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Wednesday, 13 February 2013 7:23 | Author: Ian Brodie

Council of Europe observers take swipe at Monaco

The six-person observer team from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has reported that last Sunday's elections were free and fair, after a tense campaign period. The observers saluted the organization efforts of the Mairie, whose officials were responsible for the voting process last Sunday. However, the observer team said that the campaign had been marked by real tensions. "The campaign had given rise to verbal violence, of defamation and homophobic insults, as well as physical aggression, personal attacks and scandalous revelations..."

The observer delegation also took a swipe at criticism voiced during the campaign directed at the Council of Europe, "whose role had been misinterpreted. This is even more regrettable taking into account the the efficient and constructive relations that the Council and Monaco have enjoyed since the Principality joined the organization in 2004." A commission of the Council of Europe has criticized the Principality for its perceived democratic deficit, a charge that has brought a vigorous response from all sections of the community and the Government.

Article tags: council of europe national council elections

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European Poker Tour plays in Monaco

The European Poker Tour, the series of high stakes poker tournaments that attract the jet-setting elite of international poker professionals is here in Monaco from April 26 to May 6. Prizes of over one million euros attract professional poker players who descend on destinations such as Barcelona, Malta and Prague, competing to be crowned the winner of events such as the “Super High Roller.” And the most prestigious of all the EPT tournaments is the grand final, which is held in Monaco.

Monaco Life spoke to four professional players from Europe and the US, to find out what brings them to the PokerStars and Monte-Carlo®Casino EPT Grand Final. []

by Samantha Rea []

Craig McCorkell []

Craig McCorkell is a British poker pro and winner of a prestigious World Series of Poker [WSOP] bracelet. He won 100,000 euros in the acclaimed Main Event in Monaco.

“My win in Monaco was early in my poker tournament career, so it was really important to me. I was lucky to even get there because it was 2010, so the volcanic ash cloud meant there were no flights. I made it to Paris by Eurostar – then I was faced with a train strike in France!

The first place prize money for the EPT Grand Final in Monaco is always massive – it’s double all the other EPTs. It’s changed this year – the prize won’t be as much, but I’ll always come back to Monaco – it’s such a beautiful, historic city.

I stay at the Monte Carlo Bay, Le Meridien or the Fairmont. I like the pool at the Monte Carlo Bay and the views from the room are amazing. When I’m not playing poker, I like walking along the seafront and round the garden of the Monte Carlo Casino - it’s picturesque and the weather’s amazing at that time of year.

I look forward to the restaurants the most – I love Nobu at the Fairmont hotel, and Maya Bay for fresh sushi. I’ve had quite a few nights out in Monaco - my favourite bars have to be Jimmy’z, and the Irish bar, McCarthy’s.”

Melanie Weisner []

Melanie Weisner is an American poker pro whose career highlights include winning first place in the Women’s Event at the EPT grand final in Monaco.

“Winning the Women’s Event in Monaco was fun as there were a lot of players – and that same trip, I finished second in another tournament. The grand final in Monaco is the summit of the EPT, so achieving those wins in that calibre of event was particularly satisfying!

Poker players, especially Americans, often associate gambling with Las Vegas, but I think Monte Carlo is the world’s most iconic gambling spot. It’s much more elegant than the glitz of Las Vegas, and it’s not like any other stop in Europe - it’s the crowning glory of the EPT.

I always stay at the Monte Carlo Bay. The Alain Ducasse restaurant, Le Louis XV is the most luxurious environment I’ve ever been in. It’s magnificent - it’s like something out of Cindarella.

The whole area is full of beautiful excursions. I’ve been on scenic drives to Nice, San Remo and Beaulieu-Sur-Mer, where I had one of the best meals of my life at La Reserve. I’ve been jet skiing and sailing, and one year I was there when the Grand Prix was on – that was super cool.

Monte Carlo is special – everyone should experience it. It’s ritzy, high class and everything is beautifully designed. It’s the pinnacle of wealth – luxury is in the air.”

Igor Kurganov []

Igor Kurganov is a Russian poker pro with over $10 million in poker earnings. He’s amassed more in winnings at the EPT in Monte Carlo, than any other poker player.

“I play well in Monaco - the buy-ins are bigger than other places, which increases my focus! My first win there was the best – I was a new kid on the poker scene and I beat [six-time WSOP winner] Daniel Negreanu, for over a million euros. He didn’t expect to lose to me, but I felt like I could take anyone on! Of course that wasn’t true, but luckily the cards fell in my favour!

Monaco is the EPT people look forward to the most, because it’s the biggest one of the year - it attracts players from the US who never come to Europe. Everyone has a good time because the place is gorgeous and the weather is great - whenever I think of Monaco, I picture it being sunny!

I stay at the Monte Carlo Bay - when you stand outside, the view of the ocean makes you feel like you’re on a yacht! I enjoy the pool, and the walk from the hotel to the tournament area. I eat at Maya Bay, which does great Thai and Japanese food, and I go to Buddha-Bar – it’s loungey, and there’s a huge Buddha inside! I like the Eastern décor.

I order food from a vegan place called Loving Hut, that’s just outside Monaco. I place huge orders and they deliver it directly to the tournament room - everyone crowds round to eat with me! This year a friend is coming by to do some Formula 1 racing so maybe I’ll manage to hop on!”

Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier []

French poker pro ElkY is a WSOP bracelet winner, a World Poker Tour Champion and a Team PokerStars sponsored pro. This will be his tenth year in Monaco for the EPT.

“I love to play in Monaco - the salle des etoiles, is one of the most beautiful tournament rooms. When the curtains are drawn back, the view is spectacular. It’s fitting for the grand final to be held there - it’s one of the most prestigious places to play poker. The France Poker Series starts the festival, which is great because I’m French, so I get to play with all the French people!

I love the Monte Carlo Bay. It’s a beautiful hotel, right by the beach, and next to the tournament area. It’s easier to play a tournament when you don’t have to travel to get to there!

There are so many great places in Monaco – the Palace, the aquarium, the Oceanographic Museum, the Joel Robuchon restaurant. My goal, with my girlfriend, is to go to every Robuchon in the world, but it’s difficult as he keeps opening new ones!

One of my favourite places to go is Eze - it’s a village on top of a cliff. It’s a 15 minute drive from Monaco and the view is gorgeous – if the sky is clear, you can see as far as Corsica. I like to have half a day there, so I can visit the botanical garden.

The win I’m most proud of in Monaco, is reaching the final table of the Super High Roller. I was up against players like Daniel Negreanu, and [European Poker Tour Champion] Patrik Antonius - I finished in 3rd place for 621,000 euros!”


MONACO FOODIE: The World’s Favourite Drink

There’s nothing like a whiff of scandal to ensure popularity in perpetuity. Tea –that innocuous hot drink that reminds me of grandmothers, knitted cosies and scones – has had more than its fair share. Tea has sparked intrigue, attempted bans and even warfare. Tea has been described as dangerous liquid fire and better than sex. Nowadays more tea is drunk worldwide than any other beverage except water.

In my search to find out more about the world’s favourite drink, I have found Sabine Ripoll. This niçoise tea connoisseur knows more about Camellia sinensis infusions than anyone else on the French Riviera. She has sold tea to Alain Ducasse, tea-trained Michelin-starred restaurant teams and served tea to the Chinese government. Today she’s teaching me about tea during an hour-long tea ceremony.

“Tea has vintages like wine. I tasted a tea from 1800 once,” says Ripoll, showing me her stash of decades-old tea. She delivers one bombshell after another about a drink that I thought I knew well. I’m starting to wonder whether the British dust-in-a-bag with added milk and sugar should even be regarded as the same drink.

Indeed our beloved cuppa of black tea is actually Chinese red tea. It seems that something was lost in translation during the 17th-century tea clipper shipments. Chinese tea colours range according to the fermentation process from white through yellow, green, blue (Oolong) and red to black tea (known as pu-erh tea by Westerners). Pu-erh tea is the Château Latour of the tea world and Ripoll’s specialisation. “Once you drink pu-erh tea,” she reasons, “you’ll never drink anything else.”

While most teas are drunk one to two years after harvest, pu-erh tea can be kept for decades. Prestige pu-erh tea is made into paper-wrapped, compressed-tea cakes. This preservation method started as a space-saving device for yearlong horseback voyages from Yunnan, a province in southwestern China, to Tibet. The compressed tea leaves lived and breathed through the paper during the journey as a combination of oxygen and microorganisms continued the post-fermentation. When the Chinese realised that the tea tasted even better post-voyage than before, tea vintages were born.  

Nowadays vintage pu-erh tea fetches high prices at auction. A tong (seven cakes) of FuYuanChang pu-erh tea from the 1900s recently reached £1 million (€1,276,065). At just over £500 (€638) per gram, that would make a pot of tea around £4000 (€5,100).

Ripoll sources pu-erh tea from the Yunnan province where tea was first cultivated as a medicine. Tea trees dating several thousand years old and measuring over 20 metres in height bare little comparison to the small, clipped tea bushes designed for intensive cultivation elsewhere.

“You don’t have tea trees like that in India,” says Ripoll, opening a hand-painted box with a cake inside, accompanied by a photo of the 23-metre, 2,500-year-old tea tree (on a hillside terroir where deeper root systems yield better tea) that produced the leaves for the cake we are about to taste. She gouges out a handful of leaves before rinsing them several times in boiling water. The leaves are so strong that an infusion of mere seconds is enough and the same leaves can be reused for up to three hours.

No tea ceremony is the same. Each item for our tea ceremony has been chosen to suit my partner and me from the century-old teapot to the gurgling toad that soaks up the rinse water. Ripoll favours delicate 40-year-old, broad-rimmed teacups over their commercial impermeable-glazed, thin-brimmed counterparts. She insists, “Everything from the teacups to the teapot influences the taste.”

We pour our first cups in silence and make a wish. The smoothly nuanced hot liquid slips down my throat as I make my wish: to win the lottery so I can buy my own tong of vintage pu-erh tea.  PHOTO: “Everything from the tea cups to the teapot influences the taste”
Sabine Ripoll, +33 6-27-12-00-98.

Le Teashop
Le Continental, Place des Moulins, Monaco,, +377 97-77-47-47.
This family-run establishment is Monaco’s best address for tea. With 130 single-estate tea references from China, Japan, India, Taiwan, you’re spoilt for choice. After relaxing over a pot of tea and cake, you can browse the shop for tea-related paraphernalia, from handcrafted mugs to tea strainers.

Louise Simpson ( is a food, travel and lifestyle writer. Since studying French literature at Cambridge University, Louise has written for The FT, The Times, Condé Nast and The Independent in the UK and for Zagat and Google in the US.

Previous Monaco Foodie:


Lunch with Monaco Life

Francesco Grosoli, Barclays’ newly appointed CEO EMEA for Wealth and Investment Management, shows Louise Simpson the colour of money over lunch

“This is a first for the Principality,” says Francesco Grosoli.

We’re sitting in a light-infused boardroom in Barclays Monaco as Mr Grosoli tells me about his recent promotion. It’s the first time that a Monaco-bred-and-based professional has risen through the ranks of a global company to such a high level.

“Usually it’s the opposite,” he continues. “Top roles are recruited from abroad.”

Barclays is used to breaking the mould. Dating back to 1690, it was arguably the first bank (still trading under the same name) to develop an international, multi-tasking mandate. It was also one of the first foreign institutions to set up in Monaco in the 1920s.

Nowadays Barclays Monaco is a stable banking brand in an unstable market dogged by changes of ownership within the Principality (including the recent sale of Coutts International to Union Bancaire Privée and the expected sale of Credit Suisse) and scandals across the European private-banking sector. Such uncertainty has helped to solidify Barclays’ reputation as a safe choice for the Anglo-Saxon community.

“We sell the Britishness of our organisation. We’re the bridge for our clients between the UK and the rest of the world. We work with those wanting less or more UK exposure in regards to real estate, children’s education and lifestyle. We help international clients with our three main platforms in Monaco, Switzerland and Dubai.

This golden triangle is at the heart of his international strategy as Mr Grosoli seeks to integrate the three businesses of Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) into one streamlined organization.

Since his arrival at Barclays in 2007, Mr Grosoli has quadrupled business, quadrupled revenues and multiplied staff by 250 percent. He has repositioned the Monaco branch as one of the top four wealth managers in the region and as the largest investment house within the Monaco banking sector with over 1.5 billion euros in trading activity in 2015. During his tenure, he has also overseen a 16-month, top-to-bottom building renovation (that involved 220 phases of moving people around) and installed an in-house chef (in collaboration with the Fairmont Hotel) to cook for up to 25 clients per day. Mr Grosoli seems to have the Midas touch.

“My real passion is my job,” the CEO says.

Our conversation is momentarily broken off as an assistant, adorned with a crisp Hermès scarf, comes in to pass a message to my lunch companion. As they speak, I gaze around the boardroom with its Damian Hirst crystal wall panels, across the polished model yacht pivoting our dining table and out the Belle-Époque windows towards the manicured Casino garden terraces. I muse that everything about Barclays Monaco is impeccably groomed, including its CEO.

Mr Grosoli’s ability to smooth things over is apparent as we touch upon the recent Libor-fixing scandal (which saw Barclays pay a £1.5 billion fine). Conduct risk moved to the top of Barclays’ agenda and regulations were introduced to tighten up the grey areas of banking. Mr Grosoli credits Prince Albert II with furthering the trend towards transparency and for his work in helping to evolve the Principality’s reputation.

“The dodginess of the Principality is fading away,” he assures. (On February 22, 2016, the EU and Monaco initialed a new tax transparency agreement.)

Over roasted sea bass, we turn to the subject of technological infrastructure. Mr Grosoli describes how the banking sector is keeping abreast of huge advances in digital technology at a time when it’s already drowning in newly coined regulatory frameworks that slow down the service output. He admits that the limited time schedule to implement regulatory changes has presented a challenge and has highlighted the industry-wide lack of investment in the technological side of wealth management business over the last few decades.

“Our new generation of clients will need a high level of digital technology. Their day-to-day lives involve Amazon and Shazam and will soon involve Blippar. We have to respond to that.


With the current tricky trading period, 2016 presents another challenge for Grosoli. He talks of the importance of servicing clients closely through more challenging investment cycles.

“Some bankers just phone the clients when the performances are good. That’s too easy. You should call the client twice or three times more often in a bad period because the market cannot go up all the time.”

I feel sure that Mr Grosoli will rise to all these challenges; his adaptability stems perhaps from childhood. He was born in Padua in Italy to an opera-singer mother and an industrialist father, who made his millions in the meat–processing business thanks to the help of a lucrative contract with car-company Fiat, as well as multinational contracts from China and Russia to Romania. In 1975, in the wake of multiple kidnappings by the notorious Italian paramilitary organization, the Red Brigade, his family joined other Italians moving to Monaco for security reasons.

“The move was supposed to be for just a few years while waiting for the situation to resolve itself in Italy.”

A few years became four decades. From a shy eight-year-old boy who didn’t speak a word of French for his first three years in the Principality, Mr Grosoli progressed through the Monegasque education system and finished his studies in economics at university in Nice. His banking career started at the bottom on an internship with BSI, at the time a small asset management company.  

“On my first morning, I was asked to go out and buy water from the supermarket and make photocopies.”

Mr Grosoli rose rapidly through the ranks, helping to oversee the company’s transition from an asset management company into a bank from scratch. From BSI, he moved to Republic National Bank (which became HSBC), where he was promoted to head of private banking. After his move to Barclays, Mr Grosoli retrieved the third floor of the Barclays building from BSI. With a twist of serendipity, his current desk is located just under his first private office at BSI.

As we delve into our mango-and-raspberry Carpaccio dessert, Mr Grosoli enlarges on his recipe for success in banking. While intellectual credentials open the door, he believes that the essential ingredients for interns are modesty, passion and hard work.

“When you start, don’t assume you know everything. You have zero experience and experience comes with work, work and work. You need to spend a lot of time at your desk. There’s no other recipe.”

We stretch our legs before coffee with a tour of the bank’s artworks by Monaco-born Benjamin Shine: the most striking is a Barclays Spread Eagle punctuated by global currencies made entirely of lacquered five-cent euro coins on a laser-cut aluminium base. Apart from euros, I wonder what makes Mr Grosoli tick.

“Of course I like cars, watches and other boys’ toys.”

His free time is spent with his two children and his Cuban wife. He enjoys family travel to the Maldives and Miami, but admits that his thirst for leisure travel has waned with the increase in his business travel; Mr Grosoli took 50 flights to and from London last year. He also enjoys playing games on his iPad with his eight-year-old son, although he is conscious of the danger of children shutting themselves into this virtual reality.

“It’s very different from my childhood growing up with Pac-Man.”

Back in the boardroom, chocolates arrive with my macchiato. I notice that they’re Marcolini – my favourite Belgian chocolatier.

“He has an interesting story,” Mr Grosoli points out. “He’s an Italian émigré who started in the business at the bottom and then made it all the way to the top.”

The same could be said for the remarkable Italian émigré sipping a coffee in front of me.

PHOTO: Francesco Grosoli




Monaco Paws enjoyed an afternoon tea with the beautiful English Cocker Spaniel called Tess and her lovely owner Lisa.  

Tess of the Ville

How old is Tess?
She's a year and 5 months.  We got her when she was 3 months old​. ​I think the fact that she spent a little more time with her mother and other dogs was a good thing as she is well socialised (most puppies leave their mothers at 2 months).

What kind of training have you done with her?
I had never trained a dog before, so there was a lot to learn.  It is important to be persistent.  Rewards work well.  It is an ongoing process. ​I still occasionally take​ away her toys or food (and then give​​​ it back) so she doesn't get too possessive. ​

What are her favourite treats?
She loves carrots!​ And of course leftover filet mignon and roast chicken.​

Does she have any bad habits?
Honestly, she is like a dream.  She only barks when the doorbell rings.

You've recently brought Tess to London, how did that go?
We traveled to London via PET​S​2GO2 (​. ​I highly recommend them.  They have a special vehicle and transport dogs all over Europe.  The owner can come along too if ​they wish, as I did.​

How does Tess like being in London?
​It is not as dog-friendly as Monaco or France​, but Tess is happy everywhere​.  I always have to call first to see if I can bring her along​ when I order an Uber taxi​.  I was so happy to find a dog-friendly bank (Metro Bank)​, where dogs get treats and a doggie scarf. They also offer free microchipping​!  ​She is great on the Tube and the bus, and the parks are fantastic.

How do Londoners respond to Tess?
People are in a rush here, so ​other people with dogs don't often have time to say hello, which is very different to France and Monaco.​  But I can often see that she makes people smile, like babies do.

If you can't take her along with you, what do you do with her during the day?
I found a great doggy daycare.  Its 20 pounds a day, but I would never leave her by herself all day long.  It wouldn't be fair.
What is the best thing about Tess?
She is a wonderful companion.  She makes me smile every time I look at her.  She gives so much joy​.  I can't imagine life without her.  

As Tess is your first pet, do you have any advice for people considering getting a dog?
I think everyone should have a dog​, but make sure you are ready for all the responsibilities that come along with being a responsible dog-owner.

Monaco Paws is a collaboration between writer Siri Trang Khalsa and photographer Kaidi-Katariin Knox,  Please contact us at and follow us on Instagram, @stkmonaco and
Order Me Puppy Book here,


Melissa Roen has written a new novel set in Monaco, Maya Rising, a sequel to Last Call for Caviar. The video is an interview with the author on the topic of her first novel.

What is your motivation for writing about the end of civilisation as we know it?
While humanity is poised on the brink of cataclysmic, apocalyptic times in Last Call for Caviar and its sequel, Maya Rising, this is primarily a background setting for a more intimate, human-scaled narrative of one person’s struggle to find meaning and hold onto her humanity and ideals, to protect the people she loves, while fighting to survive in a world gone mad.
I found this doomed-world scenario an interesting setting and a great narrative device: it helps to move the plot along as the protagonist, Maya Jade, navigates the minefield of her disintegrating world. Readers experience this doomed and dying world through Maya’s eyes, but her story is one adventure, curiosity, passion, romance and ultimately, hope…

To read all the interview, please click on this link:



Me Puppy Book

Earlier this year Monaco Paw's own Kaidi-Katariin Knox published the very special, Me Puppy Book.  This book, available as an e-book and in print, is written from the puppy's perspective and gives helpful instruction to her new owners.  We asked Kaidi to tell us more about her book, and her best friend, Coco.  

What inspired you to write Me Puppy Book?

I got Coco about three years ago and did a lot of research on the best training techniques.  Most of what I found was really long and complicated.  Coco is a mini Yorkshire Terrier and is so tiny that you might think that rules and cues don't matter.  But the truth is all puppies grow up and need to learn good manners.  I wanted to figure out how to simplify the training process.

Is Me Puppy Book for adults or children?

I think both adults and children will enjoy it.  However, it is written in a way that children can easily understand and use.

What are the main lessons of the book?

It covers all the basics.  It gives the first tips and tricks to use when a new puppy joins the family.  

What's your proudest moment using the tips from the book?

The Positive Reinforcement technique is the most rewarding way to raise a mentally healthy and happy dog. Dogs are very sensitive beings and respond to our tone of voice and mood.  You will always have better results training your dog with positive reinforcement for good behaviour, than punishment for bad behaviour.  

The book features your dog Coco, did she cooperate with the process?

Dogs love to please their owners.   Different dogs are driven by different rewards, it can be food, a toy or praise.  For Coco, she will do anything for a treat and a cuddle.

Are there any other dogs photographed in the book?

Yes, my friend's dog Pudding appears as well.  She is a reason we got our dog. She is a total love! Opposed to Coco, she is driven to learn cues with her toy as a reward.

Do you have any special advice for Monaco dog owners?

I think the goal is to have our dogs well integrated into our daily lives.  Whether we live in the city or the country, we want to have our best friends along side us.  And we need to be responsible owners which means that our dogs should be well behaved, microchipped, vaccinated, washed and brushed, and get plenty of exercise. Responsible pet owners have happy dogs.  

What has been the best thing about this project for you?

Well, it has really helped me to discover my passion, which is photographing dogs. That is why I loved making the book and why we have such fun with Monaco Paws. I am really lucky to have the chance to do what I love.   

I think Me Puppy Book would be a great gift for children to use when they get their first puppy.  Where is the book available?

The e-book is available online at Blurb book store

Printed copies are available at For Pets Only in Monte-Carlo and the Clinique Vétérinaire du Soleil in Cap D'ail.   We also have Twitter, a Facebook page and Instagram account where you can see lots more pictures of Coco. #cocointhebag

Monaco Paws is a collaboration between writer Siri Trang Khalsa and photographer Kaidi-Katariin Knox,  Please contact us at and follow us on Instagram, @stkmonaco and


Monaco Life changes hands

Monaco Life is pleased to announce that it has been acquired by Sand Spring Media Holdings, a US based investor. The publishing business, which comprises and the daily newsletters Monaco Today and Swiss Business Today, will continue to be published with Ian Brodie as editor.

Eric Brundage, CEO of Sand Spring, is excited about the opportunity presented by Monaco Life. “While Monaco Life is already undoubtedly the premier source of news and information about the Principality of Monaco, we are anxious to expand its content and reach. We have already begun the project to dramatically improve the website and to create a mobile app access and this project is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2016.

Additionally, we are significantly enhancing our content. We will be expanding our current food column into a full blown food, wine and travel column and have already secured interviews with several of Monaco’s most famous personalities which will appear in a monthly “Lunch with..” column which will feature local restaurants and cuisine.

Working with our primary sponsor Barclays, we will be instituting content focused on finance and tax and will be featuring local lawyers, family offices, private bankers and private equity firms in a monthly column with interesting and helpful information for Monagesques, residents, and others with interests in Monaco and the surrounding locales.

Further, we are working with local firms to include regular content on the yacht, jet and auto sectors, as well as the luxury retail industry, all of which are important to Monaco’s economy. Of course, we will continue to provide the most comprehensive coverage of events and happenings in the Principality. In short, it is our goal to be the number one public service news organisation in the Principality.

Editor Ian Brodie is excited for the opportunity to expand upon the excellent base he has created publishing Monaco Life for the last six years and is eager to focus on the expanded editorial side of the business.

Monaco Life is read by 3500 residents daily and the premier access version, Monaco Today Premium Service, which is where the full coverage is accessed, is available for 99 euros annually.

To celebrate the newly expanded venture, management is offering both Monaco Life and its sister publication Swiss Business Today at the discounted subscription price of 149 euros annually. Those interested in accessing the full Monaco Life offering can contact us at and can use paypal to make their subscription payment."



Walk The Dog

Karen September of Happy Dog MC is a certified dog behaviourist who has worked in the Monaco area for more than seven years.  On Sunday, 22 November Karen will be lead a free seminar called "Mastering the Walk".  It will be held from 10:00-12 noon at 1642-1932 Route de la Turbie, in Cap-d'Ail.  To sign up or get more information about the seminar, visit Happy Dog MC on Facebook.

Monaco Paws spent some time with Karen to find out what it takes to be the leader of the pack.  

What got you interested in dog training?
I grew up on a farm in Australia and we always had dogs and horses. We bred Bull Terriers and Blue Heelers.  I've been around dogs all my life.

Have you found that dogs in Monaco have any special issues?
Monaco is so small with a huge concentration of dogs so it's important that dogs learn correct social behaviour. But the problem is that living in small apartments dogs don't always get enough exercise.  This can result in barking, aggression, anxiety and bad lead manners.

What is the most important lesson that owners need to learn?
It is really important for owners to set rules, boundaries and limitations in the home and outside. I find that owners often humanize their dogs to the point that the dog becomes confused. Dogs are pack animals and need a strong pack leader.

What should owners do if they are having problems with their dog's behaviour?
Bad behaviour is a cry for help. The first thing is to look at the daily routine. Exercise is essential, dogs are travelers, they love to move and explore and if they don't get enough exercise (a garden is no substitute for walking out) they become frustrated and bored.

How much exercise does an average dog need?
I recommend at least a 30-45 minute walk, 2 times per day.

Why is walking, especially on the lead, so important?
Correct lead manners where the dog walks respectfully next to, or behind their owner, is the foundation for teaching the dog you are his pack leader and he is a follower. If the dog is in front he will instinctually assume a protective, leader role and this is when the problems start.

How does the human become the pack leader?
It's all about energy.  Dogs rely on their instincts, not conversation. If you project a calm, assertive energy your dog will relax and respond with calm, submissive energy and look to you for direction in all situations.

So, the training is both for the dog and the owner?
Yes, definitely.  Dogs and humans have a deep connection that goes back 20,000 years. However, you can't be a friend to your dog without first establishing a leadership role. I am not saying that giving love and affection is wrong, but it must be given at the right times.
Besides lead training, how else do you help dog owners?
I can help in lots of ways.  I love to help people adopt a dog or choose a new puppy.  I can help socialise a dog to a new baby or a change of circumstances.  I also specialise in working with dogs that are overly aggressive or have anxiety problems.  

Do you think its possible to teach an old dog new tricks?
Age has no bearing whatsoever.  It's never too late for a dog to learn to be calm, balanced and happy.

Monaco Paws is a collaboration between writer Siri Trang Khalsa and photographer Kaidi-Katariin Knox,  Please contact us at and follow us on Instagram, @stkmonaco and


The Monaco pavilion at the Milan Universal Expo has attracted more than one million visitors and won six prizes. A total of 130 countries took part around the theme 'Feeding the Planet.' According to Julien Cellario, deputy director of the pavilion, its mission was to show another side of the Principality than its stereotypes. The mission was successful, he said.


Monaco Paws:


Monaco Paws spent a sunny fall afternoon learning about the Dachshund called Hugo.  Hugo is part of the Bruner family, pictured here with Mum Edwige and girls Charlotte (8 years old) and Lauren (3 years old).    

Where did you get Hugo?
We saw him in the window of a pet shop on Madison Avenue in New York on Christmas Eve. He ended up as my Christmas present, that was 10 years ago.

How did he adjust to living in Monaco?
It's so much better here. He was a terrible city dog. It was very lucky to come here where he has a garden and can run freely. And here he can go everywhere with us. He goes in the pool, and on the boat too. When we go to restaurants Hugo is usually the most well behaved member of our party.

Who takes care of Hugo?
Charlotte: I take care of him when I'm not at school. I play with him and give him treats.  

What does Hugo eat?
Charlotte:  We feed him all day long.  
Edwige:  Well, that's true (laughing). He also loves to eat the lemons that fall from the trees in the garden. He is the only dog I know who loves citrus.

Have you trained Hugo?
Charlotte:  I tried to teach him some things. I taught him to sit.
Edwige:  He needs training or he gets bored.  We trained him to chase a ball and now he is obsessed with it.  

Do you speak to Hugo in French or English?
He is an American dog, so we speak in English. Except "Ça suffit". That became his surname for a while.

Is Hugo a good friend?
Charlotte:  I love it when he chases his tail.
Edwige:  Lauren really tortures him and he never reacts. We never get bored with him and he loves us no matter what.

Does Hugo like to cuddle?
He is a perfect lap dog.  He likes to be the "Choux-choux".
Charlotte:  He comes into my bed in winter. Sometimes he gets stuck in my hair.

Does Hugo have any nicknames?
We call him "Chauffe-pieds" or the "Foot Warmer".  

Is Hugo a good watch-dog?
He is very protective and brave for a little dog. Actually, a few weeks ago we heard him barking in the middle of the night and found there was an intruder trying to break in. Hugo saved us!

Monaco Paws is a collaboration between writer Siri Trang Khalsa and photographer Kaidi-Katariin Knox,  Please contact us at and follow us on Instagram, @stkmonaco and




Monaco Ladies rally for girls' school in India

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Monaco Paws:


Iryna Pugachova is a classically trained ballerina who now teaches Monaco's favourite Barre workout at Ms Fit,  Her pure white Pomeranian, Hugh Hefner, is a suitably elegant companion.  This week Monaco Paws spent some time learning more about this charming couple.

How long have you had Hugh Hefner?
I got him from a little farm when he was 2 months old.  He was just a little fluff ball. He is almost 4 years old now.

Did you have dogs before you got him?
I used to be a cat lady, but dogs are better.  I wanted a dog for a long time, but waited until I was more settled down.  

What do you like about Pomeranians?
I did my research.  They are good, smart dogs.  They are very classy, just look at the way he walks.  And they are the cutest dogs ever.  I think he looks a little like a tiny polar bear.

Heffy seems to be a very well -mannered dog, is he always so good?
He has amazing manners.  I take him everywhere.  He is perfect with children. He is really obedient and easy to train.  

As a dance teacher, have you taught Heffy any tricks?
He can do lots of tricks.  He loves to perform.  He's got lots of energy and a little treat can make him perform miracles.  He knows how to pirouette. (A treat is found and Heffy duly performs a perfect turn.)

What does he like to eat?
He likes everything, especially chicken and tuna.

What is the best thing about Heffy?
He just takes away any tension.  He is always happy, and has so much personality.  Sometimes my friends even ask to borrow him.  

Does Heffy have some special outfits?
Of course he has a tuxedo.  He will always wear a bow tie to formal events.

Does he share any traits with his namesake?
He likes ladies.  He will always find his way to beautiful young ladies.  I don't know how, but he always finds the prettiest girls.

So he is a bit of a playboy?
Of course, just look at his Hollywood smile.

Monaco Paws is a collaboration between writer Siri Trang Khalsa and photographer Kaidi-Katariin Knox,  Please contact us at


Monaco Paws:

Over three years ago Ylja Bartlett Venema and her husband decided that they wanted a dog.  However, it wasn't until about six months ago they finally got Flapperlingen (Flappy), a Cavapoo.  Cavapoos are a fairly new breed; a cross of a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and a Poodle.  Monaco Paws wanted to find out if their patience has paid off.
How did Flapperlingen get his name?
About three years ago we were sitting by the sea one day and watching a flag flapping in the wind.  We thought Flapperlingen would be a great name for a dog.
Why did you wait three years?
We looked around a lot, but my husband kept getting cold feet about it.  I finally bought the puppy for him as a surprise gift.
Where did you get Flappy?
I bought him from a breeder in Holland when he was 8 weeks old.
What is special about this breed?
My husband has allergies, so we needed a breed that does not shed.  And we like the low-key personality of Cavaliers.  Together it makes the perfect dog for us.  Also because he is easy to have in an apartment.
Has it been difficult to train him?

He is so sweet, he didn't really need much training.  He is very obedient and I like to let him off the lead as much as possible.
You speak three languages, what do you use with Flappy?
The commands are always in English, but sometime I speak Dutch & Frysian to him too.
Has having a puppy impacted your lifestyle?
I take him to work and it is great to have his company.  He is only seven kilos, so I can easily take him everywhere.  It's been really easy.  He adapts very quickly wherever we go, although he hates being in the car.
Are you enjoying finally being a dog-owner?
He is so cuddly and gives so much love.  He's just so sweet.
So was Flappy worth the wait?
It’s the best thing that ever happened to us

Monaco Paws is a collaboration between writer Siri Trang Khalsa and photographer Kaidi-Katariin Aksiim,  Please contact us at


Monaco Paws:


This week Monaco Paws was especially delighted to meet the very special K9s and their companions who are part of Monaco's own 'Chien de Coeur'.  Pictured above is Ruth Archer and her Carin Terrier Bramble, Patricia Turkmen and Honey her French Bulldog and Sabine and Patrick Thienpont and their White Shepard called Tonka.

What does 'Chien de Coeur' do?
We are a group of people with friendly, well-educated and sociable dogs which we take for therapy visits to Princesse Grace Hospital and the different retirement homes around Monaco.

Are the dogs specially trained?
We make sure that the dogs are in good health, calm, well-mannered and will never bite, but there is no other special training.  They just need to be good and happy dogs.

When did it start?
We began in 2013 and have been going strong since then.  In 2014 we became an official partner of the Princesse Grace Hospital.

How do the visits help the sick and elderly?
For some people we are the only visitors they get each week.  Sometimes being with the dogs is helpful for the patients in their recovery too.  The dogs bring back fond memories and happiness which make them feel better.

What do the dogs do during the visits?
Mostly they just sit with the people and they hold and pet the dogs.  Little ones can sit on their laps.

Do the elderly people and hospital patients appreciate the visits?
We give them an hour of sunshine.  The dogs act as a bridge and help engage the patients.  Many people are separated from their own dogs when they are in the hospital or retirement home. This way they can connect with the love they give and receive from their own pets.

Do the dogs enjoy the visits?
They love it, they know they are doing a special service.

What is the inspiration behind 'Chien de Coeur'?
On the streets you just see happy people, but behind the walls their are many people who are very alone.  This work does not just help the patients, but it brings us and our dogs a lot of happiness and good feelings.  

Where can people find out more about your work?
People can see our website www.chiendecoeurmonaco to find out more and contact us if they would like to get involved.

Monaco Paws is a collaboration between writer Siri Trang Khalsa and photographer Kaidi-Katariin Aksiim,  Please contact us at



Spitz Blitz
There is no accessory more chic than the perfect puffy pooch. This week Monaco Paws took a stroll in the park with Julia Krulova and her lavender coloured German Spitz Klien, called April.
How old is April?
One year and three months. We got her from a London breeder when she was four months old. Over the last three years, all the puppies from that breeder have been adopted by my friends and family.
What do you like about this breed?
They are extremely smart, so devoted. She follows all my steps everywhere I go.
Does she need a lot of exercise?

Yes, minimum 2-3 hours a day or she will get aggressive. She is like a little warrior.
What are her favourite treats?
April loves pigs ears.  When she smells them she goes insane. But I have to be careful because she loves to eat. She will eat non-stop if I don’t monitor her.
Do you travel with April?
My husband and I have only been able to travel by car since we’ve had her. We have to take her everywhere we go.
How does she do in the summer heat?
We must walk very early in the morning or she gets too hot. She is a Nordic breed.
Where does April sleep?
She sleeps next to me but at 7am she jumps over to my husband. But he still thinks she loves me more than him.
Does your husband help take care of her?
Yes, he takes her out and feeds her, but he grew up only having cats, so this is new to him.
What is the best thing about having a dog?

I don’t think you can ever have so much love on the planet. You can have a husband, parents, but this is different; totally unconditional. She is fully our baby. 
Do you think you will get another dog?
I would love to have another dog. I saw a Spitz Nano (a miniature Spitz) and went crazy for it. My husband wants a brown Lab.

Monaco Paws is a collaboration between writer Siri Trang Khalsa and photographer Kaidi-Katariin Aksiim,  Please contact us at



Friday, 1 April 2016 0:10


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‘Parking in Fontvieille required immediately for at least 2 months’.

NEW: GRAND PRIX FORMULA 1: Exceptional flat on Place des Moulins, Central Monaco, entire top floor with panoramic sea view, 2 lovely bedroom suites with King beds +1 single bed, sleeps 5, lavish living room suite with elegant dining room, spacious terrace, super equipped kitchen with all amenities. Available due to cancellation. Flexible term. Call owner for details: +33(0)617373071


Monaco Pied a terre ideally situated next to beach and a few minutes to the Monte-Carlo Casino is available for short term rent 1 to 6  weeks. Sleeps 2, kitchenette, fridge, stove, microwave, internet, television. Rent is 90 euros per night. One week of 7 nights is 550 euros. 200 euros security deposit. Contact:


* TRANSLATION: Translation work by qualified professional ( French-English) tel: Also English lessons by qualified ( Honours degree in French, Post Graduate Certificate in teaching of Modern Languages, T.E.F.L,) and experienced teacher of British Nationality. Courses available on weekly basis. Also Immersive courses. All levels/abilities catered for. Website:, email, Tel : +33689736102.

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Friday, 9 October 2015 7:00

Letters to the Editor


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Sunday, 22 March 2015 8:00



Back to Basics

The great and recently late poet Philip Levine bemoaned that poetry had become “institutionalized and neutralized” and that poets “should have turned and lived with animals”. I bemoan food in the same way. We have institutionalized our food sources and neutralized their health benefits with toxins and chemicals. And we no longer live with animals.

My farmhouse in Southern France has an original mangeoir in the kitchen where the animals grazed in centuries gone by. Friends coo over how quaint this manger is. Yet it also reminds me of a simple lifestyle that has been lost forever. What used to be a vital element of the household economy is now merely a receptacle for my gleaming inox pots and pans. Modern-day sophistication has rendered us into Marie Antoinette playing the pretty spectacle of ersatz farmhouse simplicity. And our meat comes plastic-wrapped.

Our elongated and chemically-infused food supply chain is one of our biggest 21st-century food challenges. Take salad for example. Phytonutrient-rich lettuce leaves, fresh from your organic vegetable garden have little in common with their plastic-bagged, supermarket counterparts. ‘Ready-to-eat’ bagged lettuce tends to have been covered in pesticides, then washed in chlorinated water (that’s more concentrated than your local municipal pool in order to ward off the serious risk of bacterial infections such as cryptosporidium, listeria and salmonella) and bagged, before travelling hundreds of miles to a supermarket and finally weeks later to your plate.

I miss simplicity, like I miss Levine. Luckily Monaco-based nutrition gurus Susan Tomassini and Naomi Buff have come to the rescue in promoting healthy dining across the principality. This month sees them helping various Monegasque restaurants to revolutionize their culinary approaches from food sourcing to nutrient-rich dishes.

Having flown all the way to New York to study at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, Naomi Buff (a.k.a. Monaco’s queen of smoothies) is now working with chefs at the Monaco Restaurant Group (whose restaurants include Bouchon, Beef Bar, Mozza, Avenue 31 and La Saliére among others, on how to maximize nutritional benefits in the food they serve. Grains such as quinoa are soaked overnight in kombu seaweed so that they sprout before cooking. You can be one of the first to taste Naomi’s gluten-free and refined-sugar-free dishes at selected MRG restaurants or you can catch one of her new workshops for yummy mummies at the Munchkins Club (

Hot off the press also comes the news that knowledgeable nutritionist Susan Tomassini and her Clever Kitchen partner Melanie Gulliver have teamed up with Stars ‘N’ Bars ( With Clever Kitchen-designed healthy dishes planned for Stars ‘N’ Bars’ new menu launch in April, this is the latest step in the iconic restaurant’s dramatic turnaround in bringing its menu up-to-date with healthy food trends following my December 2014 food column. With a BSc in nutrition from London’s BCNH, Susan also offers one-on-one personal consultations and online nutritional solutions (

PHOTO: Naomi’s Bouchon Bowl   Ingrid Parys, Monaco Restaurant Group

To read earlier Monaco Foodie columns:

Louise Simpson is a food and travel writer based in Monaco. Since studying French literature at Cambridge University, Louise has written for The FT, The Times, Condé Nast and The Independent in the UK and for Zagat and Google in the US. She also publishes travel books with Frommer’s:


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Monte-Carlo Diary

Sunday, March 1

A tale of half a pizza

It’s been a very busy week, and most of the time I’ve had a banana for lunch. But I do remember leaving half a pizza in the fridge. News of the killing of Boris Nemtsov put me off my food altogether, not because of its shock value but because it confirms everything I know and suspect about Vladimir Putin, and for those readers who might be tempted to pick up their quills and ask “what has this got to do with Monaco?" let me say that if matters get very much worse Europe could soon be little more than radioactive dust, including what's left of dear old Monte-Carlo and even Fontvieille.

Now the Brits are taking notice. After the annexation of Crimea and the stealthy invasion of eastern Ukraine they started by refusing to go to the Bolshoi Ballet, believing that this outright show of disapproval might force a change of mind in the Kremlin.

The Hansel and Gretel of European diplomacy have also been horribly naive, as if peace talks in Minsk or anywhere else would make any real difference. The Germans can be excused, perhaps, for being a little bit shy about saying anything at all about the affairs of another country following the unpleasantness of 1939-1945, while Hollande follows big sister.

But I had hoped for more from the Brits. A couple of weeks ago someone in Whitehall said that the UK had been caught napping by the Kremlin because of a lack of qualified foreign policy analysts while another idiot said this was because of a lack of money. Such a claim beggars belief and drives me to the use of an exclamation mark!

Anyone who has spent more than two weeks east of the Elbe knows more about Russian history than Dave old-Etonian Cameron, and if the British government needs a think-tank to tell it what’s going on this is a very sad and a very serious condemnation of the knowledge, wits and understanding of the men and women who supposedly lead what was once a great nation.

My half-pizza has disappeared. Either I ate it or it left the fridge of its own accord.

Jeff Daniels

The Jeff Daniels column is published in the interests of editorial diversity, and views expressed do not necessarily represent those of the publishers.

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Monte-Carlo Diary

Pushed to the Max

SATURDAY, JUNE 21: There will always be tensions when a large crowd of people are crammed into small spaces, especially when they take an instant dislike to each other or harbour long-term differences. I am not talking about the long-running opening ceremony of the splendid new Monaco Yacht Club attended by le tout Monaco - a splendid affair - but the lingering impact of the lengthy and tedious French rail strike.

Tasked with taking my youngest son to Nice for a Saturday rendez-vous with a schoolmate, I squeezed with him onto the 16:43 from Monaco - delayed for 18 minutes in Menton while the frazzled French border police sifted out the usual suspects, young Somalian males who, having crossed the inhospitable Sahara, are trying in considerable numbers to make their way to the economic paradise that is France. Or possibly the UK.

Most people were eminently sensible and moved down the train to occupy every available space to allow yet more frazzled and luggage-laden bemused first-and-last-time tourists onto the only TER regional express to visit Monaco for the previous three hours.
Someone sitting down said something to me. I assumed he was offering me a space to sit. I bent down to hear better. Translated from the French, what he said was: “Can you get your arse out of my face!”

To say I was astonished hardly covers it. A number of responses flashed through my hot head: “I am surprised you are bothered about my arse, since it resembles so closely your face,” was the most polite. I wanted physically to strangle him, and since I was standing up and he was sitting down I sure as hell had a good shot at it.

My nine year-old restrained me. “He’s an idiot Dad, don’t take any notice,” he said in a French that can only be described as impeccable. At the next available jolt in the tracks he managed to more or less fall onto the idiot’s mobile phone he was holding high in the air while playing what looked like patience, and make it look like an accident.

You can mess with me, but you can’t mess with Max.

Jeff Daniels

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