Under the shade of the forest pines, some very green ideas have begun to grow! Overlooking the Mediterranean waters from the Point de la Vigie, the Monte-Carlo Beach hotel, in its idyllic setting, is revolutionising high-end cuisine and hospitality, all whilst protecting the environment and promoting sustainable development.

A forest full of greenery rises up opposite a surging wave of concrete. Nestled on the Pointe de la Vigie in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, the pine forest of the Monte-Carlo Beach hotel is a real haven of peace and tranquility for gulls, swifts, grey herons and several endangered species.

A young eagle perched here once and this species doesn’t often venture into urban areas

Emmanuel Taillandier, Deputy Manager of the Monte-Carlo Beach hotel

Sometimes, yelkouan shearwaters huddle together along the rocky coastline. Excellent divers, these birds can chase their pray up to 40m underwater. However, this bird is classed as “endangered” according to the Red List of threatened species in France, compiled by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Monaco and its increasing urbanisation, opposite the pine forest at the Monte-Carlo Beach / © Alizée Mosconi

From yelkouan shearwaters to golden eagles

A few cinereous serins, small birds with bright yellow feathers, classified as “vulnerable”, have also taken up residence in this LPO refuge, often brightening up the nature here with their beautiful high-pitched song.

Rare wonders of the natural world sometimes make an appearance here too: “a young eagle perched here once and this species doesn’t often venture into urban areas,” explains Emmanuel Taillandier, Deputy Manager of the Monte-Carlo Beach hotel.

>> READ ALSO: Mediterranean treasures under threat: the birds learning to live with humans

“I’ve been working with the Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer for more than 30 years now and I never get tired of looking at this protected, yet fragile, place.” Staring out across the azure horizon, it is easy to forget, just for a moment, the sad reality of the Mediterranean. Lurking below these blue waters is a worrying amount of microplastic pollution, roughly 1,25 million particles per square kilometre. “A suffering sea,” says Emmanuel Taillandier.

Over the last 20 years, I’ve seen the coastline here at the Monte-Carlo Beach shrink by more than 5 metres, slowly disappearing due to erosion.

Emmanuel Taillandier, Deputy Manager of the Monte-Carlo Beach hotel

A renovated beach a stone’s throw from Monaco

“Over the last 20 years, I’ve seen the coastline here at the Monte-Carlo Beach shrink by more than 5 metres, slowly disappearing due to erosion,” explains the hotel’s Deputy Manager. Up until last April, “access to the sea was only possible via concrete”, but fortunately the beach has been restored to its former glory, now looking the same as it did back in the 1930s.

Now covered with small pebbles from the Durance (a river in south-eastern France) and protected by an underwater dyke, the beach has regained its 1000 square metres. The sandy sea bed, with all of its sea grass and rocks, is now home to a rich variety of marine life, creating a real nursery where fish can thrive on the edge of Monaco!

>> READ ALSO: Mediterranean treasures under threat: Riviera beaches eaten away by coastal erosion

A hotel committed to zero waste

At the Monte-Carlo Beach nothing goes to waste; everything can be given a new lease of life. Glass, plastic, lightbulbs and batteries all get recycled and cooking oils are even put to good use too. Once chefs finish with them in the kitchen, the oils are transformed into soap products and other organic kitchen waste is made into granules for use in other areas too.

Emmanuel Taillandier is thrilled that the hotel’s pine forest attracts threatened species of birds / © Alizée Mosconi

Even more surprising is that the hotel collects their guests’ cigarette butts, so an organisation in Marseille can make them into desk accessories. “At the moment we’re thinking about giving a second life to used soaps,” says the Deputy Manager of this hotel, which has been Green Globe accredited since 2014.

Some smaller changes have also helped the hotel to significantly reduce their water consumption, such as cleaning their carpark with an electric blower and advising guests not to change their sheets every day. “This is helping us reduce how many chemical products we use too.”

Since their new chef, Manon Fleury, joined the kitchen last month, she has made further sustainable changes. A master of “zero waste” cooking, she is focusing on local produce, preferring to use wines from Provence over those from other regions. As well as this, she incorporates fresh vegetables from Agerbol farm, in the hills of Roquebrune Cap Martin, not far from Monaco, into her dishes. “We hope to support long-term employment in the region.”

>> READ ALSO: Zero-waste cooking comes to the Michelin-starred Monte-Carlo Beach restaurant