented by British marine artist and naval officer Norman Wilkinson - see comments below for more on this extraordinary style.

Ivana Porfiri created the unusual angular architecture. Guilty is likely to appear in next month's Italian Vogue.

Please leave your verdict in the comments below … !

Nuclear Leak Vaucluse

At this time of year hundreds of thousands of Brits, and other nationalities, will be heading for the popular Provence area of France for their summer holidays.

On Monday, 7th July 2008, 74 kg of untreated uranium leaked out of the Tricastin nuclear waste treatment centre, run by Socatri, in Bollene, in the Vaucluse region. It spread into the ground and surrounding water system, according to press releases by parent company Areva.

Swimming, water sports and crop irrigation have been officially banned. The uranium has been detected in the local rivers. Local residents have been instructed not to drink water or eat fish from nearby rivers.

According to reports, the spill occurred when uranium overflowed into a spill tank, but the spill tank had a leak because repair work was being carried out on it.

Abnormal levels of radiation have been detected in several rivers and lakes. The 74 kg of uranium was in the form of 6.26 cubic metres (or 30 cubic metres in an early Areva press release) of liquid containing 12 grammes of uranium per litre.

Internet coverage of the incident seems sketchy at best - although the story is getting a lot of play on local radio. Most French articles seem to stress the fact that radiation levels are dropping rapidly.

The French authorities have now ordered the temporary closure of the Tricastin facility.

The best article I have found is this Yahoo report. Here is the ASN report from the 11th of July (in French), which says very little, other than they have classed the incident as Level 1 (of 7) - the least serious level. Here's a map of the facility, the map, the Vaucluse local government site, with their drinking and bathing advice (in French), and the official Areva press releases.

If you are in the area, we would be interested to hear if and how you have been affected, in the comments below.

Le Ponant - Somali Pirate Attack

Le Ponant
Le Ponant yacht cruise ship

Cruise Yacht Name: Le Ponant
Length: 288 ft • 88 m
Year: 1991
Builder: SFCN - Société Française de Construction Navale
Architect: Michel Bigoin
Design: Joël Bretecher • Stirling Design International
Passengers: 64 • Crew: 32
Operator: Compagnie des Iles du Ponant

Photo: monacoeye • Nice • May 2007
Photo: monacoeye • Monaco Grand Prix • May 2006

Update: 11 April 2008

Sarkozy has announced that the hostages have now been freed !! All are safe, no violence was used, no other details given.

Breaking news 5 April 2008

Three-masted mini cruise ship Le Ponant has been seized by pirates in the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Somalia. France is looking into its military options with a regard to releasing the hostages.

No passengers were on board, but thirty crew, mostly French, were taken hostage. 22 of the crew are French, 6 of whom are women. The remaining eight are Ukrainian and Korean.

The yacht was heading back from the Seychelles to the Mediterranean. It is a regular visitor to Nice and Monaco in the summer.

French Prime Minister François Fillon said: "This is a blatant act of piracy. We have significant military resources in the area. We are aiming to bring about the release of the hostages in the coming hours." On Saturday he clarified that the French navy was pursuing the cruise ship and would try to resolve the situation without the use of force.

France already has a military presence in neighbouring Djibouti.

Surveillance aircraft and ships from French-run anti-terrorist unit Task Force 150, part of US Operation Enduring Freedom, have headed towards the area.

Although Le Ponant is the size of a large yacht, it is a small cruise ship, which can accommodate 64 passengers. It is operated by French company La Compagnie de Iles du Ponant, which is part owned by CMA-CGM, and mostly employs French crew.

Le Ponant is one of the few ships to cruise the Indian Ocean.

The coast of Somalia is notorious for pirate attacks. In 2007 a total of 31 piracy incidents were recorded in Somalia, a big jump from the 10 reported in 2006. Pirates held 154 crew hostage in 11 hijackings.

In Nigeria, the other major hotbed of piracy, 42 incidents were reported in 2007, compared to 12 in 2006.

Across the whole world, 263 attacks were recorded in 2007, versus 239 in 2006.

Statistics: ICC CSS

Sunday Update: French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner says France has established contact with the boat and the crew are safe and sound. He says he expects lengthy negotiations and will do everything to avoid bloodshed.

Ransoms paid in the past, in similar situations, are reported to be in the order of half a million to one million dollars.

Monaco Holiday Site

Monte Carlo Grand Prix and Monaco Hotel and Tourist site

Our sister site has been revamped and relaunched in time for the holiday season. It's an unofficial guide to Monaco for tourists planning on spending a day or two in Monaco or visiting Monte Carlo for the F1 Grand Prix. …

Although some sections still need some work, categories include the Aquarium and Oceanographic Museum, Jardin Exotique or Cactus Garden, Monaco Grand Prix F1, Monte Carlo Rally (needs updating) Beaches including the Larvotto, Cathedral and Palace, Monte Carlo Open Tennis Masters (needs updating), a few photos of Prince Albert of Monaco, Monte Carlo Casino (needs updating), Transport from Nice to Monaco and in Monaco, and Monaco Maps including a Monaco Hotel Map and Monaco Grand Prix Map.

We hope you find the site useful!

Fire rages above Monaco


A dramatic brush fire swept across the hillside above Monaco on Monday, endangering dozens of villas perched on the exposed mountainside above the Grande Corniche road. Smoke and flames were clearly visible from the port as tourists and Grand Prix crew alike looked on in horror…

Firefighters battled the flames for hours before finally bring it under control late afternoon using their famous Canadair waterbomber planes, which first scooped up sea-water in the bay below and then dropped it onto the flames.

Meanwhile, the motorway to Italy and the Grande Corniche were closed to traffic, creating huge jams between Monaco and Menton. According to local TV news yesterday, amazingly no houses were damaged and no casualties reported.

The following sequence of 15 photos shows the progression of the fire between noon and 2.30 pm. The first photo, taken at 11.42 am in Port Hercule, shows the fire has not yet started. In the second photo, taken at 12.13 of Floridian leaving, smoke is already visible. In the third photo, taken at 12.32, the fire is raging above the Grande Corniche. By 2.30 pm the fire has skirted the hillside and is moving down on a small group of houses along the road from the Vista Palace Hotel…

Le Ponant

Le Ponant

Cruise Ship: Le Ponant
Length: 88 m
Year: 1991
Design: Michel Bigoin
Builder: SFCN - Société Française de Construction Navale
Passengers: 64 • Crew: 32
Operator: Compagnie des Iles du Ponant

Photo: monacoeye • Nice • May 2007

Le Ponant is the size of large yacht but is really a cruise ship. Often visits Monaco.

Breaking news - 5 April 2008

Three-masted mini cruise ship Le Ponant has been seized by pirates in the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Somalia. France is looking into its military options with a regard to releasing the hostages.

No passengers were on board, but thirty crew, mostly French, were taken hostage.

The yacht was heading back from the Seychelles to the Mediterranean. It is a regular visitor to Nice and Monaco in the summer.

French Prime Minister François Fillon said, "it is a blatant act of piracy. We have relatively large military means in this area. We are mobilised to obtain the release of hostages as quickly as posssible."

France already has a military presence in neighbouring Djibouti.

Surveillance aircraft and ships from French-run anti-terrorist unit Task Force 150, part of Operation Enduring Freedom, have headed towards the area.

Although Le Ponant is the size of a large yacht, it can take 64 passengers, and works as a small cruise ship. It is operated by French company La Compagnie de Iles du Ponant, which is part owned by CMA-CGM, and mostly employs French crew.

The ship was designed Michel Bigoin, who also designed Phocea.

Le Ponant is one of few ships to cruise the Indian Ocean. The coast of Somalia is notorious for pirate attacks.

Prince Albert

Is this the new Wally 55m? No! The French warship, Aconit, paid a visit for the enthronement of Prince Albert. Two other warships (one French, one Italian?) remained outside the port.

Port Hercule
Port Hercule
Prince Albert