La Ligne Idéale Monaco

Cecile Gerbaud. Photos: Nancy Heslin

In the Netflix series Emily in Paris, the American protagonist receives a gift of lingerie from a French client, which she tells him is “a tad inappropriate.” Antoine replies, “I didn’t buy it for me. I bought it for you. I want you to feel sexy and powerful.”

Clearly Antoine out of touch: in the year of Covid and confinements, comfy and cocooning are the tendance.

La Ligne Idéale at 35 blvd Princesse Charlotte has a range of lingerie and nightwear that is comfy-cosy but still provides a validating feeling of oh la la that we all need, even more so when we are staying at home.

Opened more than 70 years ago below the Hotel Alexandra, La Ligne Idéale is supposedly the second oldest commerce in Monaco (Optique Grosfillez opened in 1880). Lyonnaise Dominique Collet took over as owner in 2012 and caters to a loyal clientele aged 20 to 90. “We have 80-year-old great-grandmothers who have been regular customers since their mothers bought them here to buy their first bra.”

The independent lingerie boutique (there are only three in Monaco) sells a variety of brands, mostly made in France or Italy, with styles ranging from classic to plus sexy, appealing to all ages and all tastes. “People stop to look in the window but don’t come in because they think that all shops in Monaco are expensive. This is not true. We have something for all budgets,” says Dominique.

The adorable Cecile Gerbaud who runs the boutique says that lingerie—Ambra, Wocoal, Triumph—is their top-seller, but their collection of silk or velour lingerie-to-wear pieces (nighties, robes, babydolls, nightshirts and pants, Charmeuse camisoles) by Marjolaine for “elegant cocooning” at home has become very popular.

There’s also reshape girdles, pretty but practical nightwear, Girardi tights and stockings and the essential CuddlySocks. And for those looking to spice things up, why not ask Santa for a little HankyPanky in your stocking this Christmas?

Open Monday to Friday, 9:30 am to 6:45 pm.

La Ligne Idéale Monaco
35 Boulevard Princesse Charlotte, Monaco

During Covid and confinement, let’s make an effort to support local businesses and services. Do you have a business or service to recommend for I ❤︎  MONACO? Email: GoodNewsMonaco

Philippe Verdier

NFL’s Philippe Verdier. Photo: Nancy Heslin

Geologist Philippe Verdier first came to Monaco in July 1995 to develop Gramaglia Assurances, which specialises in corporate risk.

Over the past 25 years, Philippe has become a widely admired personality in Monaco for creating the popular fundraising event, No Finish Line. For each kilometre a participant runs or walks over the 8-day event, his non-profit association Children and Future donates one euro to support disadvantaged and sick children through various projects.

For 58-year-old Philippe (who shares his birthday on Halloween with his twin sister), benevolence has played a part of his life since junior high when for seven years he was a Sea Scout in Rouen. “Being a scout taught me to show solidarity and how to set up projects for groups of five or six friends.”

And although his family wasn’t particularly sporty, in school he did everything from ping-pong and handball to windsurfing and sailing, becoming an instructor in the latter in St Vaast la Hougue (Normandy). In fact, growing up Philippe dreamt of sailing and being a skipper of a boat from his hometown of Rouen in the Tour de France.

At the age of 30, he did his first marathon and finished with a time of 2:49. This would launch his passion for mythical ultras – UTMB (6th,), Marathon des Sables (15th), Badwater USA (4th), 100km Ventoux (1st) – completing around 60 with 80% podium finishes by scratch or category.

Combining the two elements of sport and solidarity, Philippe put on the first No Finish Line (NFL) in Monaco in 1999. His original idea was to have one person at all times on the 1-kilometre circuit over eight days. But in 2002, a bank sponsored the event for €20,000 and 18,000 km were completed, which lead to the concept of a sponsor donating one euro for every kilometre. This has been the formula since NFL 2004.

“The NFL concept is simple and can bring together all types of personalities – runners, walkers, athletes or not, children, elderly, pets – all for the soul purpose of helping sick or disadvantaged kids. Even those who are not athletic walk 400 km, with some taking a week off work or others hitting the circuit every night.”

Philippe says he is most pleased when he sees groups of friends or business associates coming together every day on the course, chatting while walking or running, while they help to change the world.

In the year of Covid, it would be impossible to maintain social distancing for the hundreds of participants on the 1.3-km circuit in Fontvieille. So the 21st edition from November 14 to 22 will be virtual. “The show must go on! For this first connected NFL Monaco, I would be happy with 4,000 registrants and 200,000 km. In post-containment Paris in June, we had 3,000 registrants who completed 123,000 km.”

It’s only €12 to participate and individuals can register online until noon on November 22 but teams need to do so before November 11. You’ll need to then download the ZAPSPORTS app and register for “No Finish Line Virtuelle” and start the stopwatch. All the kilometres you run or walk 24/7 from November 14 at 3 pm to November 22 at 3 pm will be automatically saved.

Super important to note also is the NFL Toy Drive at Fontvieille Big Top from Saturday, November 14, to Saturday, November 21. This is to collect as-new condition toys for the kids affected by Storm Alex (some of the NFL proceeds will also support this cause.)

Since 1999, NFL Monaco participants have covered a total distance of nearly four million kilometres (3,799,042) to raise more than four million euro (€4,018,092) for various charities, including the Cardio-Thoracic Centre Monaco, Aviation sans frontiers/African Rencontres, the Chaîne de l’espoir, Maison de vie Carpentras, and the Monaco Red Cross.

From the get go, Philippe has said he would love to see one NFL event for every week of the year. “I know 52 NFLs is hard to imagine but it’s what gets me out of bed every morning.”

In addition to Monaco, there are five 5-day NFL fundraisers in Europe –Paris (2015), Oslo (2016), Athens (2017), Nice (2018) and Bratislava (2019, where a connected edition takes place this week with at least €30,000 donated) – which have raised a combined total of €874,259. Philippe hopes that 2021 will see new NFLs outside of Europe.

Children & Future was founded by Philippe in 2001 to promote the protection of children’s rights around the world, and to finance projects that improve their condition, education, health and lifestyle. In addition to NFL, “NFL Danse,” a friendly dance competition in Monaco, was launched to also support the cause.

For Philippe Verdier, the dedication of his association and all the volunteers who all give so much during the week of No Finish Line is well rewarded. “One year, a child who was operated on and recovered only a few days earlier at the Cardio-Thoracic Centre Monaco, came to the NFL start line and was then carried by the winner of the 8-day total distance during his last lap. Every one of us was crying seeing the smile on his face.”

Juanita & Taylor Viale

We have spent the better part of this year staring at Covid figures and graphs, and hearing about how care homes have been particularly vulnerable to the virus. It is easy to forget that it is not just the elderly living in assisted accommodation. The story of Juanita Viale and her disabled daughter Taylor is one of hope.

Born in Los Angeles, California, Juanita Viale was working for a Stanford-funded startup in San Francisco when her dad passed away. She decided to relocate to Costa Rica and settled in Tamarindo on the Pacific Coast, known for surfing thanks to the 1966 Robert August documentary classic, Endless Summer.

By 2007, she was living in San José when her youngest daughter Taylor suffered a brain hemorrhage at birth leaving her permanently disabled. Juanita and her husband decided to move Taylor and her older sister Isabella to France the following year. “My now ex-husband’s grandfather welcomed us with open arms to his 30-hectare vineyard, Coteaux de Bellet, behind Nice, and I stayed there for the next nine years.”

Taking care of the girls, especially with Taylor’s needs, was a full-time job but after a four-year hiatus from the work force, Juanita managed to land a gig in her field of communications and marketing.  “On my second day of work I was already in Monaco on the air at Riviera Radio giving weekly property reports, a vast contrast to being a stay-at-home-mom.”

While her marketing consulting and coaching business grew, her marriage, unfortunately, did not. By the autumn of 2019, Taylor moved into a center for severely disabled children in Saint Antoine Ginestiere, in Nice, operated by the Lenval Foundation, coming home on the weekends. During this same period, Juanita moved around 40 kilometers behind Nice to live in a forest.

“I found my French version of Costa Rica! As I live on a 7-hectare forest my lifestyle is pretty isolated, so when the first lockdown happened, nothing really changed for me since I live and run my business Marketing & Mindset Coaching from home anyway.

Taylor is allowed to come home weekends for this second confinement.

“However, the challenge was with Taylor. Under strict confinement restrictions she was not allowed to leave the center since they were all vulnerable. I didn’t see Taylor for two months with the exception of daily Facetime calls. She held out fine for the first month, but showed signs of depression the second month, which is when Facetime calls became a lifesaver.”

While this weighed enormously on Juanita’s heart, the good news was that it was clear that her daughter Taylor was more aware of her surroundings than the family realized.

A few days prior to France’s second lockdown announcement, Taylor was hospitalized during the weekend for fatigue and no appetite. She was tested immediately for Covid with a negative result.

Juanita wasn’t allowed to visit because she hadn’t had a Covid test. Rapid testing is reserved for the patients only so when the hospital offered to give her a regular test, the results wouldn’t be ready before 48 hours. By that time Taylor would already be out of the hospital.

While Juanita “completely understood” the situation, this was the first time Taylor had to be alone in the hospital. “Even though I have full confidence in the nurses to be with her, knowing she was alone did not sit well with me. However I had no other choice but to surrender that worrying thought and replace it with the gratitude I have for all those doctors and nurses who take such great care of the children at Lenval.”

With this second lockdown that took effect October 30,, Taylor is able to come home on the weekends. “Such relief! But for Isabella, 18, who is going to school and doing her internship in Nice, it will be her first lockdown alone. Facetime it is!”

If there is any lesson Juanita Viale has learned from “The Year of Staying at Home” it is to be adaptabile.

“The more willing we are to live out of our comfort zone, we strengthen our adaptability skills. It is imperative to keep working on ourselves, challenging ourselves, checking in with ourselves, loving ourselves and developing a positive mindset that will serve as your anchor in a sea of uncertainty.”

Patisserie Riviera

Chef Alex. Photos: Nancy Heslin

This iconic salon de thé at 27 Boulevard des Moulins has been un point de reference. in Monaco since 1955.

Owners Alexander Seleznev (aka Chef Alex) and Nicolai Zhur took over in 2015 having opened Pâtisserie Seleznyoff in their native Moscow in 2004.

Chef Alex studied at the Moscow Culinary Institute and has written several books on Russian cuisine. A famous face is his homeland, he also had his own TV show and made appearances as a celebrity chef on other programs including at La Maison du Chocolat.

Caterina Reviglio Sonnino, Nicolai Zhur and Alexander Seleznev  

At Patisserie Riviera everything is made from scratch and on the premises. Nicolai says that their hottest seller (after the viennoiseries, bien sûr) is their line of gluten-free products—cakes, chocolates (also lactose- and sugar-free) and their Jordan almonds (les dragées).

Along with Caterina Reviglio Sonnino who works at the café and is helping to develop their brand, English, French, Italian and Russian are spoken. During Covid, lunch service has stopped but pop by for a super creamy café crème (€3.50) and croissant (€1.50) in the ornately green tea room or outside terrace. The caviar fridge is still running just fine, too, if you need a snack to go.

Open daily from 8 am to 1 pm. & 3 pm to 7 pm (except Sunday afternoons).

Patisserie Riviera
27 Boulevard des Moulins, Monaco

During Covid and confinement, let’s make an effort to support local businesses and services. Do you have a business or service to recommend for I ❤︎ MONACO? Email: GoodNewsMonaco

 

Body discovered in Larvotto

On Wednesday evening, a Monaco resident in the Larvotto district looked out from the balcony and made a “gruesome” discovery.

“I saw this white thing with 4 limbs around 5:30 p.m. It did not really look like a body, it was huge but the limbs were moving in the joints in the waves so it reminded me of a body,” the person tells me.

Using a camera with a 500 mm lens to blow up a photo, the person could “identify hands and fingers” and immediately alerted authorities.

The maritime police, who came at approximately 6:30 p.m., confirmed to the person that it was a corpse.

According to sources, a preliminary investigation indicates the corpse was “most likely” from a coffin.

We know that two cemeteries were washed away in storm Alex: In Saint-Dalmas, Tende, 150 bodies were found downstream and in Saint Martin Vésubie coffins have been recovered floating in flood water. Also trying to figure out what happened to the 160 migrants who were at the camp in Roya at the time of the storm.

Yesterday, Port Hercules and Fontvieille were closed due to floating debris but why haven’t French authorities closed access to the sea for swimmers from Menton and to the west?