Travels: Day One in Monaco. Les Ballets de Monte Carlo, Buddha Bar and Nobu

by Sasha Wilkins on March 8, 2014 · 7 comments

LES-BALLETS-DES-MONTE-CARLO

Ballet shoe cubby holes backstage at the L’Atelier des Ballets, the home of the Ballets de Monte Carlo.

Monte-carlo

Just before London Fashion Week kicked off, I took a sneaky two days to visit Monaco, lured this time by the promise of a private atelier performance by Les Ballets de Monte Carlo, just before they embarked on a mini world tour. (They’ll be dancing Lac in London at The Coliseum from 9-12 April.)

MONACO-HELICOPTER

We arrived at Nice Airport in torrential rain, although it would take more than a little bad weather to take the shine off the glamour of a helicopter flight across the border to Monaco.  The visibility was poor, as we flew through the rain storm, over the sea.

MONACO-HELIPORT

Suspending any morbid thoughts, it was a glorious experience. Airbound before we had even realised it, the journey took a scant seven minutes to the Helipad in Monaco and, swooping in over the sea, we landed gently, sadly looking at the rain. (Luckily, as you can see from the photo at top, on day two we had the most glorious weather.)

MONACO-HELIPORT

MONACO-HELIPORT-HELICOPTER

It was already late afternoon, so we checked into our hotel, the Novotel Monaco, and changed for our evening at L’Atelier des Ballets, the home of the Ballets de Monte Carlo, and their renowned choreographer-director Jean-Christophe Maillot.

LES-BALLETS-DE-MONTE-CARLO

Before the performance started, we were given a private tour backstage.

LES-BALLETS-DE-MONTE-CARLO

And then, joyfully, we were led into the ballet shoe room.

LES-BALLETS-DE-MONTE-CARLO

Each dancer has a cubby hole, and can get through a pair of shoes every three days. Mostly these came from Freed of London.

LES-BALLETS-DE-MONTE-CARLO

Upstairs, there were costumes from former ballets on display.

LES-BALLETS-DE-MONTE-CARLO

LES-BALLETS-DE-MONTE-CARLO

And in the atrium the costumes for the evening’s performance  of Lac were hanging on rails for the cast.

LES-BALLETS-DES-MONTE-CARLO

Jean-Christophe Maillot gave an engaging talk to the audience before the performance in the atelier space. It was curiously intimate, given that there was no orchestra pit, and that the dancers were warming up behind him.

LES-BALLETS-DE-MONTE-CARLO

After two hours of extraordinary ballet, we came back down to earth with dinner at Nobu in the Fairmont Monte-Carlo, with Jean Francois Gourdon, Communications Director for the Monaco Tourist Authority, who filled us in on all things Monegasque.

BUDDHA-BAR-MONTE-CARLO

Supper done, we headed to the Buddha Bar, a former concert hall, restored and re-gilded with pilasters and cornices beneath an extraordinary 7-metre high ceiling.

BUDDHA-BAR-MONTE-CARLO

Here I am lurking outside.

Monte-carlo

after a few of these cocktails.

BUDDHA-BAR-MONTE-CARLO

Although the spirit was willing, the flesh was weak, and we headed back to our hotel after our drinks, walking through the Place du Casino.

HOTEL-DE-PARIS-MONTE-CARLO

HOTEL-HERMITAGE-MONTE-CARLO

Monte Carlo at night is a wonderful thing.

MONTE-CARLO-CASINO

Les Ballets de Monte Carlo
Buddha-Bar Monte-Carlo, Place du Casino, MC 98000 Monaco
Nobu at The Fairmont Hotel, 12 Avenue des Spélugues, MC 98000 Monaco

Enormous thanks to Société des Bains de Mer de Monaco, Novotel Monaco, Monaco Tourist Authority and everyone at Les Ballets de Monte Carlo for their kind hospitality.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

MAYVIEN March 8, 2014 at 02:28

I want a pair of those ballet shoes. Haha

Reply

Victoria Wildman March 8, 2014 at 07:43

What a treat! I love Monte Carlo and that fabulous ballet.

Reply

Phyllida March 8, 2014 at 18:03

Those costumes look amazing, water wings for ballet dancers?!

Reply

Amelia March 15, 2014 at 11:57

cool

Reply

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