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Sunday, 22 December 2013 20:23 | Author: Ian Brodie

Ceremony ahead of Milan Expo

MONACO NEWS, MONACO BUSINESS: The Principality has been ceremoniously presented with the land on which its Pavilion for Expo Milano 2015 will be erected. The theme of the Expo is "Feeding the Planet – Energy for Life..."


Mr Giuseppe Sala, CEO of Milano 2015, symbolically presented a box containing some earth from the Expo site, decorated with the Monegasque flag, to HE Mr Robert Fillon, Ambassador of Monaco to Italy and Commissioner General for the Principality of Expo Milano 2015.

At the same ceremony, thirty other official participants in the Expo also took possession of the sites allocated to them.
The design phase of Monaco's Pavilion project is now almost complete. Construction work will start in 2014. Expo Milano 2015 will take place from May 1 to October 31, 2015. SOURCE: Government of Monaco

PHOTO: HE Robert Fillon and Julien Cellario, CEO of Monaco Inter Expo and Deputy Genral Commissioner.

Article tags: monaco news monaco business

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Being Unrepentant

Christmas is all about excess: too much food, too much wine, too much time with family members that we avoid for the rest of the year and all in all too much spent. You’d think that I’d welcome the New Year in with a month-long repentant and purgative fast. Instead I’m going in search of a good burger.
There have been recent rumblings in the principality of a restaurant where the food is unbeatable, the service friendly and the bill not extortionately high: a burger joint no less. I rush along to the port to find out more. The venue is all bare-stone walls and sleek black furnishings. It feels hip without trying too hard. The queue at the self-service counter is reassuring, the name a little less so.

Son of a Bun (30, route de la Piscine, tel: 97-98-70-70, joins an illustrious line of burger restaurants whose names are dipped in heavy puns and double-entendres such as Buns and Balls, Burgatory and my personal favourite Au Cheval. It’s part of a mini-chain whose sister outlets are both food trucks (in Cagnes-sur-Mer and Carros). This bodes well as the best burger I’ve ever tasted came from a food truck at the end of a long student night out many moons ago.

The menu is short and to the point. After all, there’s no point in being over-flowery when it comes to burgers. There are eight choices of Badass Burgers including a chicken option, plus an obligatory salad of the day for those who probably shouldn’t have come to a burger joint in the first place. If the limp coleslaw were anything to go by, I’d give the salad a miss.

When we finally sit down with our burgers, I’m not disappointed. Son of a Bun gets the important things right: they’ve sourced good-quality beef and added a pillowy brioche bap. Everything else is window dressing. It doesn’t even matter that the tasty, but mysterious orange sauce bears an uncanny resemblance to Heinz’ American sauce (I spy a telltale Heinz bottle in the kitchen).  

I have come with my girlfriend who used to manage the private finances of one of Monaco’s billionaires. Now that she’s a full-time mum, she simply muses about quantum mechanics in her spare time. As usual for Monaco ladies who lunch, we turn to the dilemma of Schrödinger’s cat with real-life equations*.

So I ponder: “Can I consider Monaco’s freedom of the press to be both dead and alive at the same time until I have tested the limitations of acceptability in print? Can I say this is the best burger in Monaco or not until I have eaten burgers at every other potential venue in town at which point I may turn into a Super Size Me?”

At this point, my friend turns to me and tells me that such superpositions are no longer relevant as the whole probabilistic basis of quantum mechanics has recently been turned upon its head. A deterministic approach is now preferred where the future evolves dynamically from the past. As I thoughtfully munch upon a burger that would make George Motz smile, I wonder what the future will hold for Monaco diners given the past?

*Schrödinger’s Cat is a cat imagined as being enclosed in a box with a radioactive source and a poison that will be released when the source unpredictably emits radiation, the cat being considered to be simultaneously both dead and alive until the box is opened and the cat observed.

To read earlier Monaco Foodie columns, including the infamous Kitchen Nightmares:

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:


From the Editor: As editor and publisher of this on-line newspaper I have been on the receiving end of a number of letters about the opinion piece by Jeff Daniels entitled ‘When the pencil is more lethal than the sword.’ One private correspondent noted that “it does not add any(thing) positive to (the) Monaco Life image and to the work you do to inform the English speaking community.” In my reply I said: “Good publications give a great amount of leeway to columnists but operate self-censorship, as I do as publisher and editor."

The Jeff Daniels column has attracted many intelligent responses from readers, none of them agreeing wholeheartedly with all that Mr Daniels has said, and most of which I am in the course of publishing as they arrive. This expands the scope of journalism in Monaco Life, and rather than discrediting my publication, gives it an extra dimension.” In response to this and other letters I have asked Mr Daniels to make it clear that he is opposed to terror attacks, as I am.

His latest opinion piece appears below, and my I caution that Mr Daniel's humour is arid, not dry. Some readers may find that it is difficult to tell his seriously-held views from his jokes. I understand he has Australian friends. Undoubtedly, his tounge-in-cheek style may be baffling to some. It is very English humour.  Ian Brodie


Spelling it out

AN OPINION PIECE: One of my great regrets when I lie on my deathbed will be the fact that for some time to come many people will speak English with an Australian accent, often through clenched teeth. There will be nothing I can do about it, nor anything less pressing, now I come to think about it.  In the meantime, accelerating global warming will make life down under warmer, ever more perilous, and many camper vans, pets and crocodiles will go up flames. More Australians may die…

However, please, dear reader, let me make myself clear. I am not in favour of bush fires. I draw this cunning parallel - try saying that in Aussie - because there has been a torrent of letters to this newspaper claiming that I am one glass of red wine away from being a full-bodied terrorist. There has not been such a heavy mail bag since last month’s Monaco Foodie column that said that some Monaco eateries were hardly up to scratch. Back to massacres: One irate correspondent claimed, in our Letters to the Editor, that I am not a journalist but an apologist for terror. Steady on Madame!  

That I am indeed a journalist can be deduced from the fact that my by-line appears on these very pages. That’s sorted. Next problem, maybe a little more tricky: Do I really have to spell out the fact that I did not wish for the deaths at the Charlie Hebdo office? Do I? I was as appalled by the atrocity as anybody else, but unlike those of us who jump to a simple conclusion I tried to look just a little bit deeper. My column was not an academic exercise designed to demonstrate and test the freedom of the press, such as it is, but a natural curiosity about the world around us.

Incidentally, and I promise to come back to the Australian problem before I finish, it’s clear to me through the mist of a very fine St. Emilion that Charlie is the holy cow of French publishing. But in fact, a very lonely cow. To use another image from the Indian sub-continent, Charlie has been and is untouchable. I call on no greater authority than His Holiness the Pope, who said on Thursday that there needs to be a limit to free speech. If anyone cares to read my last column, that was the point I was feebly trying to make.

As for the facts in my last article about the killing of journalists, they are all on record. On another serious note, listen to a speech by the Prime Minister of Australia, Tony Abbott. This one is a New Year greetings effort.

Readers may also not like, from the UK’s Daily Telegraph:

Jeff Daniels, Thursday, January 15, 2015


When the pencil is more lethal than the sword

AN OPINION PIECE: I am a journalist and I am NOT Charlie just as I am not a policeman. There are many reasons. I am not in favour of the publication of obscene cartoons, in which Charlie specialised, especially when they target religious leaders, nor do I believe that in the wake of the terrible events of last week the flag of press freedom should be hoisted in favour of a racist publication.

A club of self-satisfied scribblers, boys who never grew up, the cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo had it in for Muslims, there can be no doubt about that, whatever its apologists might say about no-one being safe from the poisoned pencils of its celebrated team. The imbalance is clear.

In effect, and despite its leftist reputation, Charlie Hebdo consistently attacked the very notion of a multi-cultural society. The irony here, of course, is that the National Front will almost certainly gain in coming months and will undoubtedly reap a tremendous harvest of votes ahead of the next presidential election in France. And why not? If the French wish to curtail further immigration and insist on greater integration of existing minorities they should not be lambasted for that. That will be the free expression of the people and they should not be labelled racist, although the left-wing press will not pause for a moment. But the irony is deep.

On Thursday I attended the ceremony in Beausoleil in memory of the victims of the Wednesday attack that left 12 people dead. The minute's silence was observed in front of council employees, a representative of the national police who had motored over from Menton, and 25 other people representing Beausoleil's miniscule French population. Make of that what you will.

The next day, in a torrent of stomach-turning images I was particularly sickened to see Obama shuffle along to the French embassy in Washington to sign the condolence book in support of press freedom. The American government has repeatedly targeted, attacked and killed foreign journalists, including reporters and TV crew from Reuters and Al Jazeera. It’s all on record. Press freedom is fine, as long as journalists toe the US line.

Among the other leading hypocrites are the Saudi Arabians and the Chinese. No press freedom there. Neither in Turkey nor Russia, all made welcome at the demo in Paris on Sunday.

Journalism, the best of it, exists within a nexus of responsibility and self-control. And if freedom of the press is the holy grail, ring-fenced from the real world, why is that websites supporting jihad are closed down and their publishers punished? Because freedom of the press is at best a fantasy, and at worst a very relative concept indeed.

Jeff Daniels, Sunday, January 11, 2015 

Please see Letters to the Editor, below. Also, Monte-Carlo Diary, centre colum


VIDEO: 'I am Charlie' says Monaco...

Please see related report in main news column


Monaco Life Events...

Thursday, March 12 and Friday, March 13, at the Salon Bellevue of the Cafe de Paris in Monte-Carlo, a two-day conference of professionals serving the HNW and UHNW sectors. Distinguished speakers from around the world will address the major issues of the moment. Organised by the publishers of in association with Boyarkin & Partners. More info:

Monday, 29 December 2014 7:00

Letters to the Editor

Israel and the Jews

Dear Editor,
I have not read such claptrap in a long while as that written recently in your publication by Professor Ben-Meir.  Mr Netanyahu was simply stating that Jews would be welcomed in Israel “with open arms” in response to the well understood concerns of many Jews regarding their safety in France.  He did not “call for Jews to immigrate to Israel” as he claims.
Furthermore, the professor is in denial if he thinks “Mr Netanyahu was rudely [italics added] suggesting that they [the Jews] are no longer safe in France”.  If he does not know any French Jews, the French emigration statistics should tell him the story.
I would also strongly dispute his assertion that: “Netanyahu must accept the fact that the occupation is one of the main causes (but not the source) behind the recent rise of anti-Semitism.”  Why so?  Why is Netanyahu responsible for the bigotry in France?  And why should European Jews accept the consequences for the foreign policy decisions of foreign state.  We would never say that Hindus should accept the consequences of the Indian foreign policy, Buddhas of Tibetian policy, Muslims of Indonesian policy or Shintus of Japanese foreign policy.  Many Jews have very little to do with Israel; they were born and raised in Europe, are European nationals and consider Europe to be their home.
Furthermore, and I hesitate to wade into this area of his commentary, “the occupation”, as he terms it, should be viewed in the context of an uneasy truce between the Palestinians and Israelis.  He seems to forget that these territories are occupied as a consequence of the 1967 and 1973 wars.  Unlike the Jordanians and Egyptians, who have accepted Israel’s right to exist and have settled their territorial disputes, the Syrians and Palestinians have not.  Thus, like North and South Korea (nobody calls this “an occupation”), they remain at war albeit under a truce.  Settle the war, then the territory.
Blaming anti-Semitism in Europe on the situation is the Middle East is simply a cop-out.
Clyde Johnston


Offensive media

Dear Ed,

I think Kristi Prenn missed the point of Jeff Daniels' challenging opinion piece on the Paris disaster. No one, yourself included, could condone these barbaric murders nor feel that they were in anyway justified. I did not feel this was the point of the message.

As is too often the case the world was immediately influenced by an offended media who sycophantically turned this appalling tragedy into something they could portray as an attack on free speech.Thereby defending their right to continue to be offensive to whosoever they please.

Nick Harley


Jeff is not a journalist

Sir: ‘Jeff Daniels’ is not a journalist.  ‘Jeff Daniels’ is an apologist for evil.

There is no justification for the murder of innocent people, yet ‘Jeff Daniels’ seeks to justify the appalling murders of fellow human beings, to insinuate that the satirists deserved to be murdered because their work was offensive to Muslims (and himself) and that Charlie Hebdo was anti-Muslim. ‘Jeff Daniels’ mocks the gatherings across France and the world who united in Je suis Charlie marches to mourn for and to declare their abhorrence of the murders of innocent people, killed for being journalists or in the case of the Vincennes deli, for being Jews.

This article is crass and repulsive nonsense.  It is wickedness justifying itself with pretentious pomposity and seeming piousness.


Kristi Prenn


'Breath of fresh air'

Dear Sir,

Thank you for publishing Louise Simpson's review of Monaco restaurants. It was about time that someone drew attention to the lousy service and inadequate food in our little village. Free and independent press is a breath of fresh air for us Monaco residents, whose usual source of local information is what passes for journalism in Monaco Matin.  I see the very outrage over Ms Simpson's column to be a direct result of our lack of exposure to honest criticism in Monegasque media.

There are some harsh words in Ms Simpson's article but they are based on facts that we all recognise and are no worse than what Monaco residents discuss in private. They will hopefully inspire these establishments to make some changes. I look forward to reading about her day in the kitchen of Stars'N'Bars, and sincerely hope that its management will take the opportunity to listen to her suggestions. I, for one, would welcome variety in starters and salads, which have remained virtually unchanged at least in the past 15 years that I have been living in Monaco.

Yours sincerely,

Zeynep Castel-branco



Dear Editor,

It is so refreshing to read local Louise Simpson's honest review of restaurants in Monaco. TripAdvisor is a place I often turn to to get a general idea of restaurants, but this is the first time I have ever read an honest review by a local, which provides a completely different perspective for those of us living in the Principality.

It seems to have inspired a great deal of discussion, which is precisely the point of a quality review: to inspire people, or perhaps discourage them yes, but first and foremost to provide a personal perspective, to which everyone is entitled. Thank you so much for sharing. Bravo.

Lisa af Rosenborg


Follow-up awaited

Dear Editor,
I was impressed to see Stars n’ Bars’ response to the “Kitchen Nightmares” column - an invitation to spend the day in the kitchen and see how food is prepared – great reply!  I look forward to the follow-up article on Stars n’ Bars…

Tracy Rohan, Monaco


ACM is a private club

Dear Sir,
I would like to add a comment -so far not addressed- about Monaco’s Automobile Club of which I have been a member for many years. If we are going to “name and shame” maybe we should ask ourselves by what right we are doing so. The clue is in the name: the Automobile Club.

Apart from the excellent food (try getting kidneys like that elsewhere in Monaco, and yes they have cream with them if you ask nicely) and what must be the most sublimely best group of waiters on the Riviera (many of whom have been there for years), a piano bar with music you might want to listen to (and I am a Rock fan so they must be doing something right), there is its best feature: their wine list.

Small but perfectly formed, you can buy a great Burgundy, or a Bordeaux if you must, without having to sell your Ferrari to afford it, indeed for less than a poor wine from the Languedoc sold in some other places in Monaco. It is the rip off in wine prices in some restaurants which beats me; I won’t pay them. But you can afford to have a great bottle of wine at the Automobile Club. People who have lived in Monaco for a long time know these things. The Automobile Club is, all round, the best thing we have got in terms of a dinner out.

I suppose if you are not a member and you are lucky enough to get invited to eat at the Club by a member you will not know this.

But to visit what is a Private Club you have to be a member or accompanied by a member to go there. The members of the Automobile Club would prefer to mix with people who appreciate the Club. Who invites a restaurant critic to a Private Club, and for what reason does a restaurant critic consider she should comment on anything in this private space? This is not a restaurant open to the public. Did the management of the Club invite her to make comments? I think we should be told why a member of the public is opining on our Private Club’s restaurant.

It is solely a matter for the members to judge what they think of their Club restaurant  which, incidentally, is about a lot more than the food on your plate. If a member has any comment to make about his Club he will take it up with the Committee, not a news service. For these reasons might I suggest we ignore what the Club’s critic says, about anything, and give the Club back to its members’ views for it is nobody else’s place to opine.   
Yours faithfully, William Easun


Overpriced and unwelcoming

Dear Ian,
I cannot agree more with Louise Simpson, perhaps not with all her criticism of each restaurant but the way she described the overpriced restaurants like Saliere, Avenue 31, makes sense. I can even add the Beefbar where they practise the same attitude.

It is a disgrace the way you are treated in Saliere, you do not even get a proper bill, in the evening they treat you as a tourist, so neglected and not taken seriously. During dinner in the Beefbar they wait as long as possible with the advertised menu in order to force you to the ridiculously priced standard menu.

It is good there are other restaurants like Le Bouchon and Mozza, where they understand the word "guest", joined with reasonably priced menus and daily-changing specialities, this at least avoids us driving to Italy on a weekly basis to enjoy good food and normal prices.
Best regards,
Jan Dingenouts


Dear Sir,
Further to Annette Anderson’s (of Stars N’ Bars) letter to you published (below) in Monaco Life, may I also express my disagreement with Louise Simpson’s comments on certain restaurants.
Stars N’ Bars serves Tex-Mex food and does it well, Tex-Mex is never going to be a gastronomic delight but the produce is fresh and the service is generally far better than most ‘high class” establishments. There is no guilt to be attached to serving good hamburgers made with real beef, fast food enterprises have hi-jacked the hamburger and given it a bad name. The ones served at Stars N’ Bars are the best I have tasted anywhere over the last 30 years or so.
I consider the Monte Carlo Country Club restaurant to be one of the best in Monaco for quality/value for money with a limited but well balanced menu, again with fresh produce very well cooked and presented. Every meal I have had there has been a delight.
The Automobile Club is also a top rate and reasonably priced restaurant.
I agree with Ms Simpson that restaurants in Monaco are generally overpriced and at best mediocre with the service often very poor but I also agree with Ms Anderson that this looks like “clever text for the sake of being published”.
Rents are very high in Monaco which explains the prices but there is no excuse for failings in produce, cuisine and service.
Perhaps Ms Simpson should turn her attention to the so called ‘top” restaurants which are really a disgrace and reflect badly on the Principality.
Yours sincerely,
David Solomon


Unfair review

We do not know when Louise Simpson last ate at the Automobile Club but her account certainly bears no resemblance to our own experiences. As members of many years’ standing, we lunch and dine there frequently and find the daily-changing menus and ingredients to be of the highest quality whilst, at the same time, tasty and healthy. There is even a “menu allegé” every day, to which cream and other less than healthy “70s” products are most definitely strangers! The salade d’haricots verts and chicken breast, followed by grilled salmon with leeks last Friday were outstanding examples of Chef Olivier Ribaute’s extremely attractive  and consistent cuisine which never fails to please and impress – please take a new look, Louise!
Vivienne H Taylor and Richard Hale, Monaco


Criticism 'not valid'

Dear Editor

We were disappointed to read your "Monaco Foodie" remarks about our restaurant and the "tasteless freezer to microwave tat". We try to be open to valid criticism ....we certainly are not perfect....and we act on it.  In fact we give customers a card with a direct link to Trip Advisor to "grade" their meal and give us feedback.  But, we have to admit, it's soul- killing to see food "critics" who enjoy writing clever text for the sake of being "published".

Our cooks arrive at 7 a.m each  day and prepare freshly delivered vegetables, meats and ingredients to create about 500 meals during a non stop food service of 12 hours. (Yes, we are guilty of serving burgers but the meat is 100% organic. ). Has your Monaco Foodie actually ever been in a kitchen?  Probably not, but we would like to invite her to spend a day with the cooks that she has so thoughtlessly belittled. Heck, we'll even share our recipes with you, Louise.  You can roll the chicken filet in the flour, bread crumbs and egg wash to make our chicken fingers.  

We are very sorry that Miss Simpson dislikes the restaurant but we do thank the thousands of regular customers, especially the families, who often come daily and who have supported us for more than 20 years.  (The editor of this newsletter, MonacoToday, in fact, and his family are customers.). Sorry to take this personally but I know the people who work hard everyday to serve our customers and they deserve a more professional review.

Annette Anderson


LETTERS TO THE EDITOR CAN BE SENT TO Please include a telephone number.

Previous letters can be found at MORE

Monday, 15 December 2014 0:02
Author: Louise Simpson

Monaco Foodie...

Kitchen Nightmares

“Is that a corkscrew in your pocket or are you pleased to see me?” This was the first line of a scathing restaurant review that marked the death knell for a famous London restaurant client back in my PR days. For several years, I swore that restaurant critics belonged to one of the nine circles of Hell.  

It is perhaps ironic that, through my travel writing, I have ended up reviewing restaurants for everyone from the FT Weekend to Zagat. Tellingly, I have tended towards praising culinary excellence rather than decrying ineptitude. However, a decade in Monaco facing elevated prices for mediocre food served with a grimace has worn me down. The time has come to name and shame some of the principality’s icons in the hope that culinary standards will rise to match prices.

Microwave Mania
Stars‘N’Bars (6 quai Antoine 1er, tel: +377 97-97-95-95) underwent an expensive (yet strangely invisible) renovation recently. Yet this Monegasque legend obviously forgot to revamp the kitchen. Tex-Mex shouldn’t mean tasteless freezer-to-microwave tat. The kids’ menu alone would be enough to get Jamie Oliver in a sweat. When I complained, one endearingly honest waiter admitted that he wouldn’t dine at Stars’N’Bars either. I guess it’s best to stick to drinks at the bar.

Cream Club
The restaurants at Monaco’s prestigious sports clubs, Monte-Carlo Country Club (155 avenue Princess Grace, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, tel: +33 4 93 41 30 15) and the Automobile Club de Monaco (23 boulevard Albert 1er, tel: +377 93-15-26-00), have one thing in common: cuisine hailing from the 70s with copious dollops of cream infiltrating dishes from starter to dessert.  It’s time to update the menu to join the millennium.

Dinner Downer
Saliére (28 Quai Jean-Charles Rey, tel: +377 92-05-25-82) and Avenue 31 (31 avenue Princesse Grace, tel: +377 97-70-31-31) are the eminence grise of smart, reasonably-priced lunchtime dining in Monaco.  Yet these excellent sister restaurants fall down at dinner. For double the price of the lunchtime menus, diners are subjected to long waits between courses and mislaid orders. The root of the problem seems to be staff shortages for evening shifts as many waiters commute into Monaco from Nice and even Italy so lunchtime shifts are preferred.

Overpriced and oversexed
Cipriani Monte Carlo (1 avenue Princess Grace, tel: +377 93-25-42-50) is the place to be seen as long as you’re wearing a micro-miniskirt. Luckily the ageing millionaires paying the bill are too busy eyeing up the candy to notice the sub-standard food and supercilious service. To be fair, let’s not forget that Cipriani does have some well-established competition on the overpriced and oversexed front around the corner: Sass Café (11 avenue Princess Grace, tel: +377 93-25-52-00).

Smoked Sushi
Compared to the tantalizing Thai restaurant at the back, the Maya Bay (24 avenue Princesse Grace, tel: +377 97-70-74-67) Japanese restaurant feels like the unattractive twin. On a recent visit, I was treated to a new concept: smoked sushi. The restaurant carries on its smoking-allowed-in-the-garden policy through winter months despite a hermetically sealed plastic enclosure that ensures diners are wafted with smoke from neighbouring smokers. Those who dare to complain should expect a sneer.

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:

To read previous Monaco Foodies, please click on MORE


Friday, 12 December 2014 0:10


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DEAD DOLPHIN: FRIDAY JANUARY 23 - Students from the Monaco Yacht Club Sailing School found a dead dolphin floating in the sea about 400 metres off Cap Martin on Wednesday. The animal, about 1.2 metres long, has been send to a lab for testing to find out the cause of death.


Monte-Carlo Diary

Friday, January 2, 2015

Here and now

New Year was celebrated at home, on the grounds that going to an overcrowded and very noisy public space, such as in front of the Casino, would be, if not exactly life-threatening, more of an ordeal than a pleasure. Age brings wisdom. On the other hand, with a teenager at home with a new loudspeaker, which I bought as a Christmas gift, there may not have been much difference in the decibel level.

I am happy to say that France’s excellent TV channel, Arte, held the same opinion of the end of year festivities, and instead of boring viewers with a string of what used to be called variety show acts broadcast instead every episode of the BBC’s ground-breaking historical serial The Promise.

This is an area in which the BBC excels, whatever its detractors may claim. Ostensibly the story of the British army’s thankless involvement in peace-keeping in Palestine after the end of the Second World War, the series is a merciless exploration of the fate of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who were killed or displaced after the UN decision to cede disputed territories to the embryonic Jewish state.

Cleverly intertwined with the main character’s promise to look after and return the key to the home of a Palestinian family in Haifa, soon to be lost to a wave of Jewish settlers, The Promise casts welcome and unusual light on the day-to-day practices of the Israeli Defence Force and the abuses meted out to Palestinians by the residents of illegal Jewish settlements.

I am very surprised that the series ever saw the light of day. Needless to say, The Promise has not been shown in the US, where knowledge of events such as the merciless slaughter of women and children in the village of Deir Yassin in 1948 might possibly, just possibly, dent support for present-day Israel. No doubt apologists for Israeli misdeeds in the Occupied Territories, then or now, would respond with the standard line that any criticism of Israel is de facto anti-Semitism, or the other old excuse that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East.

On Tuesday I was lucky enough to go to the Woody Allen concert at the Salle Garnier. I went for the music and for the fact that I love his off-the-wall movies. It’s also worth noting that the Jewish-American filmmaker is one of Israel’s strongest critics, a role that unsurprisingly has brought a torrent of abusive ripostes.

One thing is for certain, America’s destabilising of the Middle East, although possibly unintentional, will make 2015 another miserable and violent year. The boatloads of desperate migrants making for the coast of Italy, many now from Syria and Palestine, will increase in number as the situation worsens. No-one is ready for this human tsunami that poses huge long-term threats to the economic and social stability of Europe, and very few of our political leaders are able to make the connection with US policies across North Africa and the Middle East.

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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Monaco Events, Announcements

Burns Supper: If you would like to join the Monte Carlo Whisky Society on Saturday 24th January to celebrate the birthday of Scotland's greatest poet, Robert Burns, email Anita at or call +33 643912700 to register for an unforgettable evening of music, poetry and story-telling. The Bill O'Fare at restaurant La Piazza, arriving from Scotland, will be: smoked salmon; cullen skink; haggis, neeps & tatties; steak pie; clootie dumpling; cranachan; cheese & oatcakes; coffee, tablet & shortbread; whisky & cigars.

Create the Spark: The next Create the Spark! course will take place on Sunday February 1, Sunday February 8 and Sunday February 15 at the Marriott Hotel in Cap d'Ail. "Creating Meaningful Change - the Power of Purpose” will be held in English, from 9 am to 5 pm (including lunch) and will be led by Grisel Damgaard. For details call Grisel on + 33 6 12 70 34 61 or email her at For testimonials from past participants and course information visit

ANDY WARHOL: The exhibition “Andy Warhol” continues at the Galerie Adriano Ribolzi (Tuesday – Saturday from 10:00 - 12:00 and 15:00 until 18:00). See also display ad at

Princess Grace Irish Library: Wednesday 18 February 2015 at 19:30 : "THE ROCK OF CASHEL AND THE PASSAGE OF TIME" - An illustrated talk by Aighleann O'Shaughnessy, Former Senior Conservation Architect, Office of Public Works, Dublin. Info and reservations:

Democrats: Wednesday February 4th, 18:30h to 20:00h: The Riviera Chapter of Democrats Abroad will be hosting it's monthly Political Wine event at La Canne à Sucre, 11 promenade des Anglais, NICE. All Americans currently visiting or living here on the French Riviera are invited to join us as we listen to a brief presentation, by one of our members. We then all share in the opportunity to interact with one another as we engage in thoughtful discussions. Please understand that, although our gracious host, La Canne à Sucre, does not impose a formal entry fee, we ask that you join us as we support and thank them by ordering at least one drink during the event. Please RSVP (even"maybe") to if you would like to join us. We hope to see you there!

Global High Net Worth Conference: Thursday, March 12 and Friday, March 13, at the Salon Bellevue of the Cafe de Paris in Monte-Carlo, a two-day conference of professionals serving the HNW and UHNW sectors. Distinguished speakers from around the world will address the major issues of the moment. Organised by the publishers of Visit for more details.

Princess Grace Irish Library: Tuesday April 21, at 19:30. Why did the Irish experience of emigration, so prevalent in the post war period, feature so rarely in the literature of the time? A Talk and Readings from ‘Home from England’ by James Ryan. The Ireland Fund of Monaco Academic-in-Residence at the Princess Grace Irish Library from 20 April to 15 May 2015, Director of the Creative Writing Programme, School of English, Drama and Film, University College Dublin. Info and reservations:

Listings in Events & Announcements are free for non-profit associations, charged for commercial events and entities. To place listing email


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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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