Venturi's new electric sports car

The Venturi Volage new electric sports car was unveiled last week at the Paris Motor Show.

Work starts on new Yacht Club

If you've visited Monte Carlo over summer, you can't fail to have noticed the new Yacht Club construction on the south side of Port Hercule. Work began on the site a few months ago, with the foundations of an underground 150 space car park. Above ground, the interior and exterior is expected to evoke images of a transatlantic voyage on a luxury liner, and will include thermal and photovoltaic solar panels, and use natural products from sustainable resources. The building has been designed by architects from the world renowned Norman Foster Group, and Monegasque architect Alexandre Giraldi.

Monaco home to most expensive property

Prospective home buyers in Monaco can expect to pay 51,000 euros per square meter, according to a survey released last week by Knight Frank. That translates to about 2 million euros for a small studio flat, and beats London property prices into second place, at 44,620 euros per square meter.

Biotherm factory to close

Bad news this week for 200 Monaco employees of the L'Oreal subsidiary, Biotherm, in Fontivieille. Management has announced that the Sofamo factory will close on 31 March 2011. Despite a turnover of 68 million euros in 2006, the cosmetics and beauty products manufacturer has decided that the Monegasque factory is not viable. Located over 7 floors and in a town centre building, possibilities for growth are severely limited. There are environmental problems, issues of security and safety for locals, not to mention the difficulties of economic expansion.

Free buses for three days

You can ride Monaco's buses free of charge over the next 3 days. Today, tomorrow and Friday this week, leave your wallet in your pocket as you travel about on public transport. This is an initiative to mark European Mobility Week, from 16 to 22 September.

No booze for football fans

Fontvieille, Condamine and Port Hercule will become dry for a few hours in the afternoon of Friday 29 August. This is because Stade Louis II will be hosting the annual UEFA Super Cup football match between Manchester United and Zenit Saint Petersburg. The ban on alcohol sales lasts from 14.30 to 20.45, so you'll be able to have a glass of wine with your dinner after the kick off.

Qatari Diar steps down

Earlier this month Qatari Diar pulled the offer to increase its shareholding of Monte Carlo SBM.

Harbour extension named for Rainier III

A street name has finally been given to the new harbour extension. The quayside will be called Quai Rainier III, named after the father of our current Prince Albert II. Prince Rainier was often referred to as the "builder Prince" because during his reign there was a huge amount of construction carried out to develop Monaco. The extended harbour has allowed Monaco to double its port capacity and to welcome larger cruise ships and yachts. Its construction started in 1999 while Prince Rainier was still alive. The other side of the extension will be simply called the Esplanade des Pecheurs.

Black Diamond closes

Regular visitors to Monaco will have wondered what happened to Black Diamond, the Lebanese restaurant and night club on rue du Portier. If you've been in Monaco as long as us, you'll also remember it in its previous life as the Point Rouge. In Spring 2008, Black Diamond closed its doors and it's just re-opened with a complete refurbishment and new name, NoTime. Cuisine in the new place will be modern Asian, and it's part of the same group as Avenue 31 and Beefbar.

Texan restaurant taken over

Rumour has it that the Texan restaurant in the Condamine district of Monaco is to reopen. Regular visitors and residents will remember the old Texan, next door to Slammer's bar, closed a couple of years ago. We don't know yet if the new place will serve tex-mex and burgers like its predecessor, or even if it'll retain the same name. Whatever the cuisine, it's sure to be a welcome addition to dining out in the Principality.

UPDATE: It's opened as La Villa.

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