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Festivals in Monaco

Monte Carlo Circus Festival

Prince Rainier III created the International Circus Festival of Monte-Carlo in 1974 to give support to the circus that he loved so much, and especially to the families of Cirque. In this spirit, the Organising Committee has decided to raise a new International Festival for Young Artists under the Honorary Presidency of HSH Princess Stéphanie and in collaboration with his eldest daughter, Pauline, President of the Jury. The festival will be the only competition for Young Artists Circus performed in a real circus ring, the International Circus Festival in Monaco.

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Monte Carlo Rally

The Monte Carlo Rally (officially Rallye Automobile Monte-Carlo) is a rallying event organised each year by the Automobile Club de Monaco which also organises the Formula One Monaco Grand Prix and the Rallye Monte-Carlo Historique. The rally takes place along theFrench Riviera in the Principality of Monaco and southeast France. From its inception in 1911 by Prince Albert I, this rally, under difficult and demanding conditions, was an important means of testing the latest improvements and innovations to automobiles. Winning the rally gave the car a great deal of credibility and publicity.

The 1966 event was the most controversial in the history of the Rally. The first four finishers, driving three Mini-Coopers, Timo Mäkinen, Rauno Aaltonen and Paddy Hopkirk, and Roger Clark’s 4th-placed Ford Cortina “were excluded for having iodine vapour, single filament bulbs in their standard headlamps instead of double-filament dipping bulbs.” This elevated Pauli Toivonen (Citroën ID) into first place overall. Rosemary Smith (Hillman Imp) was also disqualified from sixth place, after winning the Coupe des Dames, the ladies’ class. In all, ten cars were disqualified. The controversy that followed damaged the credibility of the event. The headline in Motor Sport: “The Monte Carlo Fiasco.” From 1973 to 2008 the rally was held in January as the first event of the FIA World Rally Championship, but since 2009 it has been the opening round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC) programme. As recently as 1991, competitors were able to choose their starting points from approximately five venues roughly equidistant from Monte Carlo (one of Monaco’s administrative areas) itself. With often varying conditions at each starting point (typically comprising dry tarmac, wet tarmac, snow, and ice, sometimes all in a single stage of the rally), this placed a big emphasis on tyre choices, as a driver has to balance the need for grip on ice and snow with the need for grip on dry tarmac. For the driver, this is often a difficult choice as the tyres that work well on snow and ice normally perform badly on dry tarmac.

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Monaco Marathon

The Monaco Marathon or the Monaco and the Riviera Marathon (French: Marathon de Monaco et des Riviera) is a marathon run every year starting and finishing in Monaco. It crosses the border to France and Italy and goes along the coast to a turning point in Ventimiglia, Italy and back again to Monaco. There is also a 10 km race run entirely inside Monaco. The marathon is run in March every year. In 2009 there were around 700 marathon participants, plus around 1000 participants in the 10 km race. Due to the race’s coincidence with French regional elections in 2010, the event was shortened to a half marathon, and Dennis Mehlfeld of Germany and American runner Heidi Freitagwon the men’s and women’s races, respectively. The 10 km race continued as originally planned and a total of 1800 runners from 39 countries took part in the day’s events that year.

Monte Carlo Spring Arts Festival

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Christmas Festival

The traditional Monaco Christmas Village is underway on Monaco’s Port Hercule, with a host of fun activities and events for kids and families including storytelling, puppet shows, karaoke, rides, stalls selling every kind of Christmas delicacy, and the obligatory big wheel. The village comes alive every day from two in the afternoon

The chief attraction, on the 18th December, is the Imperial Chinese Circus. They have visited before, but not on ice! This year we are promised all the usual contortionists, spinning plates, diabolos, unicyclists and acrobats – a real voyage to the heart of Chinese history and legends. But for the first time the performance will take place on the glassy surface of the Piscine Rainier III.

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