Monday, July 4, 2022

Prison Life in Monaco

No, it’s not a title for gay porn but in actual fact a real place in Monaco.

The Remand Prison is not a big topic of conversation or really well known by those visiting the Principality on holiday but there have been plenty of urban myths about the place.

After all, those who come to Monaco are surrounded by excessive wealth whether it be by the ultra-expensive sports cars whizzing by, the abundance of luxury boutiques, breathtaking 5-star hotels, and of course the Prince’s Palace, along with royal history, just to name a few things.

All this and the fact that Monaco is known around the world as being one of the safest places to reside in with more police per capita than anywhere else in the world makes it feel untouchable by crime.

The Remand Prison in Monaco is remarkably well hidden yet also out in the open with a fortress-type wall that runs towards the sea along a cliff with a view of the Mediterranean next to the Oceanography Museum and in front of the open-air cinema.

Hanging out with locals, if the subject of the prison in Monaco comes up, people tend to roll their eyes and even laugh about the place because of the supposed reputation for it being like staying in a 5-star hotel. But those that have been placed there or have visited people there tend to say it’s the real deal.

The Remand Prison was founded at the end of the nineteenth century. In 1986, the Government of the Principality carried out renovations to expand the Remand Prison to three cell blocks. The rumored seaside views are very few and small and all but a myth. Only three cells in the prison have a seaside view and those are located in the women’s section and reserved for those serving long sentences. The views can only be seen through a small window with bars.

Just a short walk from the Prince’s Palace, the discreet property is located mostly underground, with small passageways, very little natural light, plenty of humidity, and minimal recreational spaces for inmates, and is far from anything fancy you’d have in mind being in Monaco.

A friend of mine originally from the UK was once drunk at the port with friends and told me how he made the stupid decision to try and drive out of the Principality after a night out drinking while trying to outrun the police in his car when he was arrested at the border.

He was processed and ended up staying in the prison for a few days. The friend mentioned it wasn’t luxurious in the least but did give him time to think about his actions in what he felt was a safe environment. He was given three-course meals and an older prisoner taught him how to play chess. He mentioned he wouldn’t want to go through all that again but the experience did make him reflect on his life more. 

The prison director has recently expressed that the detainees’ only deprivation inside is their freedom.

Prisoners are protected from all forms of violence and fights are avoided by keeping certain inmates separated. The health of inmates is monitored with doctor’s exams 24 hours after their arrival. The medical office is made up of three nurses, a doctor comes three times a week, a dentist every two weeks, plus a psychologist visits twice a week, and a psychiatrist once a week.

There are five visiting rooms and no separation barriers between detainees and visitors. Most jail cells are equipped with a TV, fridge, and air conditioning. And inmates have the opportunity to be paid for odd jobs around the prison, including painting or small repairs.

So overall the Remand prison is known for being comfortable, but with a court system that favors maximum sentences for even the smallest of crimes, it’s probably better to behave oneself.

Plus, reputation is everything. Not only in Monaco but the surrounding region in France.

Monday, June 20, 2022

Carmela Restaurant in Vieux Nice

An Italian food lover's delight.

Situated at the end of the Cours Saleya in Vieux Nice (3 Place Charles Felix, 06300 Nice France), just steps away from the building where the artist Matisse once lived and worked and literally one minute from the beach is Carmela. A fabulous Italian restaurant that must be experienced on your next visit to Nice.

Now, in no way would I consider myself a foodie. But I do know what I like and it’s rare I write about a restaurant unless I love it and I think other people should know about it so that they can discover the establishment.

As anyone who knows the area, the Cours Saleya in historic Vieux Nice is filled with a variety of restaurant choices, each offering its take on food and cultures in general. There are so many places to choose from that it can be confusing as to where to go so that you are not in yet another tourist trap.

The Carmela restaurant stands out on its own, not in a pretentious way, just confident enough in knowing that the quality and service they provide will speak for itself and it certainly does, every time.

Since we are part of an international travel destination, a region where one has so many choices when it comes to pretty much everything, the general rule of thumb is, that when you get a recommendation by a local, you take note. 

My first visit to Carmela was on the recommendation of one of my business partners, where, easily and without reservations, we were quickly seated on the outdoor terrace during the height of the lunch hour and taken care of by the waiters as though we were family. 

The menu was filled with an amazing array of choices (yet not too many leaving one confused). In the end, we both opted for the plat du jour which was beef tagliata, and roasted potatoes, all lightly enhanced with not only their juices but a delicate, tasty sauce, and included a side salad, which we paired, oddly, with mojitos but it worked. 

On another visit, with another business partner, we were accommodated quickly and had the choice of sitting on the terrace with the buzz of everyone enjoying their meal or sitting inside. Since we had some business to discuss, we went to a more quiet corner inside the beautifully designed restaurant so that we could both eat and discuss a work project. 

My associate loved her enticing fish plate and grilled vegetables and I had Tagliatelle al Ragù di Manzo which tasted out of this world and very filling, and although I felt fully satisfied afterward, my first thoughts were that I couldn’t wait to have this meal again with its homemade flair. 

It should be noted, that again, we had the most wonderful, attentive service, by some of the best-looking staff around, who are friendly, speak various languages and with not a hint of attitude in the least. 

Time and again I find myself going back to this restaurant. The food, drinks, and service at Carmela are divine. It would just take too long to describe every meal and experience I have had there with others but I already feel like the place has become a favorite that cannot recommend it enough, and at very reasonable prices as well. This means, that if you are a visitor, you won’t feel taken advantage of, instead, you will be made to feel most welcome. 

At Carmela, a balance can be found between the sometimes bustling location that captures the energy of the nearby crowds yet has a separateness that makes for a better dining experience. Here, you can relax or entertain with family and friends while seemingly watching the world go by while deciding on an array of freshly made Italian food choices that are most memorable. 

As a local, I highly recommend, Carmela.

Photos credit: Carmela Restaurant

Thursday, June 16, 2022


Non-scientific. Just putting it out there. More so a curious sociological observation.

Ok, guys, we get it. You’re a couple looking for some extra fun on a Saturday night as a local or maybe
during your vacation by having a third join you both for some sexcapades. Love it, can get into it, but hang on for a minute.

We’ve apparently come a long way as open relationships have been accepted for years. I’ve had my fair share of mutual fun with couples and am not against it in any way, but of late, it seems like there is something else going on. Basically, are you all ok?

While I was out with some buddies recently one evening, during one of our conversations, generally, about the increase in tourism we have seen with those coming into the region for their holidays this summer, we mentioned how great it is to see people showing up here after the pandemic and enjoying life again.

Naturally, one of the guys brought up the apps like Grindr and Scruff as this time of year as it changes the scene up from the usual round of locals, which is also refreshing.

What came next in the conversation surprised me, as I thought I was the only one that noticed this new phenomenon of sorts pertaining to the amount of couples (again, all good with couples), putting a list of perceived entitled demands of their expectations of others in the profiles.

I kept quiet so that I could hear my friend's conversations about this subject. The consensus was most of the couples were very good-looking, and seemed nice enough but then they would read the long list of expectations in order just to meet them or read about it through chat to perhaps move further, which tended to put most of my friends off a couple altogether.

Is this a new trend? 

From what I’ve seen on the apps and from what my friends told me, some of the profiles of the couples would only offer up maybe two or three pics, usually of their chests, sometimes their whole bodies with faces too, so it seemed like what one would expect in a profile.

But then their list would state, that they expected recent photos (understandable), that any action would happen at your place, (ok, cool), but that you are then to supply the booze, drugs (chems), sometimes all types of underwear, leather gear, uniforms, fetish gear, toys, lubes, et al. In a very expected manner and when the time is appropriate for them.

What was really off-putting for my friends, and personally I found a bit one-sided. Was how they then practically detailed and scheduled, if not in their profile, then most definitely in their chat what they expected of you.

Which one will do what with who first, or both at the same time, how long the sex position should take place, who then does whatever next, along with any other number of scenarios they have dreamed up and obviously agreed to amongst themselves without asking what you are into or expect.

Very premeditated.

Overall, seemingly a high degree of expectations, just for allowing you to come to fulfill
their fantasies for the threesome, especially if it is part of their vacation plan.

There seems to be a lot of fantasizing going on, and we all love fantasy but realism in those situations tends to be something else.

We also tended to agree the biggest turn-off was the sense of entitlement on the profiles and how very rarely would there be a question either on the profile or in any of our discussions of what we, as individuals might like in return as our part of the fun.

Of course, this was then on my mind the rest of the week knowing that I wasn’t the only one
who noticed what seemed to be going on and I wanted to possibly learn more.

I have read that in the past after a pandemic, history has shown that people, once they get a
sense of their freedom again, tend to go all out and there will even be a degree of confusion for the first while, as people navigate and gain control of their lives again and eventually a new balance will be struck, so hopefully, this is one of those cases as the single men and their profiles seem to be more laid back, while it seemed a strong proportion of the couples profiles have increasing become intense.

Of course, since I’m a huge sociology buff. Yet knowing I will probably never get a clear answer, on occasion, while taking the risk of being blocked, I have messaged the couples on the apps gently, out of curiosity, how their list of expectations came about.

There was a mix of those who either ignored the question, answered or asked about something else, or were stunned to even be asked such a thing while stating this was how they assumed things were done from viewing other couple’s profiles, speaking with friends, or in their own country, and usually they had their own agreement put in place beforehand and didn’t think much more about it.

Fair enough.

When pressed (again gently) further, do they find their expectations become met? And have there been successes with this method? Obviously, not scientifically, it seemed half said their expectations couldn’t be met and they couldn’t understand why.

Others actually complained to me about the individual they have met up usually not having everything they expected. But are any of us 100% happy with an app hook-up?

mentioned, for example, no booze and/or bad drugs. Or the person not looking like his profile pics (we’ve all been there) and/or not providing the lubes they liked, etc. Each answer was different and yet still seemed from the couple’s perspective.

I did push it further, which to be honest, did end up getting me blocked more than once - if that mattered, and asked if they too were given a list of expectations to be provided for a party-type atmosphere with them being a couple and that it had to be on the individual’s schedule.

Again they seemed shocked to even be asked that but most admitted they hadn’t thought about it that way while others stated they only generally get asked for more photos.

Some of the men
did admit though to being told off in one of those, “Who do you think you are?!” moments. Some of the couples told me they are happy to also share and provide whatever might be needed to make for a fun evening, which was good to hear and should perhaps be
mentioned in their profile or chat as well.

Now it seems some couples are looking for a needle in a haystack (so to speak) with a shopping list that needs to be fulfilled in order to meet up, on top of a model face and body.

A friend of mine
laughed and said, “They are looking for a unicorn.” While other single men I know have said, “What makes them so special?” And tended to ignore them.

Which, I agree, to each their own,
yet for some reason, a fascinating approach to hooking up.

I do think it is part of a healthy relationship, especially an open relationship if scenarios are discussed before any possible encounters.

Maybe it’s a way of protecting themselves? Maybe subconsciously they don’t want to have an open relationship so the expectations are high to make hookups harder to obtain? Maybe they add everything they expect and just hope for the best and still have fun? Maybe they are already in relationship trouble and think a threesome or full-on group sex can make things better? Or maybe, this is just what they consider to be a part of their lifestyle and fun?

There is a lot more I could say about couples and their expectations and what it might all mean but I also feel that I am pushing it with just posting my thoughts on the new dynamics of threesomes of late. And maybe it's not really a trend?

Through all of this, in my opinion, there is no real harm, and it all makes for an interesting discussion. I think people are just excited again to have a sense of freedom again and are not holding back.

I would suggest, no matter where you are if you are a couple, and maybe wondering why you aren’t both generating a lot of attention on your favorite gay hookup app, especially if you are traveling or live locally, go for a more realistic approach, short and sweet.

And even though chatting on an
app can feel like a waste of time, it might make things move forward quicker, seem more balanced and bring together a better plan of action for everyone involved which can mean more fun.

I know my gay friends and I in the region love it when new men arrive in town for some both friendship and fun. And we know how some of you are looking to find that special person(s) you can tell stories about later once back home with friends about your European lover(s).

As they say, you’ll get more bees with honey.

Friday, June 10, 2022

A Facelift for the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco


If you know the Principality of Monaco, you know it’s an ever-changing place.

With the expansion onto the sea of the new eco-district of Mareterra, currently, under construction by the Monegasque government, it’s fitting that the Grimaldi Forum also be updated for the future ahead.

Twenty-five years after the initial completion of the Grimaldi Forum, in 2025 a new unveiling of a vast extension, boosting exhibition capacity by an impressive 50% will be ready for everyone to enjoy.

The new site, created as part of the land reclamation project, will add an extra 6,000 m2 to the current 35,000 m2 space.

It will consist of three zones: the Diaghilev Gallery, the Carré and Patio Rooms, and the Pinède Hall – the largest of the three spaces. Each will offer plenty of surface area to accommodate exhibition stands and meeting rooms, as well as catering.

In making the most of the Principality’s exceptional location and its 300 days of sunshine per year, 2,000 m2 of outdoor space will also be created, including the new Indigo terrace, the Emeraude Forecourt, the Patio, the Ravel terrace with a view of the open sea, and the covered Patio.

This new six-hectare extension of the Principality will offer housing, a car park, shops, restaurants, a pine trees forest, and a marina. All adhering to very strict environmental requirements as it is part of the Principality’s objective to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

In total, there will be 1,500 solar panels installed on the Grimaldi Forum’s roof supplying energy to the surrounding buildings and this new district.
With the recent renovations of the nearby Larvotto beach, containing its new shops and restaurants, the update to the Grimaldi Forum is an additional asset that will enable congress participants to enjoy all that Monaco has to offer close to the congress centre.

The expansion will allow the Grimaldi Forum to build upon its current ability to host an average of 100 events and 250,000 visitors per year and will also enable more events to be held simultaneously. 


Photo credits: Grimaldi-Forum Monaco