If you are visiting the Monaco Yacht Show, what do you do? Where do you eat? More importantly, where can you get a good pint of Guinness? Long-time Monaco resident Eddie Jordan shares his insights on living in the principality
Monaco is a very good place to live if you’re involved in sport, and Formula One in particular. The next race on the F1 calendar is always Spa, in Belgium, and you can drive there from here or take a plane from Nice. The race after that is Monza and that’s only two hours away. And the race in Barcelona isn’t far either. So it’s absolutely perfect for a grand prix person to live here for ease of connections. And there are now daily flights to New York and Dubai, so I can only see more and more sports people being attracted to living here.
Prince Albert loves his sport – rugby star Jonny Wilkinson was his guest recently for a weekend – and he’s often at the football watching Monaco play. Some of the events that take place in Monaco are mind-blowing, like the Monte Carlo Rally and the tennis. And as soon as the grand prix is finished, they ship in tons and tons of sand and turn the whole harbour area into an equestrian event. It’s amazing what they do.
I take full advantage of living here. I’m a member of Monte-Carlo Golf Club, and I often see Thierry Boutsen up there, who drove for me all those years ago. Then I go cycling and see lots more F1 drivers, from Paul di Resta to Lewis Hamilton. David Coulthard likes to get on his bike, as does Nico Hülkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo. They all use cycling to great effect. We all went out recently with Alain Prost. He’s 60 now – and he absolutely killed the lot of us.
The night-time pursuits I’m less involved in, but Monaco does have its own versions of “the local”. McCarthy’s is where you go for a pint of Guinness. It’s as good there as anywhere in the world and you can’t imagine the people that pop in there for a pint. A lot of the English-speaking local guys go to Slammers, where they can watch the football and rugby. I quite like Quai des Artistes, which is right on the harbour. Joseph is good, too, and that’s another one by the water. Jimmy’z has a bit of a reputation – you know, a soft drink will cost you 50 quid or something like that, but they don’t charge for entry. Having said that, I think I’ve only been there once and it’s about 75 metres from my front door.
They get some great acts, though. I don’t know who Anastacia is, but she seems to be a big name and is playing there at the moment. Texas have been there, Elton John was on a few nights ago, as were Simple Minds. Living so close, you’d expect there to be loads of noise, but I never hear it. Occasionally at 3 or 4am you’ll hear a Ferrari revving or something, but the police are quickly on top of them.
The sense of security in town is second to none. There are not many cities in the world where you’d have no problem walking home alone at midnight. Some people call it a police state but I would say absolutely not. There is a big police presence but you don’t really see or feel it, and it obviously works – I’ve lived here for 12 years and I’ve yet to hear about a break-in.
Nor do people often see all the hard work that goes into keeping the place as beautiful as it is. There are jet bikes out on the water every morning with scoopers on the front, scooping up all the little bits of paper floating on the water. The beaches are raked every day – seriously. And some people find it a bit ridiculous, but the roads are washed at 5am every day. If you’ve got to get an early flight at the airport, sometimes you have to alter your route as there are all these machines out there cleaning everything.
Being such a small place, you often see some pretty famous faces in the supermarket. I used to run into Novak Djokovic pushing a trolley down the aisle. He’s a great guy. He loves going to the football. We had a good season last term, coming third, so there’ll be a lot of famous faces in town to see Monaco playing in this season’s Champions League.
If you are looking for more insider's tips don't miss our guide to surviving the Monaco Yacht Show.
Eddie Jordan’s fee for this column in Boat International magazine has been donated to charity.