A completely new, totally beautiful larvotto


From an aesthetic standpoint, the project aims to harmonies the facades of the shops. Wide bay windows mounted on modular frames will make it possible to adapt them as needed and to the weather conditions so that the interiors can be opened up or closed in. It will be a modern complex based on “contemporary but non-aggressive” architecture, to use the words of Marie-Pierre Gramaglia, and a “bigger, larger and more generous” beach. Her words are substantiated by the disappearance of the Larvotto beach resort’s characteristic central groyne, which currently divides the basin into two areas. The beach will, therefore, take on the harmonious shape of a bay from one end to the other.


At the same time as the shops are raised, as we have mentioned above, the government is also planning to install a kind of underwater dam made for geobags. They will be invisible from the surface but will break up the swell and make the basin calmer when the weather conditions are rough.


Finally, It should be noted that there will no longer be direct access to the beach from the Le Larvotto car park. In order to avoid vehicles, in particular, delivery vehicles, in the pedestrian street that borders the shops on the shore, a special underground road will be built behind the shops, between the Le Larvotto car park and the shops themselves. Pedestrians who park their vehicles the car park will need to use stairs or lifts or elevators to reach street level before using other access points to go down to the beach.


The works, which are being managed by the Department of Public Works, will begin at the end of the summer and continue until 2022. During the 2020 summer season, the beach will operate in “reduced mode” to use the words of the Minister of Economy and Finance, Jean Castellini, who clarified that retailers “will be compensated” during the various phases of the works.


What changes will the works in Rue du Portier and at the roundabout bring us? What are the aims? These are questions that many people are asking, and we will seek to provide the answer to them in the following pages. Rue du Portier will soon look completely different, while the roundabout will rediscover its green spaces. Another construction site is about to open nearby, however: the project to renovate Le Larvotto, which has recently been presented by the government. A real metamorphosis is underway in this district that is destined to become the gateway to the offshore extension.

Alongside the construction of the offshore extension, Le Portier and Le Larvotto are or soon will be undergoing profound changes. At the Le Portier roundabout, work is actively continuing to create new access points for the offshore extension or as part of it, and a rainwater retention basin. Ultimately, the roundabout will be replanted, but it will no longer have the fountain that was there previously. Rue du Portier is undergoing a vast beautification project that is currently nearing completion, which will transform its lower section into a semi-pedestrian street that will improve both its aesthetic appearance and safety, and above all hide the sides of the dorsal. The result of these works will be that the food establishments will have even more attractive terraces, with large windows that can be opened up during the season.


Last month the Le Larvotto redevelopment plan was presented by Ministers Marie-Pierre Gramaglia and Jean Castellini. This project has been a frequent subject of discussion between the government and the National Council in recent years. A number of different wishes were expressed, such as beautification and renovation of the site, the protection of installations in the case of storms; all, of course, in compliance with the ecological and energy transition objectives of the Principality. The works will begin this autumn, with closures until June 2020. The area will then be reopened in July-August and will be closed again between September 2020 and June 2021 before the reopening of the beach and shops, which is scheduled for the 2021 season. All the renovations are due to be completed at the beginning of 2022.


All these works will make it possible to protect the beach more effectively from storms, with breakwaters placed between the existing seawalls. In addition, they will “provide better quality and more attractive commercial areas, with simple, pure contemporary architecture designed by the architect Renzo Piano, in keeping with the offshore extension at Le Portier”. At the same time, the restaurants will have inside rooms that will be open year-round.
This extremely ambitious project, on which tens of millions of euros will be invested, including a part covered by Anse du Portier, includes the planned enlargement of public spaces, in particular over 15,000 sqm on the upper promenade, with sheltered zones, areas of trees and a playground for children, not forgetting the over one kilometre long cycle path integrated into the promenade. From an energy standpoint, solar energy has been planned to produce 120MWh a year, which is over 80% of the consumption for street lighting, while the thalasso-thermal loop will heat and cool the district, including the beach resort shops.


Suffice to say that the dawn of the new decade, and before the offshore extension works have been completed, this entire district of the Principality will have a more modern and more functional appearance, which will enhance its attractiveness.

This article was originally published in May-July 2019 edition of the Gazette de Monaco.