30 April 2010

ARTMONACO - the Living Sculptures

Last night was the opening of ARTMONACO in the Diaghlev Exhibition Hall at the Grimaldi Forum. This is a 35-thousand square foot space and is displaying 2000 pieces of contemporary art from around the world. And last night 'le tout Monaco' was there and it was the best fun, meeting up with friends and seeing some amazing art. All the usual suspects were there, of course - Picasso, Leger, Chagall, Warhol but also aboriginal art from Australia, photography - for example, David LaChapelle's Last Supper was on display. I'll show you one or two examples over the next days.

First tho, we were greeted (last night was the V.I.P evening) not only with champagne but by a living female and male sculpture, both painted gold. Is she posing with her parents in shot below?

29 April 2010

Top Marques - the Lazareth Bike

Lazareth is a French company that makes bikes and what they call 'derived vehicles.' They will also make an out-of-the-ordinary vehicle with 2, 3 or 4 wheels to your specification. Every bike or vehicle is fully built and assembled by hand. Click HERE to read more.

28 April 2010

Top Marques - the $1 million Luxury Armoured Car

You want an armoured car? You want a luxury armoured car? Let me introduce the Prombron (it used to be called RussoBaltique) and is made by Dartz, a Latvian company that has been making luxury armoured vehicles for VIPs for over 100 years. It is the oldest armored car brand in the World. Lenin's famous 1917 speech was given from a RussoBaltique armored car. Other famous clients include Trotsky and Tzar Nicolas.

At previous Top Marques exhibitions in Monaco, the leather interior of the Prombron was derived from the penis of the whale - the inspiration for which was Aristotle Onassis' yacht Christina O, which had bar stool seats made from sperm whale foreskin. Happily, after massive protests including one led by Pamela Anderson, Dartz now use artificial leather and are promoting a Save the Whale campaign on their rather bizarre website - take a look HERE.

This is a $1 million plus bullet proof vehicle with gauges encrusted with diamonds and rubies, and even an exhaust system made from tungsten. It has gold-plated, bulletproof windows and even bulletproof wheels.

Just what we need to pop down to the supermarket...

27 April 2010

Top Marques - Loris Capirossi's 1934 Ford Coupe

No prizes for guessing this is my favourite car at the show. It was tucked away in a corner, no signs, no notices. I asked someone nearby for information and was directed to the far side of the exhibition where I talked to the UK Racing team and learned that this gorgeous car is a 1934 Ford Coupe, totally restored as you see. It's owned by the well-known Italian motorbike champion, Loris Capirossi. Loris Capirossi lives in Monaco hence the local number plate.

26 April 2010

Top Marques - Razor Red!

Supercars and photographers go together. Here is one of the more interesting photographers - I love the red ensemble: hair, skirt - even the bottle top! She was photographing these two cars parked outside the Grimaldi Forum.

One is an PPI R8 Razor GTR based on an Audi A8. Former racing driver and race commentator Ellen Lohr drove the limited-production car during the show. Coincidentally I used to look after Ellen's dog, Bob, which has nothing to do with anything really...!

25 April 2010

Top Marques - the Shoes and the Atomik

Remember the small white car we saw yesterday - you see it again in the smaller photo - it's the Atomik which I gather is a Fiat 500 electric car. Then I noticed the shoes...

Atomik Cars unveiled this electric all-wheel drive version of the Abarth 500 at Top Marques. Running as an EV, the car travels from 0-100 km/h in 5.6 seconds. It now goes into a limited-series production of 50 units.

The publicity for this car shows it photoshopped onto the moon but no one quite knows why. 'Fly Me to the Moon' I suppose - and of course wearing these shoes.

24 April 2010

Top Marques - the Little Cars

Here we are with the little cars - the Mini, the Brabus and the Atomik. I thought the last one was a Fiat which shows how much I know!

23 April 2010

Top Marques - the $52,000 Golf Cart

This is Garia's Soleil de Minuit and is advertised as 'the most expensive golf car ever made by a manufacturer.' It's made at Valmet Automotive in Finland, which is where the Porsche Cayman, Porsche Boxster and Think City are made.

Aside from the pedigree, the golf car features a built-in refrigerator, a carbon roof, two-colored hand-stitched luxury seats, alcantara roof lining and an exclusive personalization program where you can have the Garia painted in your favorite color or matched to your other car or cars.

The cost $52,000 or 39,000 euros. Let's hope your golf is as good as the cart!

22 April 2010

Top Marques - the Decorative Lady

Helmut Hartung in Andorra built this rather strange car that goes really fast (300 km/h). The seats he got from a wrecked Boeing! Helmut is the owner of a German company famous for its high quality motor cycle helmets.

He had the right idea tho in promoting his dream: two pretty girls draped over the car all day which meant it was constantly surrounded by photographers.

21 April 2010

Top Marques - the Fingerprint Scanner

Notice the fingerprint scanner - the small photo shows it more clearly. That's what you have to use to get this Territo Ayrton S to start.

The Ayrton S is completely built by hand. With 627 hp and 1050 kg the maximum speed is over 330 km/h and acceleration from 0 to 100km/h is just 3 seconds. Very much a collector's car. Cost: 352,000 euros.

20 April 2010

Top Marques - the Bentley Salesman

Today I promised something for the ladies...so how about the beautiful Bentley you see below.

Oh, did you think I meant this seriously delicious gentleman? Well of course I did! Meet Stephane who is a salesman at Bentley Motors in Monaco. Frankly, he could sell me a Bentley any day! Pity I don't have the 250,000 to 350,000 euro price tag.

19 April 2010

Top Marques - the Pagani

Sparkling and attracting a lot of attention is this Pagani. Here's a quote from the catalogue:

'Pagani Automobili spa is a specialist manufacturer based in Modena, Italy that established itself as a world leader in the use of carbon fibre technology. The Zonda Cinque is its maximum expression of a search for technical aesthetic and functional detail. Provocative in its design, it becomes the magnificent dream for all customers who buy a personal toy with extraordinary technical performances.'

Petrol heads can click on the smaller photo - or the main one - both will enlarge. This car will cost you around 500,000 euros.

Tomorrow, something for the ladies...

18 April 2010

Top Marques - Making an entrance: Yamaha V Max

This couple made quite an entrance as they turned off Avenue Princess Grace onto the forecourt of the Grimaldi Forum, where their Yamaha V Max went on display.

In the photo below, you see a reflection of an apartment building in the glass of the Grimaldi Forum.

17 April 2010

Top Marques - Trying it on for Size: the Gumpert Apollo

Here's the Gumpert Apollo which this gentleman is trying on for size. This is what the catalogue has to say:

'The GUMPERT Sportwagenmanufaktur GmbH is a manufacturer of exclusive super sports cars based in Germany. In 2001 there was a vision of a new super sports car: A car, which combined the highest dynamics with unmatched driving capabilities. A street-legal car, ready for the race track: the Gumpert apollo.

The apollo provides superior driving abilities beyond all imagination: 650 bhp, up to 224 mph (360 km/h) maximum speed and a breathtaking acceleration from 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) in just 3 seconds. This super sports car offers unlimited fun on the road and serious competition in motor sports. A weapon on four wheels.'

16 April 2010

Top Marques - the Veritas RS III

'Top Marques' - Monaco's fabulous exhibition of super cars started yesterday at the Grimaldi Forum. Here you'll find all the amazing concept cars of the world and that's not all. Before you enter the building you are faced with an airplane and a ship on the forecourt of this exhibition centre. Just to one side is the Veritas RS III. Planes, boats and cars - Monaco doesn't do anything by halves!

Come back over the next days and enjoy the cars, the people and the jewels and drool over what we can't afford.

15 April 2010

'Tenacious' in Port Hercule

Moored a few yards from the luxury yachts in Monaco's Port Hercule is 'Tenacious' a pioneering tall ship - but a tall ship with a big difference. Tenacious, along with her sister ship, Lord Nelson, is owned and operated by the Jubilee Sailing Trust (JST), a registered charity in the UK. They are the only two Class A square-rigged tall ships in the world to be purpose-designed and built to enable people of all physical abilities to sail side-by-side on equal terms.

Although the term 'tall ship' may evoke an image of a ship from a bygone era, both Lord Nelson and Tenacious are equipped with modern communication systems and navigational aids, as well as a host of additional features such as flat, wide decks which facilitate access for wheelchair users, lifts between decks for those with limited mobility and a speaking compass to enable blind and visually impaired crew to take the helm. Eight wheelchair users are welcomed on each voyage. These ships are a reminder of how important simple design changes can be to making an environment inclusive.

In the photograph below, meet Captain Simon Catterson who'll tell you that whilst '50% of the crew may be physically disabled, 100% are actively involved.'

You can read a more detailed article on 'Tenacious' by clicking HERE.

14 April 2010

Monaco Dog Show - Shelties with Friend

It's not easy photographing dogs - or anything else - in the circus tent in Fontvieille. It's dark with the odd bright light. A friend suggested I try the camera at a much higher ISO. This shot of two Shelties and a Pyrenean Mountain Dog was taken at 2000 ISO and personally I like the graininess and the feel of it. Do you?

13 April 2010

Monte Carlo Tennis and the Monte Carlo Bay Hotel

If you get bored with the tennis and I'm sure you won't, turn around and you have a view of the Monte Carlo Bay Hotel.

In the smaller photo - and furthest away - you can see the centre court stands where the biggest matches take place.

12 April 2010

Monte Carlo Tennis - Perfection on Clay

When the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters is on, the clay courts must be perfect. Here the older man shows the younger man how it is done.

11 April 2010

Tennis Balls!

Casino Square is full of tennis balls!

Yesterday was the first day of the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters. Rafael Nadal is defending his title - a title he's won 5 times already. Djokovic is here. Andy Murray has a wild card. As always it should be great tennis in a fabulous setting.

10 April 2010

Monaco Dog Show - Cigarette Break

The Monaco International Dog show takes place each year in the circus tent in Fontvieille. It's a two-day event and this year 170 breeds were on display with exhibitors coming from 15 different countries. This exhibitor has a long wait before entering the ring - time for a cigarette.

To see more dogs exhibited at the show take a look at Riviera Dogs.

'To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring - it was peace.'

~Milan Kundera

09 April 2010

Moon over Grace

This sculpture of Princess Grace stands in a small garden at the western end of Larvotto beach. It was given in 2004 by the Belgian community of Monaco to Prince Rainier - an hommage to Princess Grace. The sculptors are Livia Canestraro and her husband, Stephaan Depuydt.

Note the moon - an early morning shot.

08 April 2010

Morning Run

This promenade, starting at the western end of Larvotto Beach runs right around the Grimaldi Forum. A good place for an early morning run.
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