It is no secret that Monaco has attracted the rich and famous for many decades. Becoming a princess, Grace Kelly opened this heavenly place for her Hollywood friends. Alfred Hitchcock loved the Principality not less than the Côte d’Azur. Roman Polanski, fascinated by Formula 1, shot his documentary «Champion’s Day» here. However, neither one nor the other stayed in the Principality for a long time.
Nevertheless, some famous personalities from the creative world chose Monaco as their home. In the 90s, you would see top models Claudia Schiffer, Karen Mulder, Eva Herzigová, as well as Belgian actor Jean-Claude Van Damme, who could not resist the charm of the Principality and remained here for several years.
Who else from the artistic elite can be seen on the streets of Monaco?
Shirley Bassey is Bondiana’s diamond voice. The Cardiff native got her fame thanks to the performance of the soundtrack for the film about the famous super-agent James Bond.
Who would have thought that Shirley, who had left school at the age of 14 to work at a factory, would become a world famous blues and jazz singer? At the same time she started developing her musical talent, and over time the performances in pubs turned into a tour of England and the recording of the first single «Burn My Candle».
Today, the singer, who recorded «Goldfinger», «Diamonds Are Forever» and other songs from James Bond movies, lives between London and Monaco. She also was awarded the Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, by Queen Elizabeth II.
In May 2019, Dame Shirley Bassey received the freedom of her home city of Cardiff. This honour was previously granted to Winston Churchill, Nelson Mandela and Pope John Paul II.
Meets with Fabrice Kerhervé
Italian beauty Ornella Muti modelled as a teenager and made her film debut in 1970 in «La moglie più bella» («The Most Beautiful Wife»). Ornella has worked with such European cinematic greats as Francesco Rosi and Volker Schlöndorff; her most celebrated appearances have been in the erotic psychological dramas directed by Marco Ferreri. American movie fans got an eyeful of Ornella Muti as the sensuous Princess Aura in the 1980’s film Flash Gordon, while television fans were treated to Ornella’s formidable presence in the 1987 TV movie Casanova (1987).
She was voted «The Most Beautiful Woman in the World» in 1994 by a worldwide poll of readers of the magazine Class. The same year, the star, known due to the role of Lisa Silvestri in «Il Bisbetico Domato» («The Taming of the Scoundrel»), became a resident of Monaco. Ornella’s grandparents were born in St. Petersburg. When they moved to Estonia, the mother of the future actress was born.
For several years, the movie star has been working with Russian directors. The Italian beauty even stated that she would like to receive Russian citizenship. Nowadays, the actress has a resident permit in Moscow, as she is taking part in a local project.
Married to Ali Hewson
Irishman Paul David Hewson is well known as Bono. You have probably seen the front man of U2 on the beach of Saint-Tropez or in one of the bars in Antibes. If you take a train from Nice to Monaco, you can see his villa bought for 3 million euros. The mansion is located not far from Èze, and Robert De Niro, Angelina Jolie, Cindy Crawford, Penélope Cruz and others visited the place.
You can also meet the Irish musician in Monaco, as he is a Monegasque resident. The singer can sometimes be seen in Jimmy’z nightclub.
In addition to performing with U2 band, thanks to which he gained his fame, Bono worked with Roy Orbison, Tina Turner, Frank Sinatra, Luciano Pavarotti and many other famous musicians. He is also the managing director of Elevation Partners.
The singer also gives charity concerts, including his performance on the streets of Dublin to collect money for homeless people. In addition, in 2018, he met with Pope Francis to discuss the problem of pedophilia in the church.
Walking through the Principality, you probably saw the works of the Colombian sculptor Fernando Botero. One of them, «Adam and Eve», is located near the Monte-Carlo Casino. The unique style of the Colombian artist is traced in the peculiar forms of his sculptures: the heroes of biblical history created by Botero can boast of their magnificent forms. Another «plump» sculpture depicting a woman with a cigarette is located in Fontvieille Park.
At the very beginning of his career, he spent several years in Spain, then studied in Paris and Florence. Today, Botero is considered one of the most recognizable sculptors of Latin America, thanks to his «curvy» characters depicted in paintings and sculptures.
Having settled in Monaco, Fernando did not stop travelling. The 87-year-old artist is a true living legend in the art world. Botero, who is also called the «artist of fat ladies», lives between the Principality and several other cities where his studios are located.
Opera singer, actor
Married to Isabelle Raimondi
Ruggero Raimondi, famous for his impressive voice, settled in Monaco. The opera singer and actor became popular thanks to the part of Don Juan in the eponymous opera, which he performed more than 400 times during his career.
Ruggero, who began his professional career at the age of 22, gained popularity between the 1970s and 1980s. At that time the singer performed at prestigious opera houses, and also made studio recordings. The Italian bass-baritone tried himself in different genres by recording «Hollywood and Broadway songs». He has several opera productions, including «The Marriage of Figaro».
The famous Don Juan became Monegasque under Prince Albert II. In 2003, Ruggero brought the opera «Don Carlos» onto the stage of the Monte-Carlo Opera.
Today, this Monegasque gentleman of Italian origin lives in the Principality with his wife Isabelle, whom he met back in 1971.
Didier was born in Monaco in 1953. Having received his first prize at the Conservatory of Monaco at the age of 15, the boy went to Paris. After his debut in the musical field at the age of 17, the young man began to write songs and opens for Johnny Hallyday, Claude François and Joe Dassin.
However, the musician from Monaco becomes famous after 1977, when he creates the group Space. Millions of copies of their albums were spread around the world.
The popularity of the musician is then only just beginning to grow. The huge success of his group aroused interest in the Soviet Union, where Didier arrived at the invitation of the Ministry of Culture to give 21 concerts in the country. The group performs in Moscow, Leningrad, Kiev and other cities.
In the mid-80s, Didier collaborated with Gloria Gaynor, an American diva, for whom he wrote two singles «My Love is Music» and «If I Need You», thus conquering the audience on the other side of the Atlantic.
In recent years, the career of the musician is closely connected with Russia. So, in 2013, for the 30th anniversary of the first tour of Space in Soviet Union, he performed in the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. The Italian cosmonaut Luca Parmitano played together with Didier the famous composition «Magic Fly» directly from International Space Station.
Married to Albert Koski
The name of Danièle, who was born in Monaco in 1942, is directly connected with French cinema, in particular, with the films «La Boum» with Sophie Marceau and «La Grande Vadrouille» with Louis de Funès and Bourvil, where Thompson was responsible for the script.
Madame Thompson, who was born in the creative family of Gérard Oury and Jacqueline Roman, tried herself in different roles — from writer to film director.
In an exclusive interview for HelloMonaco, Danièle said that almost immediately after her birth, the family had left the Principality. However, her story with Monaco was not over yet.
«In my childhood I often went there, says Danièle. We spent there every summer. Now I visit there from time to time, as my life partner is a resident of Monaco».
The Principality of Monaco undoubtedly occupies an important part of the life of Danièle Thompson, as the famous scriptwriter told us: «I would say that there are four places where I feel at home. Paris, where I spend most of the time, Monaco, which occupies an important place in my life, because I was born there, Saint-Tropez and New York, where I have lived for 10 years».
Marc Giacone is a real one-man band. In addition to playing the organ, Marс composes music for the organ, harp, piano, flute and other instruments. His compositions can be heard on the radio and in the movies.
Marc was born in Monaco in 1954. The composer belongs to a new generation of musicians who can combine various forms of musical expression, including jazz, folklore and various sound effects, etc.
Marc also tried his hand at journalism by creating a satirical website Monaco Politic Circus. He did not achieve great success in this field, as local politicians didn’t appreciate the humour of his sketches.
Lisa Selesner (Lisa S.)
Married to Daniel Wu
Lisa, who was born in Monaco, did not stay long in the Principality. Together with her family she moved to the United States, her mother’s country.
Lisa grew up in New York and at the age of 14 began her modeling career. When Lisa turned 25, she moved to Hong Kong, where she took advantage of her exotic appearance catwalking and appearing in ad campaigns for different brands like De Beers, Citibank and Olay.
Before her daughter’s birth in 2013, Lisa played in several films, including «Rob B-Hood» with Jackie Chan.
Since 2010, Lisa has been married to Hong Kong actor of American origin Daniel Wu.
Wladimir is a French actor of Bulgarian origin, born in Monaco in 1954. The future actor went to Paris, where he studied at the Higher National Conservatory of Dramatic Art. After studying, Vladimir’s career began to develop rapidly. He received his first role in 1983, starring in the movie «Danton».
He surely inherited his passion for art from his father Luben Yordanoff, a Bulgarian musician, who had become Monegasque.
During his film career, Wladimir appeared in more than 60 films, and also played in the theatre. In 2016, he appeared in the play «Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?» For his interpretation of Edward Alby, the actor from Monaco received the Molière award.
Shani was born in Monaco to a family born in Sri Lanka. The girl showed extraordinary talent in playing the piano, and her hard work paid off. At six years old, the girl was accepted in the program created by the Princess Grace Foundation for children with special musical talent. Later, she studied at the Academy of Prince Rainier III.
Already at the beginning of her career, Shani performed with the orchestras of Paris, Warsaw, Bordeaux, Sweden and many others. The young lady gave recitals in Russia, Japan, Austria and other countries.
In addition, Shani releases CDs specifically for young people, and also takes part in various festivals.
Kees is a Dutch sculptor whose work can be seen in the Principality. He created the statue of Princess Grace, which is now in the Rose Garden of Fontvieille. Another of his works called Malizia, is located on Place du Palais. And this is not the complete list!
In his teenage years, Kees, a native of Haarlem, moved to Amsterdam, where he wanted to study art. Interestingly, this period greatly influenced the future of the 16-year-old Kees. The fact is that due to the lack of places in the art school, the boy was offered a year to study at the faculty of sculpture. It is not difficult to guess what happened next. Today, one can find his works in different parts of the world.
In 1970, TIME magazine devoted a whole article to Kees Verkade, which took him to the next level — and orders really started pouring in. One of his most famous customers was Prince Rainier III. Going back to the statue of Princess Grace, who died in a car accident, the sculptor was offered a place in the palace, where he worked on the statue of the Princess of the Rock. He also worked on statuettes for the annual Princess Grace Foundation Award.
Philippe Pastor was born in 1961. He became famous throughout the world: from Europe and Asia to Africa and across the Atlantic. The artist works between Monaco and Spain, he also comes from one of the richest families in the Principality and is the son of Victor Pastor, a businessman in real estate.
The sculptor works with various natural materials: minerals and wood, etc., attracting public attention to the problem of the interaction between man and nature. The artist was able to convey his message, mainly due to cooperation with the United Nations and participation in the United Nations Environment Program.
Philippe Pastor has several times participated in the Biennale of Venice, and his paintings have been auctioned off by Sotheby’s and Christie’s houses.
Zhang Zhang is the first violin of the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra. She was born into a creative family in China and she inherited her love for music from her father, who was a famous violinist in the 60s. Her mother, a figure skating champion, became a «cultural icon», according to her daughter.
After leaving her country at the age of 10, Zhang Zhang studied music while travelling with her family, then at the university and the conservatory in Lausanne. Her talent and work led her to Monaco, where she became part of the Monte-Carlo orchestra. According to Zhang Zhang, only six out of 100 violinists were chosen by the jury during the auditions. And she was among the 6 finalists.
For more than 10 years, Zhang Zhang has been involved in charity projects, which support various organizations, including the Nicolas Hulot Foundation.
Maxim Vengerov is the first violinist in the world who has won two Grammy awards. Love of music is undoubtedly in his genes, because he was born into the creative family of an oboist in the Novosibirsk Philharmonic Orchestra and the headmistress of the music school. The boy took to the violin for the first time at the age of 4 and has since never been able to keep his hands off it.
Maxim is definitely a citizen of the world. He has performed in every corner of the globe. He is a citizen of Germany, Israel and a resident of Monaco. The violinist and conductor has lived here for more than 5 years and in one of his interviews he revealed that it was convenient and practical to live in the Principality, both for his wife Olga and for their two daughters Lisa and Polina.
In addition to concerts, Maxim taught at the London Royal Academy of Music, and also collaborated with UNICEF, performing for children of Uganda and Kosovo, etc.
Jean-Christophe Maillot was born in the French town of Tours, but did not stay there for long. Today, the choreographer works with the Monte-Carlo Ballet, surprising the local audience and touring with his dancers all around the world. Before settling down the Principality, Jean-Christophe was a soloist in the Hamburg Ballet, as well as a choreographer and director of the ballet in his hometown.
Since 1993, Jean-Christophe has been creating magic in Monaco as artistic director. In addition, he staged «The Taming of the Shrew» for the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow.
Matéo is a French sculptor of Croatian origin. Today he lives and works in Monaco.
The boy moved to Paris with his family at the age of 10. He spent a lot of time in the Louvre, studying sculpture. Then the young man entered the National High School of Modern Arts, where he studied design and sculpture. Matéo graduated as one of the best students.
For many years he was working in the field of advertising and then he went to the Côte d’Azur for work. He decided to remain on the Riviera. In the 80s, the sculptor met the Princely family of Monaco. Prince Rainier III praised the work of Matéo, regularly visiting the exhibitions of the artist. Since 2009, Matéo has been actively collaborating with Prince Albert II. He regularly donates part of the proceeds from his works’ sales to the Prince’s foundation.
Some of Matéo’s creations can be found on the streets of Monaco and Nice. His sculpture «The Hymn of Life» is actually located in La Condamine. Also, Mornar created a monument called «La Stèle du souvenir» and installed it in Nice. Moreover, the legendary Hotel Negresco acquired one of his most famous works, the bronze sculpture «Récréation» weighing 250 kilograms.
Lukas Avalon is a Monaco-based young urban artist. Using a fast painting style, Lukas captures essential elements of street art bringing them onto canvas. Inspired by Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat, his works pay tribute to the most prominent personalities of modern times: from Kate Moss to David Bowie, Pamela Anderson and, of course, Princess Grace of Monaco. The artist also takes part in charity events: his colourful portrait of Grace Kelly was sold during Fight Aids auction for an impressive sum of 21 000 euros.