Monaco, a sporting city par excellence
While Monaco is well-known for many things, the micro-state is also a haven for a variety of top-level sporting events. Anchored in Monegasque culture, sports have held, and continue to hold, an important place in the Principality’s landscape. Here are some interesting insights centred around the Principality’s leading competitions.
Monaco Grand Prix (Formula 1)
The legendary urban layout of Monaco, with its sinuous curves and steep bends, make its ideal for such a sporting event. Considered as the most mythical Formula 1 Grand Prix, the Monaco GP is an absolute reference and one of the most prestigious motor races in the world. Since 1929, the Monaco Grand Prix has been held every year, without exception, in the streets of the Principality. Created by Anthony Noghès, son of the president of the Automobile Club de Monaco, the Monaco Grand Prix is one of the oldest Formula 1 Grand Prix.
Interesting fact: With six victories in ten races, including five won in a row, Ayrton Senna holds the record for most wins in the Monaco Grand Prix.
Rallye Monte-Carlo (WRC)
Since 1911, the Monegasque countryside has been marked by the rhythmic humming of the cars in the famous Monte-Carlo Rally. Organised by the Automobile Club de Monaco, the event takes place in January every year—a period when the roads are often dotted with a soft white coat of snow. Made mythical by the fights that followed one another at the wheel of the iconic Alpine A110 or Porsche 911, the Monte-Carlo Rally is one of the most demanding rallies in the world.
Interesting fact: With seven Monte-Carlo victories, Sébastien Loeb is the most successful driver in this Monegasque event. With six wins in the World Rally Championship (WRC), Sébastien Ogier could join his compatriot this year if he wins the rally next week. Ogier actually has seven wins in the Monte-Carlo Rally, but in 2009 the rally was no longer part of the WRC calendar.
Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters (Tennis)
Founded in 1897 and held since 1928 on the clay courts of the Monte-Carlo Country Club in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France, the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters is one of the oldest tennis tournaments in the world—and certainly one of the most well-established, just behind the four Grand Slams. Attended by some of the greatest tennis players in history, the tournament is prized and frequented by many celebrities throughout competition week.
Interesting fact: With 11 titles to his name, including eight in a row, Rafael Nadal is the undisputed champion of the tournament.
AS Monaco (Football)
Eight French Championship titles, five French Cups, one League Cup and one Champions League final, AS Monaco is a household name in France and the world when it comes to football. Some of the biggest names in the sport—Lilian Thuram, Emmanuel Petit, David Trezeguet, Thierry Henry and most recently Kylian Mbappé—were all trained in one of the most beautiful football centres in the industry. Chaired by Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev since 23 December 2011, the AS Monaco was crowned French champion in 2017.
Interesting fact: With eight French league titles to their name, AS Monaco is the third most successful club in the history of the French championship, tied with Paris Saint-Germain and FC Nantes.
Meeting Herculis (Athletics)
The appointment is made every year, usually in July, at the Louis II stadium. Since September 1987, under the aegis of the Monegasque Athletics Federation, presided over by Prince Albert II himself, the Herculis meeting has been welcoming the world’s greatest athletes. Since 2010, the event has been on the Diamond League calendar, comprising fourteen meetings.
Interesting fact: The stat: In 2008, Russian Yelena Isinbayeva broke the world pole vaulting record at the Herculis meeting by jumping 5.04 metres. More recently, the Ethiopian Genzebe Dibaba broke the world record for the 1500 m in 2015 in the spans of Louis II.
A close up on Prince Albert II and his passion for sports
Football, tennis, judo, rowing, sailing, skiing, squash, swimming, modern pentathlon and bobsleigh, Prince Albert II is a true sports enthusiast. Flag bearer of the Monegasque delegation at the opening ceremony of the 1992 Winter Olympic Games in Albertville, the Sovereign also took part in the 1988, 1994, 1998 and 2002 Winter Olympics in bobsleigh, as well as in the Paris-Dakar Rally in 1985 and 1986. He is also a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and President of the Monegasque swimming, athletics, modern pentathlon, bobsleigh, luge and skeleton federations.
A closeup on the Louis II Stadium, a true monument in Monaco
Its uncluttered architecture and innate ability to blend in with the Monegasque landscape make the Louis II Stadium one of the most unique sporting complexes in the world. Located in the heart of the Principality, in the Fontvieille district, the Louis II Stadium glows on match nights with a thousand lights. Visible from all over the heights of Monaco, the Louis II was inaugurated on January 25, 1985, and hosts AS Monaco matches. The modern stadium also houses athletics tracks, an omni-sports hall, is home of the Roca Team, and is even a nautical centre with the capacity of 18,523 seats.