Amber Lounge Monaco 2019 : Unlock The Excitement

Amber Lounge Monaco’s events are the highlight of the social calendar during the legendary Monaco Grand Prix.

In 2019, Amber Lounge will host VIP race viewing and celebrity yachts, a one-of-a-kind F1™ Driver Fashion Show, fine dining, live Charity Auction, and three nights of euphoric after parties with unforgettable live entertainment.

The most exhilarating experience into the glamour and excitement of Formula 1’s most anticipated Grand Prix.

“Every Formula 1 driver has Amber Lounge on speed dial after a race; it’s the only place to celebrate with friends and team members.” – Kimi Räikkönen, Alfa Romeo Racing F1 Driver

A World of VIP Parties during Monaco Grand Prix

Plunge deep into the heart of Formula 1 and discover Amber Lounge, where a world of glamour and luxury awaits. Made in Monaco, for over 15 years Amber Lounge has affirmed its infamous reputation as the most vibrant, sexy, star-studded party with great networking opportunities. The original and most exclusive Grand Prix parties that will take your breath away.

Friday 24 May :  Fashion & U*NITE / White Ice Theme

Kick off the Monaco Grand Prix weekend in style with the innovative clubbing concept U*NITE. Combining the prestigious Amber Lounge Fashion Show featuring F1 drivers, charity auctions, gourmet dining and Fashion After Party.

Guests are encouraged to dress to impress as Amber Lounge brings a white/ice theme for the first time! Step into another world in the Arctic Lounge hosted by Arctic Blue Gin where Ice Queens will serve the new Finnish beverage, which was Spirit of the Year 2018.

Sigma, world-renown popular UK act will spin an iconic DJ set at the Amber Lounge Monaco Fashion Show After Party, Friday May 24th.   Sigma have received two Brit Award nominations, landed two Platinum records and attracted over 300 million YouTube views.

They are best known for their infectious tunes from collaborations with top music personalities including their huge dance/pop tune Nobody to Love hit No.1 in 15 countries, while Changing (their catchy collaboration with Paloma Faith), Higher (with Labrinth) and Coming Home (featuring Rita Ora) are played in households across the globe.

Having entertained crowds of up to 100,000 at Glastonbury Festival, Creamfields, Amnesia Ibiza, V Festival and Sziget, Amber Lounge guests can expect an ultra-high energy performance from Sigma on the Friday night.

sigma amber lounge

Sigma is bringing their popular tunes to Amber Lounge Monaco 2019

Saturday 25 May

A brand new concept will be announced in the near future!

Sunday 26 May :  Monaco Grand Prix After Party

The F1™ driver post-race party is the most anticipated night of the weekend where F1 drivers and teams gather for celebrations after the Monaco Grand Prix weekend with iconic live acts, DJ’s and unlimited Champagne.

Experience live headline performances by an iconic international artist and spectacular feature acts.

Previous live acts have included:  Chris Willis, Justin Jesso, Sigala, Jason Derulo, Labrinth, Taio Cruz, Sugarbabes, Pixie Lott, John Newman, Flawless, Pete Tong, Gary Barlow, Big Ali, Nikki Belle.

“An amazing race, an amazing night, at Amber Lounge of course. Where else?” -Daniel Ricciardo, Renault Sport F1 Driver

Amber Lounge Charity Fashion Show

I have attended the Amber Lounge Charity Fashion Show on the Friday night for the past few years as a press guest, and it has always been an amazing time!

amber lounge charity fashion show

Amber Lounge Charity Fashion Show

Amber Lounge’s ground-breaking charity auction at the Fashion Show has raised more than USD 5 million for charitable organisations and it’s the only event in the world to feature Formula 1 drivers on the catwalk.

Sir Jackie Stewart, H.S.H. Albert II Prince of Monaco, and Sonia Irvine attend the Amber Lounge Fashion Monaco 2017 at Le Meridien Beach Plaza Hotel on May 26, 2017 in Monaco.
Photo: Dave Benett

Past Amber Lounge F1 models : Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg, Daniel Ricciardo, and Valtteri Bottas.

amber lounge drivers fashion show

Amber Lounge – F1 Drivers on the catwalk

This year, award-winning Canadian designer Christopher Bates will be dressing the Formula 1 drivers, as international models will showcase Ladyship swimwear by Lady Victoria Hervey. Amber Lounge Monaco Fashion Show has been chosen as the European launch of the designer, model and socialite’s new collection.

christopher bates Brands that Amber Lounge has worked with : Jimmy Choo, Ted Baker, Hervé Léger, Missoni, Crisoni, Melissa Odabash, Julien Macdonald, Vionett and Osman.

The Fashion Show is combined with exquisite dining and the famous Amber Lounge after party, all at the same venue for the U*NITE package for an all-inclusive world-class event.

Amber Lounge Table Packages

Where else during Monaco Grand Prix can you experience VIP hospitality that gives you the opportunity to relax, watch, listen, dance and party with the stars?  Amber Lounge Table Packages include:

Ultimate Weekend Package

The most desirable, tailor made weekend package. Enquire for more details.

Methusalem Tables

Simply THE best tables in the house with dance floor position. Tables receive unrivalled service as well as a three course dinner, followed by a 6L Methusalem bottle of Champagne and 3L Jeroboam bottles of premium Vodka throughout the whole night.

Jeroboam Tables

Located in a prime position and surrounded by celebrities and VIPs, guests are served with a 3L Jeroboam bottle of Champagne and unlimited bottle service throughout the night.

VIP Tables

Are well positioned and served with unlimited bottle service including premium Champagne throughout the night.

Classic Tables

Include unlimited bottle service with house Champagne and all other drinks throughout the evening.

Shared Tables

Reserved seating on a shared table in Dining followed by the club which includes unlimited bottle service throughout the whole night.

Individual Passes

Gives access to all areas in the club, open bar including house Champagne and free seating on the chill-out terrace.

Amber Lounge Monaco interior

Amber Lounge Celebrity Yacht

Monaco Grand Prix would not be complete without a luxury yacht experience and Amber Lounge offers trackside yachts which offer unrivalled race viewing and F1 driver appearances. Mix business and pleasure while enjoying exceptional hospitality and dining with free-flowing Champagne and premium spirits.

On Saturday watch the hair-raising F1 Monaco Grand Prix qualifying play out on the tight, twisting Circuit de Monaco.

Then on Sunday, be trackside in the centre of the euphoric atmosphere that the Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix has become famous for – an incredible adrenalin rush as the F1 cars speed by at lightning speed just metres away through the challenging street circuit!

amber lounge yacht

Experience the thrill of watching the Monaco Grand Prix trackside on a luxury yacht with Amber Lounge

Previous F1 Driver Appearances:  Sergio Perez, Nico Hülkenberg, Romain Grosjean, Carlos Sainz, Stoffel Vandoorne, David Coulthard, Mika Häkkinen, Eddie Irvine, Marcus Ericsson, Esteban Ocon, Felipe Massa amongst others.

Previous Guests:  Pamela Anderson, Justin Bieber, Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Lawrence, Vanessa Hudgens, Labrinth, Gareth Bale, Pixie Lott, John Newman, Casey Stoner, Taio Cruz, Rachel Hunter, Pete Tong, DJ Sigala, Lindsay Lohan.

  • Amber Lounge’s VIP 2-day Package includes:
    -Saturday & Sunday race viewing
    -Trackside mooring with the view of the giant TV screen and on-board screens
    -F1 driver appearances, exclusive interviews & autograph signing
    -Luxurious tender transfers
    -Continental breakfast
    -Mouth-watering gourmet buffet lunch
    -Afternoon Tea
    -All-day open bar including unlimited Champagne
    -VIP gift bags with official team merchandise
    -Program and earplugs
    -DJ

KEY INFORMATION

DATES: 24th, 25th, 26th May 2019

TIMES:

Friday Fashion show: 18:30 – 20:30; After Party: 23:00 – 4:00
Saturday After Party: 23:00 – 4:00
Sunday After Party: 23:00 – 5:00

VENUE: Amber Lounge, Sea Club, Le Méridien Beach Plaza, 22, Avenue Princesse Grâce, 98000 Monaco

MORE INFORMATION AND BOOKINGS:

www.amber-lounge.com/monaco 
Bookings: monaco@amber-lounge.com or call +33607934625 

ABOUT AMBER LOUNGE

Amber Lounge was founded by Sonia Irvine, who has worked in F1 for two decades. Sonia is regarded as a pioneer of F1 nightlife experiences and continues to create the most sought-after events on the F1 calendar.

The Amber Lounge experience consists of Formula 1 race viewing hospitality options as well as post-race afterparties, dining, charity, fashion and tailor-made events throughout the year. In 2019 it will take place in Monaco, Singapore and Abu Dhabi. http://amber-lounge.com/index.php/tickets/

AMBER LOUNGE 2019/ 2020 EVENT SCHEDULE :

Monaco 24/25/26 May 2019

Singapore 21/22 September 2019

Abu Dhabi November 30/1 December 2019

SPONSORS & PARTNERS

GLOBEAIR – Official Private Jet Partner of Amber Lounge Monaco
ARCTIC BLUE GIN – Official Gin Partner of Amber Lounge Monaco & Singapore
CUVÉE SENSORIUM – Official Methusalem Champagne Partner of Amber Lounge and Amber Lounge Hospitality Monaco 2019
CHRISTOPHER BATES – Male Designer for Amber Lounge Monaco
INMANN – Official Hairstylist of Amber Lounge Monaco
GLOBAL HAIR & MAKEUP – Official makeup of Amber Lounge Monaco
LADYSHIP – Official Swimwear Designer for Amber Lounge Monaco
FIJI WATER – Official Still Water of Amber Lounge Monaco & Abu Dhabi
SPARKLING VAN
Q YACHTS – Official e-tender of Amber Hospitality

Video & Photo Credits:  Amber Lounge / Christopher Bates (Maxime Thibodeau / Rai Allen)

 

 

 

 

 

 

350K visitors! THANK YOU!

This Christmas, I’m planning on having a relaxed family Christmas in France, however my blog has recently passed 350,000 visitors so that is cause for celebration!

Firstly, the biggest support comes from my family, without them I wouldn’t be able to dedicate so much time to keeping my blog running and updated with fresh content. They have been understanding beyond words with my snippets of history while out and about, trawling off information about festivals (while we are there!) and random moments of inspiration.

For my readers and followers, THANK YOU to everyone who has subscribed, liked, followed, commented or shared my blog posts because I see every interaction and you are very much appreciated!

travel french riviera

Access Riviera is a blog about the French Riviera covering travel, lifestyle, events and more

What started as a part-time blog (I hear all the bloggers laugh!) has resonated with readers in 149 countries and snowballed into a juggernaut.

I’ve learned more about the history, places and people on the French Riviera than I ever thought possible – and I’m still learning.   There are so many topics to cover that I’ve merely scratched the surface.

I’ve answered every email I’ve received via my blog; lovely messages from people from all over the world that I’ve helped you with travel ideas, planning for yachting events, transport, accommodation, recommendations for restaurants and more.  The most special ones are the emails saying I’ve helped them with advice for their dream trip to the French Riviera.

Naturally, advice for families and/or people who have restricted mobility are at the core of what I write about and I always maintain to write honestly and factually.

I hope you continue to follow my blog in 2019 and beyond, you never know what I’ll write about next…..

THANK YOU!

 

Monaco Yacht Show 2018 Guide : What to expect

Monaco Yacht Show is one of the key superyacht events in the Mediterranean and will be hosted at Port Hercules from 26th to 29th September 2018.

Each year, exhibitors from across the nautical industry join around 120 superyachts that are displayed, with 40 yachts being world premieres and 50% of the yachts being less than 2 years old.

Monaco Yacht Show 2018 Exhibitors

The hundreds of exhibitors that attend Monaco Yacht Show are a representation of all sectors within the superyacht sector.

They include yacht designers and naval architects, shipyards, engineers, yacht brokers, charter agents, shipyards, marine supplies, yacht toys, tenders, marinas, tourism companies and crew.

The show is separated into zones to differentiate sectors:

  • Quai Albert 1er will host yards, naval architects and brokers adjacent to the yachts they’re displaying
  • Quai Jarlan will host part of the tenders zone
  • Parvis Piscine and the Upper Deck Lounge will display prestige luxury goods, furnishings and interiors
  • Darse Sud has marine suppliers and technical equipment
  • Quai Antoine 1er has the Tenders & Toys zones, the Art Pavilion, the luxury Car Deck, Press Centre and the Starboard Lounge

To find out who is attending, click here Monaco Yacht Show 2018 Exhibitors List

exhibitors mys 2018

Monaco Yacht Show is one of the most important annual boat shows for the marine industry (image: MYS)

Monaco Yacht Show 2018 Yachts

Visitors and exhibitors at MYS are always eager to learn which yachts will be on display.  This year, some of the boats include:

6.31m Williams Diesel Jet 625

williams tenders mys

The Williams Diesel Jet 625 will be on display at MYS 2018 (image: Boat International)

10m Pascoe Open Limousine

33.5m Riva 110 Dolcevita, Riva

yachts monaco yacht show 2018

Riva 110 Dolcevita (image: MYS)

Tansu Yachts 43.7m Cyclone

47.2m Sanlorenzo 500xp, Sanlorenzo

49.98m Cecilia, Wider Yachts

cecilia wider yachts

MY Cecilia by Wider Yachts (image: MYS)

49.9m Flying Dagger, Rossinavi

50m Latona, CRN

54m El Leon in the new Mangusta GranSport line, Overmarine

55.5m Power Play, Damen

57.7m Volpini 2, the first hull in the limited edition 188 series by AMELS

volpini 2

M/Y Volpini 2 by Amels (image: MYS)

72m Solo by Tankoa

74.5m Elandess, Abeking & Rasmussen

77m Go, Turquoise Yachts

superyacht go turquoise yachts

M/Y GO by Turquoise Yachts (image: MYS)

90m DAR a.k.a Project Shark, built in the Netherlands by Oceanco

dar project shark mys 2018

DAR a.k.a Project Shark was built in the Netherlands by Oceanco (image: MYS)

95.2m Kismet, Lurssen

To find out which yachts are attending MYS 2018, click here Monaco Yacht Show 2018 Yacht List

VIP Experiences at Monaco Yacht Show 2018

Private superyacht clients can join tailor-made experiences at Monaco Yacht Show.  The Sapphire Experience and ‘Infinite’ are the official VIP programs of the show and include an invitation to the opening gala, participation in the Monaco Yacht Summit, a courtesy car service and private visits on board yachts at the show.

Monaco Yacht Show has official VIP programs called the Sapphire Experience and ‘Infinite’ (image: copyright 2017 MC-Clic)

At the show

In-show transport

At the show, there are plenty of options to move between exhibitor zones and stands.  Make use of the shuttle boats that cross the port between the main quays, and the electric golf carts that travel between Quai Rainer II and Quai Jarlan.

Here is a Map of Shuttle boat routes at MYS and golf carts.

Food & beverage

Feeling thirsty or peckish?  Here are the in-show food and beverage options:

  • The restaurant and Champagne bar at the Upper Deck Lounge is open from 10am to 6.30pm daily (lunch service from midday).
  • The café at the Starboard Lounge opens daily from 10am to 6.30pm (lunch service from midday).
  • Coffee/snack zone at Café Lucciana on Jetée Lucciana from 10.30am to 6.30pm daily.
  • For uniformed crew, you can visit the C&C Lounge between 8.30am and 7pm.

Wifi

The show Wifi hotspots will enable you to connect to Wifi to reach out to clients and keep on top of your business during the week.  Here is the map of Wifi zones and mobile charging spots – note:  All zones are accessible for show visitors, except the MYS Captains and Crew Lounge is for uniformed crew only.

wifi at mys

Wifi at Monaco Yacht Show 2018

Monaco Yacht Show 2018 parties

During the 4 days of the show, there are a number of charity galas, social meet-ups and cocktail parties.  Here are some of the parties and social events during Monaco Yacht Show 2018:

Tuesday 25 September

The London 2 Monaco charity cycle ride in support of Blue Marine Foundation has their after-party for all the riders and teams after they arrive at the Palace of Monaco – the London 2 Monaco party is sponsored by Icon Connect.

L2M after party

The London to Monaco cycle ride after-party last year (image: Icon Connect)

The MYS Inaugural Gala Party also takes place on the Tuesday night where 400 invited guests attend the 5th Monaco Yacht Show Superyacht Awards; more info is here MYS Inaugural Gala Party.

Wednesday 26 September

4.30pm-6.30pm  Informal business drinks at the Isle of Man stand at Darse Sud

5pm onwards  Yachtneeds hosts drinks, live music and entertainment at their stand (DSE7)

7pm till late The Monte-Carlo Gala for the Global Ocean under the High Patronage of H.S.H Prince Albert II of Monaco (invitation necessary)

monaco gala for the ocean

Monte-Carlo Gala for the Global Ocean (image: Getty Images/FPA2)

7.30pm till late IGY Marinas James Bond party at the Monaco Yacht Club (invite only)

8pm till late  The SXM Crew party at the ACREW and IMM Crew Lounge at La Rascasse.

Thursday 27 September

5pm onwards  Yachtneeds hosts drinks, live music and entertainment at their stand (DSE7)

yachtneeeds mys 2018

YachtNeeds has live music, drinks and entertainment every day during Monaco Yacht Show 2018

6pm onwards Invite-only cocktail party hosted by Zytexx at La Rascasse.

8pm-10pm  PYA Sea Changes rooftop networking drinks, sponsored by Onshore Cellars and Ocean Pantry. This event is part of the PYA Sea Changes Forum which is free for PYA members; others must register and pay a small fee via the PYA Monaco Sea Changes forum Eventbrite page.

Friday 28 September

5pm onwards  Yachtneeds hosts drinks, live music and entertainment at their stand (DSE7)

5pm-7pm  Drinks and nibbles courtesy of TINO Stone at the ACREW & IMM Garden Lounge at La Rascasse.

6pm-9pm Club Vivanova Summer Yacht Party at Le Méridien Beach Plaza (entry fee applies).

7pm-9pm  Yacht Chandlers hosts an event strictly for Captains and Crew at the Star Deck at Stars n Bars. Details below:

Other events during the week include the Amels/Damen party, Boat International party (video of 2017 party shown below), Feadship’s event, Lurssen’s popular soirée, My Yacht Group’s annual yacht party and China Night.

Monaco Yacht Show 2018 tips

  • Wear comfortable footwear – you’ll be doing a lot of walking.
  • Check the weather forecast – it may be a hot sunny week or thunderstorms; pack for the weather conditions.
  • There is no coat check or luggage storage facility at the show, so bear this in mind if you have valuable items with you, jackets or laptops.
  • Visitors are permitted to take photos and videos within the show zone. The exception is the use of drones which are forbidden inside the MYS perimeter (aside from the official drone operator, MC Clic).
  • Download the Monaco Show app for maps of the show.  You can get it on the App Store or Google Play.
  • Check train schedules to and from Monaco as evening trains run less frequently.  Taxis can be quite pricey, so plan transport in advance.  Monacair offers promotions for helicopter transfers between Nice Côte d’Azur Airport and the heliport at Fontvieille including private car transfers to the show or any address in Monaco.  Use promo code ‘MYS2018’; to book a heli transfer you can download the Monacair app or visit them at the show above La Rascasse at point N on the show map.
  • Follow the show on social media and use hashtags #MYS2018 #monacoyachtshow #MYSexperience
shuttle boats monaco yacht show

Make use of the in-show transport to save time at Monaco Yacht Show 2018 (image copyright Alina Garazhenko / Ameller Malcorps)

MYS 2018 at a glance

Monaco Yacht Show adapts each year ensuring owners, potential buyers and the industry itself evolves through B2B networking and feedback.  Here’s the show at a glance:

Monaco Yacht Show (image: copyright 2017 MC-Clic)

Yearly visitor numbers:  36,400 (stat from 2017 show)

Exhibitors:  590 exhibitors from 38 countries

Yachts:  120 superyachts, 40 debuts, 50% are less than 2 years old, 49m is the average length of yacht on display at MYS.

Luxury showcases:  10 prestige cars at the Car Deck, 2 helicopters on display at Parvis Piscine and Quai Antoine 1er, luxury exhibitors at Parvis Piscine and the Upper Deck Lounge including Dassault Aviation, Paola Lenti and ProtectStone

Date / opening times :  Wednesday 26th September to Saturday 29th September from 10am to 6.30pm

Tickets:  Tickets are available for purchase on the official MYS website, or at the show at one of the three entrances.  This year, ticket prices have increased – buy MYS tickets here.  Children under 12 years of age are free.

I’m looking forward to seeing everyone there!  Please share this MYS 2018 guide on social media if you’ve found it informative. Thank you!

 

 

 

Charity events on the French Riviera

Saturday 14 October 2017    Cogs 4 Cancer : End of Ride/Season Party

The popular Cogs 4 Cancer cycle covers 1400 km from London to Antibes with 30 cyclists raising more than €242000 this year in the fight against cancer.  While that is a phenomenal amount, let’s get behind the team and keep the funds growing by attending the fundraiser party that will be hosted in the evening at The View in the Palais des Congrès in Juan les Pins.

Entertainment includes a DJ, Deceptionist and Contortionist with snacks and nibbles on offer; the event starts at 8pm and goes till late.  100% of ticket sales goes to charity and 30% of drinks sales goes to charity.   There are also the Cogs 4 Cancer wristbands/bracelets on sale across the French Riviera, or you can opt to visit the website to donate www.cogs4cancer.org

Note:  The cyclists will be arriving at Antibes the previous day on Friday 13 October 2017 following a tribute ride from Port Gallice around the Cap d’Antibes and arriving at the IYCA at Port Vauban in Antibes approx. 4.45pm with the arrival party from 5pm, sponsored by Gourmet Deliveries.  Find out more about the Cogs 4 Cancer 2017 arrival time and info here:  http://cogs4cancer.org/2017-tribute-ride

charity french riviera

Cogs 4 Cancer End of Ride/Season Party

Saturday 14 October 2017   Yachts du Coeur

Yachts du Coeur, an EcoMer initiative, is having a charity collection at Port Vauban in Antibes from 10.30am to 2.30pm with the human solidarity chain at 11am.  Come along for music, songs and bring a donation of non-perishable food to benefit the Food Bank.   Visit their website here to find out more about their mission or to donate: http://www.yachts-du-coeur.com/

charity french riviera

Yachts du Coeur charity collection – Port Vauban, Antibes

Friday 10 November  Chances for Children Fundraiser at Monaco Yacht Club

After the busy events week during Monaco Yacht Show, Monaco Yacht Club will again host another event in November – Music, Magic and More – with proceeds benefiting Chances for Children charity.

The fundraising night runs from 7.30pm to 11.30pm with a magic show featuring Neil Henry (Britain’s Got Talent), hors d’oeuvres, DJ set and paintings for sale by Emma Kavuma, a talented Ugandan artist.   Find out more about C4C at www.c4c.mc (Poster design Dave Rowles)

charity event french riviera

Music, Magic & More – Chances for Children fundraiser on November 10 at Monaco Yacht Club

If you are a charity with an upcoming event on the French Riviera, you can contact me to list your event for free – send an email to accessriviera06@gmail.com with subject line ‘Charity event’ and I’ll do my best to add your event to my blog.

 

250,000 THANK YOUS

Sunday smiling and sending out a huge heartfelt thank you to all my followers, sharers, commenters and occasional readers who have stopped by Access Riviera – I have hit a milestone of 250,000 visitors!

I’m totally overwhelmed with all of the support for my blog from what started as a simple vision to provide information about the French Riviera and has grown into a behemoth and I’ve appreciated every like, share and comment along the way.

I’ve worked with some brilliant clients, learned a lot about growing and ungrowing followers, committed myself to writing good content and generally sticking to writing about things I believe in whether it’s the good, the bad or the ugly.

THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH!!  Here’s to the next 250K

Becks

To read some of my most popular articles, click on the links below:

Secret French Riviera : Hidden spots worth visiting

The Lavender Route

Cannes Film Festival : The Ultimate Guide

Top 15 French Riviera viewpoints for amazing photos

Monaco on a budget

To work with me or simply send me feedback, you can contact me a number of ways from my Contact Access Riviera page.

Roland Garros : Deserving Winners!

Today, something distracted me from work.   Replying to many emails, I received a notification about a Mens Doubles pair who have recently won at Roland Garros.

For those who aren’t familiar, Roland Garros (French Open) is a major tennis tournament held over two weeks between late May and early June at the Stade Roland Garros in Paris.

The two tennis players, Stéphane Houdet and Nico Peifer, are top wheelchair tennis players but have been mostly unrecognised in French media for this significant win.

Stéphane Houdet and Nico Peifer – winners of the Mens Doubles in wheelchair tennis at Roland Garros 2017

Why is there a lack of French media coverage?

Why does French media avoid coverage?  The words ‘disabled’ and ‘handisport’ are not seen as sexy, they’re not conducive to glamorous advertising campaigns and French media have admitted that they think the public is not interested.  So, they simply don’t talk about it.

The general disregard to people with special needs filters through from school level, lack of pedagogical teaching for special education and lack of support systems for both children with special needs and their families.  As a cultural platform, France has never been a trail-blazer with accessibility information and seriously lacking with media coverage for athletes and professional sportspeople who are not able-bodied.

France isn’t a newcomer to accessible sports – they participated in the inaugural Paralympic Games in Rome back in 1960 and have taken part in every edition of the Summer and Winter Paralympics since then, including hosting the Winter Paralympics in 1992.

Yet, French Paralympians had to wait until the year 2016 – when for the first time in over half a century – France Télévision agreed to show 100 hours of highlights from the Rio Paralympics in a one-hour daily update.  This was only instigated after a petition from the French public and criticism of the poor national media coverage from London’s 2012 Paralympics.

Nicolas Peifer is a top French tennis player

In comparison, British television showed two-thirds more coverage of the Rio Paralympics including live coverage and athlete profiles.

Sadly for Stéphane Houdet and Nico Peifer, France Télévision did not broadcast any of their tennis matches, but only a sequence of about fifty seconds.

Raising the profile of sportspeople with less mobility

The truth is that here in France, sportspeople with restricted mobility have a real and continuing battle for recognition.

They fight stereotypes for funding, for media coverage and in some instances, public acceptance that they are good enough.

It frustrates me and saddens me, but the least I can do is push the message out there that as high-level professional athletes they are worthy and deserve to be on the global stage.  I’m happy to use my network to share their achievement and send a message to French media that I am just one of those millions of people who IS interested.

As well as winning Roland Garros recently, both players have won medals at previous Paralympics.  Stéphane has won at Roland Garros before – he is also the current Masters doubles champion, a former world number one, and has won Wheelchair Mens Doubles at Wimbledon, the Australian Open and US Open.

Handisport france

A fight for change

The more that the public shares the achievements and efforts of handisport teams, the more media coverage they will receive. This in turn will appeal to Sponsors and corporate investors who will always be looking at the bottom line for advertising.   As well as visibility in sport, these athletes have powerful life stories and can advocate and give feedback for accessible innovations in business, tourism, education and technology.

For Stéphane and Nico, there have been small changes for the future – the management by French Handisport Federation and French Tennis Federation has allowed them to upgrade hotel categories and have a physio join them touring.   This may seem unfair when the budgets for football transfers are excessively ludicrous or rugby games rack up prime time coverage as soon as a player dons the national jersey.

To see (in French) their interview after their win at Roland Garros, you can watch it below:

And if more people share their victory it may avoid journalists reporting that the last French Mens Doubles who won at Roland Garros were Edouard Roger-Vasselin and Julien Benneteau in 2014 (deserving as they also were).

Thank you to Stéphane Giraud for sharing their story – in just one week, more than 180K people are enlightened to Stéphane and Nico’s achievement at Roland Garros and that they benefit from the recognition they deserve.

What are your views on media coverage for handisports?  Do you think there should be more coverage in print, online and radio?  I’d love to hear feedback.

A Day with Heroes on the French Riviera : Saturday 10 June 2017

What is the definition of a ‘Hero’?

When you have two young boys like myself, the concept of a ‘hero’ alludes to a superhero, typically the Marvel Avengers kind with impregnable armour, superhuman qualities or super tools such as grapple guns.

For the rest of us, a hero or heroine is someone who can be admired for their noble values, courage or outstanding achievements.  They are not always victorious, but they are often regarded highly for great acts and bravery.

A Day with Heroes on the French Riviera

On Saturday 10th June, residents on the French Riviera will have the opportunity to attend a fundraising day with a group of Heroes.

Who are these ‘Heroes’?  The Heroes are a group of 10 soldiers who have all served in active service abroad and were wounded in war zones. All have been medically discharged ; some will have visible injuries, amputations, loss of sight, some will have mental injuries, PTSD, disassociation disorders and they will share their inspirational stories of how they are moving forward in life.

The day is organised by Rachael Dickens, a public figure on the French Riviera and business owner at the English Osteopath, who is Lead Medical and a key member of the committee for the Supporting Wounded Veterans Foundation (formerly Skiing with Heroes) that supports the rehabilitation of veterans on the path to reemployment.

From 7.45pm, a hog roast dinner will be hosted in a private villa in Valbonne consisting of a welcome drink, 3-course dinner with some wine, raffle draw and entertainment.  Tickets are just €50 each (excluding Eventbrite booking fee); NOTE: Evening dinner is for ages 18+ only.  Grab your tickets here:  https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/heroes-dinner-tickets-34217103277?aff=efbevent

About Supporting Wounded Veterans

Supporting Wounded Veterans (formerly Skiing with Heroes) is a charity that helps wounded veterans get back into civilian life and occupation. Founded in 2012 as ‘Skiing with Heroes’, their initial activity was the organisation of a rehabilitation ski week and, since the first one in Klosters in 2013, the charity has been able to increase the number of veterans taken each year; last year over 100 veterans applied for the trip and there are already 60 applicants for next year.

Because each of the veterans require differing levels of ongoing support and encouragement, SWV have created a needs-based Occupation, Training and Employment (OTE) Programme which the veterans join following the ski trip. They have also recently opened a Pain Management Clinic, specifically for wounded veterans.

Many of the veterans take up sports after their injuries and share their triumphs via the SWV Facebook page including 3 that have been selected to represent Team GB in the 2017 Invictus Games to be held in Toronto in September.

I hope you support this worthwhile charity that helps people who have given so much.  If you can’t attend the event on Saturday, you can make a donation via their website http://www.supportingwoundedveterans.com/

Image credits:  Supporting Wounded Veterans / Skiing with Heroes