Vibeke Thomsen

Vibeke Thomsen. Photos: Nancy Heslin.

On Friday, a French court handed down a 25-year jail term to 36 year-old Jonathann Daval, who was found guilty of killing his wife, Alexia, and then burning her body in 2017. The verdict has brought to a close a saga that rocked the country, especially as Jonathann had moved in with the victim’s family after he reported her missing.

The 6-day trials ends just before International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women 2020 on Wednesday, November 25.

This year of Covid has particularly highlighted the issue. During spring confinement, a police headquarters in Paris witnessed a 36% increase in domestic violence reports in just one week. So urgent was the need for intervention that the then French minister of interior, Christophe Castaner, created an alert system that would allow victims to get help by going to a pharmacy and use the code “mask 19.”

According to a 2019 IMSEE report, there were 33 cases of violence against women recorded by the police services, including 31 acts committed in Monaco. 58% of the 33 victims resided in Monaco. (For more Monaco statistics, see Box at end of article.)

Monaco resident Vibeke Thomsen, founder of SheCanHeCan, has been involved with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women since 2013, and helps to make sure the Palace, Tour Odeon and Conseil National are glowing orange is solidarity on the night of the 25th.

In previous years, SheCanHeCan would co-organise events but with the health pandemic, the non-profit association has instead launched an online campaign working jointly with Fight Aids Monaco and the Committee for the Promotion and Protection of Women’s Rights.

“We sent out a call to find 100 men to send us their picture and to choose a message to publicly say NO to violence against women,” explains Vibeke. “We reached 100 in less than two days! It’s been heartwarming to see this silent majority of men – who we seldom hear from but are against violence – stand up and publicly show their face.”

The #violencesfemmesjagis campaign of 100 portraits and messages, including from Princess Stephanie’s son Louis Ducruet, freediver Pierre Frolla and F1’s David Coulthard – ambassadors of SheCanHeCan – has gone live today.

“Next year, we are already planning a larger in-person campaign and we would love to see the community involved, so stay tuned,” Vibeke adds.

Vibeke is a huge supporter of the Monaco community. Born in Copenhagen to Danish parents, the family moved to Geneva when she was a baby. “Surprisingly to the people who meet me today, I was a very reserved and shy child,” she admits. “I was an avid reader and loved to write, too. Somehow I skipped a grade so I was a year younger than my classmates, which contributed to my shyness.”

Her family relocated to Monaco when Vibeke was eight and she attended local schools before heading off to boarding school for a couple of years. “Monaco was different then, less international, less dynamic, less cultural offers and less activities for children. Going to the local school felt very normal. There were no parties on yachts, it’s much more low key than what people expect when they hear I grew up here. I was lucky to find incredible friends, many of who I’m still close to 30 years later,” she shares.

She left Monaco at 16 and for the next 13 years reinvented herself, living in many places around the world. “Travelling definitely helped me come out of my shell as I had to open up and meet new people.”

During her time abroad, she worked in a bank in Frankfurt, with the Danish Delegation to the OSCE in Vienna and spent three years in the US – one in Washington D.C. working for a non-profit to end the death penalty and then two in Ann Arbor, MI, where she picked up a double Master’s degree in Public Policy and Arts in Russia and East European Studies. 

“When I came back, Monaco had completely changed,” she describes. “It became a much more dynamic city with many cultural offerings – you can go out every night, which is surprising for a city this size. There are now more families with young children, more activities, restaurants and bars to enjoy, too. Every week, you can meet new people from every path of life and that’s what I enjoy about living here.”

Vibeke’s favourite haunts were the Bombay Frigo in Emilie Palace on blvd Princesse Grace – “incredible for drinks, dinners and dancing on that bar, it’s a shame it closed.” – and the Sea Lounge at the beach club: “It was a fun place for parties, especially the White Night party in August.”

Vibeke created her non-profit association GenderHopes in 2012, which in 2017 became SheCanHeCan, a name change “to better reflect our work locally and with the community, which is our main focus.” She has a team of three volunteers and five ambassadors.

“I had a 3-year experience in Brussels working in security, including for women in post-conflict countries and reconstruction. That’s when I got bitten by the bug and when I moved back to Monaco in 2011, I tried to find ways to continue in the same field.”

Pre-Covid, SheCanHeCan did various events, including movie screenings, fundraisers, the “A Confident Girl” exhibit at the Columbus Hotel featuring over 20 artists, and the launch of the Equality Pledge in 2019.

Every International Day of the Girl on October 11, SheCanHeCan invites students to the Conseil National to meet with the president and the (mainly) female MPs, to better understand the role and importance of women in politics.

Last year, the association launched the Red Box Project Monaco to address period inequality by bringing period products to local schools, raising awareness about organic menstrual products and breaking the taboo when speaking about periods in schools and in the workplace. The International School of Monaco was the first school to adopt the Red Box and provide free period products to its students in middle and high school.

In terms of companies and/or institutions providing free organic period products, it has been a learning process. “Most of us have learned that periods are private, almost secret and shameful and something not to be discussed in public spaces or at your workplace. It has been a fascinating experience to see how quickly the mindset and approach can change once we become aware of period inequality,” Vebeke relates.

“The environmental impact of period products is also important and often overlooked so, along with our partners Freda and FabLittleBag, this is something we work to address and raise awareness about. Overall, I would say the welcome has been positive but it’s been slow and that’s partly due to Covid.”

And for the past three years, SheCanHeCan has hosted a parent child Book Club in which we read inclusive stories,” relates the mom of three whose children go to local schools.

“I think life with kids is relatively easy in Monaco. There are many moms with young children and a wonderful informal support networks and supportive mums. There is a great play group, twice a week, at the St Paul’s church on avenue de Grande Bretagne, and the Princess Grace hospital provides some support in terms of breastfeeding.”

Vibeke, who speaks Danish, English, French and German, considers herself fortunate. “In confinement, I was able to spend time with my three children in a way we might never experience again, outside of daily stress and routine and with more time to listen and focus on each other. Despite homeschooling and work, we found time to just be together, go for long walks, talk, play, do activities. I’ll cherish this time, also because I know confinement has been a difficult experience for many.”

Vibeke Thomsen pauses for a moment. “In terms of what’s come out of it, I’ve realised the importance of focusing on the people who really matter in your life.”

Need help?

0800 91 90 10
Free hotline in Monaco for victims of all violence (rape and sexual violence, violence perpetrated within the family, sexual harassment …) and on their rights available to them.

WHO reports that 1 in 3 (35%) of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime. For more information about getting help during Covid, click here.

Monaco in numbers

According to an IMSEE report, there were 33 cases of violence against women recorded by the police services in 2019, including 31 acts committed in Monaco. 58% of the 33 victims resided in Monaco.

The average age of the women aggressed was 37; for the perpetrator, he was around 42. One in two cases were committed at the victim’s or perpetrator’s home, with 58% committed by the spouse or ex-spouse of the victim.

Nearly 60% of cases concerned physical violence while 25% were sexual violence.

113 women were admitted to hospital, including 83% suffering from physical violence and while these cases was recorded at CHPG, not all these acts of violence took place in Monaco.

In 2019, 74% of cases of violence committed in Monaco in 2019 resulted in a complaint being lodged and 33 proceedings were opened.

At the time of IMSEE’s publication, 15 cases were subject to legal proceedings, or under investigation. Of these cases, perpetrators were on average 39 while the victim was 35. There were 4 convictions and 2 protection orders for acts committed in 2019, all against men. There were no condemnations for rape in 2019 in Monaco.

Nazanine Matin

Nazanine Matin. Photos: Nancy Heslin

In the summer of 1978, Nazanine Matin visited Monaco for the first time. At only 18 months old, it would be the beginning of a long relationship with a country she would eventually call home in 2014. “My uncle had moved to Monaco and we spent a lot of time here and with him over the years,” says the founder of TEDxMonteCarlo.

Nazanine has a soft spot for the Monaco of yesteryear, with tales of the Beach Club or early days of Sea Lounge, but not all of these are for print! “I remember one evening after the Red Cross Gala, we went to Jimmy’z and in one corner you had now President Trump and Melania and in the other, Ivana and her then Italian boyfriend. Meanwhile Jean-Claude Van Damme was in a white suit doing splits on the dance floor! It was quite a scene and memories I’ll never forget, especially as I was a huge Jean-Claude Van Damme fan and had seen every one of his movies!”

Born in Tehran, Nazanine moved to the South of France due to the Iranian Revolution and she attended boarding school in Switzerland from the age of five. “I enjoy connecting people, connecting passions and maybe this comes from me going to boarding school, where we were always with other children and we had to give back and help.”

In 1989, her family moved to Toronto, where the 13-year-old went into a French Immersion program. “On my first day of school, we walked into my homeroom – I didn’t know that concept as we didn’t have homerooms in the French system – and the teacher was talking. I turned to my dad and asked him what language she was speaking. I didn’t understand her French Canadian and the students made fun of my accent, too. It was quite interesting,” recalls Nazanine, who describes herself as a “troublemaker” growing up.

Although she is a trained Mechanical Engineer from U.C. Berkeley and worked in Bioengineering, Information Technology, Logistics, and Finance, most people know Nazanine as the inspired woman who brought TEDx, the independently planned and non-profit TED-like talks to Monaco in 2014.

This was no easy feat, amongst a long To-Do List, she had to get licensed by TED to host more than 100 people, find speakers, build a team of volunteers and find a venue, which is not cheap in Monaco. Finding sponsors was also a huge hurdle as the TEDxMonteCarlo budget was “ten times more than my friend’s budget in London for the same number of speakers and attendees.”

A determined and resourceful Nazanine pulled it off. In 2014, she put on TEDxIUM (she obtained an MBA in Luxury Management at the International University of Monaco). She then held TEDxMonteCarlo events at the Grimaldi Forum in 2016 and 2017, with five smaller session Salons the following year.

“After that, I was exhausted,” Nazanine confesses, “mainly from fundraising. As a team, we thought that every two years would be better for the big flagship event. In 2019, we didn’t raise enough funds so we had to postpone to 2020. Then lockdown happened.”

To keep the community engaged and connected during confinement Nazanine and her team organized fiver free TEDxMonteCarlo vitural Salons, with up to 100 attendees. And this coming Saturday is the team’s first Women flagship event, TEDxMonteCarloWomen to showcase the TEDWomen 2020 Fearless pre-recorded TED talks and drive discussions. The event will be virtual and will address global and local topics.

“TEDxMonteCarloWomen will be different as there will be a lot of time for interaction between the attendees and with our local experts on the topics we’ve selected,” she explains, adding there will be breakout sessions running in parallel with smaller groups to discuss the topics at hand and then lots of time for Q&A.

“We really want the audience to share their ideas, speak up and be fearless. Also, even though it’s labeled with “Women”, we encourage everyone and all genders to join in the conversation. All genders need to help with the change that’s required,” Nazanine encourages.

She admits that she would love to host a live event again. “The biggest challenge is raising money and balancing my full-time job with the requirements to put these events together. A one-hour virtual event takes almost 40 hours of prep work from me and the team.”

Reflecting on Covid-19, the Monaco resident says she is “very lucky” with her situation and although it has meant less business travel, she has enjoyed “great home made food and lots of time with the friends I cherish.”

“I know that there are many less fortunate than me, and I try to give back in any way I can to make it easier for them,” says Nazanine Matin. “I leave much bigger tips at restaurants, and each time I get a GoFundMe campaign or a local funding campaign for a business that might go under, I try to contribute.”

Support Nazanine and her team by signing up for the TEDxMonteCarloWomen virtual event themed Fearless on Saturday, November 28. It costs only €5 for a full day pass and you can sign in and out as you wish. This TEDx event begins with yoga or meditation and rounds off with a virtual aperitif and networking with a DJ .

Stars’n’Bars

Kate Powers of Stars’n’Bars. Photo: Nancy Heslin.

With American Thanksgiving on Thursday, November 26, Good News Monaco is asking, in the year of Covid, what you are thankful for?

Kate Powers, the cofounder of Stars’n’Bars, shares, “I’m thankful for my family, my health, my faith and where I live. I also really appreciated the peace and quiet as well as the beauty of nature during confinement.”

Kate and her team are busy preparing for Stars’n’Bars annual traditional Thanksgiving lunch. “The French love this plat du jour – turkey, stuffing, corn bread, corn on the cob, creamed onions, with a side of homemade cranberry – all made from my mom’s and grandma’s recipes that I brought over from the States 31 years ago.”

The lunch, served from 11 am to 3 pm, is €19 or €24 with a drink and dessert (homemade pumpkin pie, apple pie and banana and ginger cake) but you need to reserve and if you want turkey with a view, make sure to ask for a table on StarDeck.

If you haven’t been to Stars’n’Bars for a while, you may be surprised. “Lockdown helped us wake up to necessary ecological changes that were more important than economical ones. However, we are now starting to see the positive results of both,” expresses Kate.

During the March to May confinement, Stars’n’Bars, like all restaurants in Monaco and France, was forced to close although Kate says that the staff of 60 were “quick to be supported” with financial assistance by the government. The team, which includes partner and manager Annette Anderson, stayed in touch by a WhatsApp group, brainstorming about new ideas for the eatery post-lockdown.

When the port side restaurant reopened on May 4, it was with a reduced menu focusing on local and organic ingredients. Gone were the Tex-Mex dishes that Stars’n’Bars has been known for since it opened in 1993, and, to the shock of many customers, Coca-Cola was also adiosed.

“We need to keep taking steps forward and raise awareness about wellness, whether its ours or the planet’s, and so we decided to cutback on industrial products that we import as much as possible,” explains Kate. “We have no industrial sodas—we cut out Coca-Cola and Sprite—and serve only organic colas made in Bordeaux.” (Fizz Bio’s cola, lime, orange, lemon and tonic sodas are made with organic brown cane sugar.)

“Some customers are upset that we stopped serving Coke and others get up and walk out when they see there is no longer Tex-Mex on the menu,” Kate admits. “I try to explain that most of the ingredients had to be imported and we are focusing on sourcing locally. It’s the same with Coke. When I tell people not to expect the taste of Coke with our organic soda, at first they are unsure but now they love it.”

The new menu focuses on quality not quantity – an aubergine burger for vegans, organic beef burgers, a temaki salad plus weekly suggestions, pasta dishes and daily specials (plat du jour ). “Our Caesar Salad is à la minute – chicken steamed and fresh bread croutons prepared right before serving.

“Honestly, we have had positive feedback that the menu is better than ever and there are a lot of new regulars returning several times a week.

Caesar Salad. Photo: SNB

Kate points out that anyone needing a fix of chili con carne, nachos or Asian ribs can email a suggestion to info@starsnbars.com to be considered as a weekly plat du jour.

Another new feature, Stars’n’Bars has collaborated with Dr François Seneca, a senior scientist at Centre Scientific Centre of Monaco next door, who has been making Kombucha for four years at home and is now using part of the Star Deck kitchen to produce the fermented drink. “We now have Kombucha pumps with different seasonal flavours, and you can buy a refillable decanter,” Kate remarks.

No surprise, the coffee is locally sourced from Monaco, the ice cream is locally sourced from Monaco and Menton and they now serve homemade jam made in Monaco by cofounder Didier Rubiolo. The popular Blue Coast beer is brewed in Nice.

“You know, after confinement, people couldn’t wait to eat out. You can see that some are still leery and only want to eat outside but that’s okay as we have lots of space between the terrace and three floors inside, including Star Deck where we’ve added plexiglass to open up the view.”

Lunchtime is super busy but as the restaurant can’t open until 7 pm with the current health measures in place, dinner service is slower. “We have had a pretty challenging year, especially now with the hours, but I feel blessed with what we can do in Monaco. Our staff is great when it comes to wearing masks and nobody has been sick. I wish we could open at 6 pm to cater to families and working people but we are lucky.”

Stars’n’Bars is only getting started on their ecological journey. “There will big changes in spring 2021,” Kate smiles. Although she remains tight-lipped on the matter, she hints that new technological, innovative, educational and fun ideas are in the makes.

“We realise how much people don’t like change but if we want to make a difference, we must change our habits. The planet can do without us but we can’t do without the planet,” says Kate Powers.

Today kicked off the 2nd Monegasque edition of the European Week
for Waste Reduction. Over the next nine days, more than
30 associations, government agencies, businesses and individuals
in Monaco will be supporting the campaign to reduce,
reuse and recycle waste. At Stars’n’Bars, zero waste activities
will be shown in the children’s playroom.

Open daily 11 am to 3 pm and 7 pm to 9:30 pm. Breakfast to go is also available.

Stars’n’Bars
6 Quai Antoine 1er

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

Kerri Moss Beaumont

New Yorker Kerri Moss Beaumont ran her first business at the age of eight. “I was desperate to buy Jordache jeans and my parents were having none of it.” So she started Radio Red, selling homegrown tomatoes over the summer. “I’d fill my Radio Flyer red wagon and walk around the neighbourhood pitching my grandmother’s Italian pasta sauce recipe that needed $5 dollars worth of tomatoes.” Sales were so good that Kerri bought buy two pairs of jeans – at $42.99 each.

From a young age, Kerri understood sales was about knowing what the consumer wants and needs and then working out the difference. “You could say this stuff is in my blood. My Dad was Director at British Airways for Sales and Marketing for years and we used to go and look at toothpaste and figure out the trends on packaging and how they would shift product using discounts. To this day, I’m obsessed with stalking supermarket shelves.”

Kerri launched her “second” business, Naughty + Nice, in France in 2018, although she’d been toying with the idea of an organic juice business for a while.

Since 2013, she had been giving juice to her yoga clients on the Côte d’Azur when she was visiting from London. “Many would joke about throwing in some tequila post-yoga. And so the seed was planted for a ‘Detox, Retox, Repeat’ idea of a cold pressed organic juice that doubles as a cocktail mixer.”

Then in 2017, Kerri and her “very English” husband, Ian, took their four daughters – Lauren is now 14, Daisy 13, Coco 11 and Tallulah 9 – sailing across the Pacific Ocean on a small sailing yacht. “During that year, we were fortunate enough to enjoy loads of fresh produce and cold pressed juices and it highlighted the importance of nutrition for the whole family. From travelling, we also realised how cocktails are made of processed junk and most drinks on the supermarket shelves are also pasteurised and full of additives.”

The following year, the family relocated permanently to Valbonne. In May, Kerri was on Eddie Irvine’s yacht during the 2018 Monaco Grand Prix for the official launch of Naughty + Nice. “Nothing can wholly prepare you for starting your own business, especially in France. A director of Carrefour who is a client and now a friend told me that in the U.S. people would say Naughty + Nice is delicious, whereas in France they say ‘That’s not bad’ even though they mean the same.”

As a woman running a business, she finds the French “slightly antiquated and old fashioned but once I realised I wasn’t going to change the system, I worked out how to make it work for me.”

With a busy household (there is a boy dog to keep Ian company), you’d expect lockdown to be tough but Kerri admits, “It was similar to being on a 60-foot sailing yacht for a year as a family. When you are in ‘isolation’ – our longest sail was 15 and a half days from the Galapagos to the Marquesas – your emotions are on high alert and anything that has been repressed will rear its ugly head. On the boat, and during lockdown, we encouraged the girls to journal and to talk to us. And we reverted to the sailing attitude Chez Beaumont, getting up with the sun, eating healthy food and listening to music with lots of nice wine and good films.”

During the first lockdown, Naughty + Nice was delivering every day, which Kerri shares was a lifesaver. “Being out and making people happy was divine. For example, we delivered to Bill in Monaco who turned 100, that was a very special moment indeed.”

The fruit and veg organic juice company also donated drinks to the Lenval Children’s Hospital in Nice, and in Cannes and Mougins. “I thought that those on the front line would really benefit from a natural energy boost and immunity protection. Word got out … so we ended up shipping to hospitals up in Paris, too. In Monaco, the hospital wasn’t accepting donations due to Covid restrictions but the Red Cross team was great and we gave when we could over several months.” When Kerri received a letter in July from Prince Albert thanking her for her initiative and support, she “immediately called my Mom.”

For Lockdown 2.0, Kerri says she’s using food as medicine and doing a juice and raw fruit fast for the month of November. “Well … until Thanksgiving! I figure a whole body and mind reset is the best way to approach the restrictions.” She adds that as her family has been separated from most friends and other family members, they are hugging at home even more. “This habit started on the boat and is really in full swing now. It lifts the spirit like nothing else.”

Kerri is also using lockdown to work on expanding her business across Europe, starting with the U.K., and will be fundraising in early 2021 through Crowdcube. “My solid education and undoubtedly my ad agency days at TBWA\Chiat\Day in NYC and M&C in London have given me skills that enable me to get the marketing sorted in an efficient and effective way. And I think that Naughty + Nice has taken off so quickly because we are relatable, fun and we don’t take ourselves too seriously. In today’s world this can be worth its weight in gold!”

On top of raising a family and running a business, Kerri is dedicated to sports “I’m pretty sure my Dad had me throwing and catching a ball before I could walk.” At 11, I started running before school with my yellow Sony walkman and a tape of Tracy Chapman and Paul Simon. I would get out before the sun was up. I’m the oldest of five kids and the house was always mental in the morning – so this was my way of finding peace.”

Kerri has run a few marathons – “there’s nothing like London” – and recently entered the world of multiday stage racing, competing in the Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica and training for the Everest Trail Race, which was cancelled this year. “The way the body can adapt is all about the mind and I absolutely adore it. The 250-km Marathon des Sables was a beast … I was that person in the First Aid tent on the first day as I forgot my inserts for my trainers so I had blisters all over both feet. And I mean all over. On the second morning I could barely walk to the open air loo and I remember thinking not crossing that finish line wasn’t an option. So I put mind over matter and pushed on.”

As a young girl, she always wanted to run marathons. “And I wanted to be a pilot. One down, one to go!” Kerri Moss Beaumont laughs.

Photos byTatiana Trunova and art direction and stylist Sam Lord.

Parfumerie Edith Harlay

Florence Pronzati founder of Edith Harlay. Photos: Nancy Heslin

Before Covid took over headlines this year, it was announced that the Centre Commerical in Fontvieille would be expanded into a 4-storey glass building with a multiplex cinema, a 600-spot car park and state-owned housing on the top floor. The €300 million project is scheduled for delivery in 2027, and will see the shopping mall expand from 13,000 sqm to 14,000 sqm of retail space, growing from 38 to 70 stores.

The Centre Commerical first opened its doors in 1992 and nearly half of the original shops are still there. One of them is the independently owned perfumery Edith Harlay, created by Florence Pronzati and named as homage to her mother.

Energetic and welcoming, Florence was truly born for customer service. Not only does she have a natural ability to make people feel happy but, in her opinion, “A sale is not a sale unless you’ve spent one-on-one time with a client giving advice.”

As a child, the Monegasque was “always attracted to pretty things and makeup.” She studied to become an aesthetician and in 1987 opened the beauty institute Cristal Esthétique, which she operated for five years. She then launched Edith Harlay in 1992. “I ran the two business for a few years and then decided to concentrate on the perfumery and so I sold Cristal, which is still around today.”

It’s been a tough year for commerce having to close completely for two months during the first coronavirus confinement. “It has been hard but Christmas is coming and we are still here smiling even with a mask,” Florence assures.

And she has noticed a trend as a result of the pandemic. “Consumers are trying to shop intelligently. Before Covid, we’d have 80 people come into the store and 50 would buy something. Now we have fewer customers but out of the 50 who come in, 48 make a purchase because they need something.”

Florence emphasises, “Customers can’t touch anything in the store. We help the client and we disinfect all the time, from the debit card machine after every use to the store itself. For every one or two customers who turn around and leave because they don’t like the new measures we have in place, I have 8 others who say thank you. If one of my employees tests positive, I would have to close.”

Including Florence, the perfumery has a team of five, all aestheticians, who give lots of advice, whether a client wants to buy makeup – “we take the time to show them by example, doing one eye and then letting them do the other”– or perfume. “Whether you want to buy for yourself or as a gift, there are a number of questions we ask to match a perfume with a personality, such as are you an introvert or extrovert, do you live in a sunny climate, what is your work environment?”

The top selling perfume at the moment for women is Libre by Yves Saint Laurent. J’adore remains a hot item, as does any Chanel scent, and Idôle by Lancome, which came out last year. Florence also carries the niche perfume, Serge Lutens (€120), which is hard to find elsewhere.

I did not know this but Florence explains for many French women born in the Sixties and Seventies, Nina Ricci’s L’air du Temps, with its signature dove bottle stopper, was their first fragrance. “It was my first perfume,” says Florence, “and now Les Sorbets by Nina Ricci, part of her Les Belles collection, is what young girls often wear.”

For many French women, Nina Ricci’s L’air du Temps was their first perfume.

For men, Terre d’Hermès is the biggest seller at the moment along with Paco Rabanne’s 1 Million cologne, sold in what looks like a bar of gold.

On the makeup side, Florence says, “I cannot say that one brand is better than the other. Chanel, YSL, Christian Dior, Lancôme … it all depends on what you are looking for but we can help you choose.”

The boutique also has a nail bar (€32 for a simple manicure with massage and scrub) and does eyebrow waxing on site.

There are lots of Christmas gift options “for all budgets,” including gift boxes with a focus on certain brands, fun themed gifts packages starting from €19.80, hand made Acqui de Parma candles and even advent calendars for couples.

“I know I’m repeating myself,” says Florence, “but our biggest strength is that we here to explain the products to the customers and it is really satisfying to hear them say ‘Thank you so much, I really appreciate your advice’ as they leave with a purchase in hand.”

Well, when Grace Kelly, who would have been 91 today, picked up the Oscar for The Country Girl in 1955, she said on the red carpet that wearing Chateau Krigler 12 perfume was her “lucky charm.” Maybe Florence Pronzati can help you discover yours.

Open Monday to Saturday, 9:30 to 7: 30 p.m.

Parfumerie Edith Harlay
Centre Commercial Fontvieille

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

About me

NancyHeslinltwo


Having swapped the chilly temps of Canada for glorious year-round sunshine on the Côte d’Azur in 2001, NANCY HESLIN is an established media personality in Monaco and the French Riviera. She became a French citizen in 2010 to obtain the right to vote.

Nancy started her passion project Good News, Monaco on November 1, 2020, to share positive human interest stories that support the community and local businesses in a time of Covid. The mission for good news continue two years on.

She has been Editor in Chief of Forbes Monaco, a bimonthly magazine in English, since its launch in November 2018. The title is part of the Forbes family, which reaches 5 million readers and 150 million people monthly across all platforms (print, online, video and on social, through Live and virtual events.

Nancy also does reporting for Riviera Radio, the English-language FM radio station in Monaco that broadcasts across the South of France.

Her reputation in Monaco and the South of France has had an international dimension for some time. She was recently interviewed by ARTE and Channel 5 for documentaries on the Principality. During the aftermath of the Nice Bastille Day attack on July 14, 2016, she appeared on international media: BBC World Service (UK), BBC Northern IrelandCBC (Canada), CTV News (Canada), Global News (Canada), Morning Report (New Zealand).

The swimrunner (follow her on Insta: swimrunnerinmonaco) is also Editor of the online ÖTILLÖ SwimRun Life Magazine. Nancy has also contributed to Women’s Running Magazine in the US.

Nancy began rowing in 2020 at the Société Nautique de Monaco and won for Monaco at the 2022 French Coastal Rowing Championships (Women’s Masters x4 6000m). She is currently on the Board of the Monaco rowing club and a member of the Communications Commission.

From 2016-2018, Nancy was Editor in Chief of Monaco Life, this followed her position as Editor in Chief of the Riviera Reporter for 15 years, which came to an end when the English-language magazine closed in 2016 after 30 years of publication, partially a result of Brexit.

She has penned for various airline magazines, such as easyJet Traveller, Norwegian Airlines N Magazine, Iberia Ronda and Wizz and for 12 years has written for Fodor’s Travel Guides (France, Provence & The Côte d’Azur and Paris editions).

From 2013-2016 Nancy taught “Debates and Interviews” in English at the French École du Journalisme in Nice, where she also gave a Master’s course on the History of International Media.

Nancy (Wilson) also reported as a stringer for People Magazine for several years, covering events from the Cannes Film Festival and the Monaco Grand Prix, while on other occasions she’s taken the TGV with Tom Cruise to Marseille and sipped champagne with Paris Hilton in St Tropez.

Contact: GoodNewsMonaco

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