The propylaea: part of an exciting new development in monaco

The Propylaea –  an integral part of one of the most innovative new developments in Monaco – is slowly taking shape, allowing residents to imagine what the Principality’s unique gateway will look like on completion.In ancient Greek architecture, a propylaea is a monumental gateway, with the prototypical Greek example being the structural entrance to the Acropolis in Athens.

Centuries after one of the first propylaeums was built in Ancient Greece, a new monumental gateway is near completion in the Principality of Monaco. The iconic new structure ‘composed of a set of columns and a cover’ is part of the Jardin Exotique project currently under construction in the west of Monaco. 


The project, carried out by SAM Fine Properties Monte-Carlo and designed by architects Fabrice Notari and Rudy Ricciotti, is part of the redevelopment of the city’s entrance. When finished, it will consist of a building with 66 apartments and 4 commercial premises, another building for office use, and more than 1,800 parking spaces. The Propylaea, which covers the road that leads from the A8 motorway bringing visitors from Nice and Italy, will house the development’s pedestrian plaza. 

Speaking about the unusual edifice which has courted much controversy in recent years, Fabrice Notari said: “It is a way of making a large pedestrian path that starts from the Jardin Exotique, going outside the greenhouses, and finally to the public garden it will support – the latter being composed of a planted arrangement and plant boxes – so that there is no break with the cliff.”

As with many new developments in Monacowork was temporarily halted on the Jardin Exotique project during the height of the confinement enforced due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, after one month of confinement the workforce was allowed to return to the site to continue the project. 

In fact, the confinement greatly helped the construction workers to speed up the project as they were able to take advantage of the lack of traffic on the roads. Initially planned to take place solely at night, work on the bridge was carried out between 7:30am and 10pm during  the lockdown.

“We took advantage of the context,” Fabrice Notari explained. “These are handling works that require traffic to be stopped because the crane is placed on the road to lift bulky objects. 

From a logistical point of view, the operation was made easier by taking place during the day.” Work on Monaco’s new gateway is almost completed, including the bridge which at seven metres above road level is certainly higher than most in the Principality. 

“As this is an access point to Monaco, there had to be sufficient height, especially for the vast majority of large vehicles,” Fabrice Notari said, adding that “it marks the entrance to Monaco in a monumental way.”