1974-2014: The Sporting celebrates its 40-year anniversary
In 1966, plans for a new Sporting d’Eté started to blossom in the minds of the Société des Bains de Mer managers to replace the old seasonal building which had stood on the waterfront since 1931. An artificial peninsula was reclaimed from the sea, taking up 8 hectares and 1 million cubic metres of rock! Eight years later, it became home to an amazing architectural innovation: the new Sporting d’Eté.
Built in 1974, the Sporting building is a tribute to curved lines: there’s not one straight wall in sight!
The theatre, aptly named the Salle des Etoiles (the Hall of Stars), would soon welcome the world’s greatest stars to perform in collaboration with the stars up above, visible through the extravagant retractable roof (1000 m² and 180 tonnes: a world record). Three retractable basins ensure water features enhance the hall’s interior.
The seasonal complex also unveiled a new nightspot, Jimmy’z. Once again, its architecture is breathtaking. The establishment’s opening roof and its completely retractable windows overlooking an idyllic lagoon transport its visitors into a dreamlike setting in which they can’t tell if they’re inside or under the night’s sky.
The inauguration of the new Sporting took place on 22 June 1974 with Josephine Baker replacing Sammy Davis Jr at just a moment’s notice. The star’s performance was such a success that she returned a few weeks later for the Red Cross Gala in August 1974.
Duly inaugurated and blessed with a prestigious sponsor, the Sporting then started its long and successful career: the Salle des Palmiers became the summer temple of the major players at the Casino de Monte-Carlo and the Salle des Etoiles is an exceptional venue for all the top Monaco shows including its worthy representative, the Sporting Summer Festival. Forty years on, Jimmy’z remains a firm favourite for clubbers from all over the world.
In 1999 was the year saw the jubilee of Prince Rainier III, and also the renovation of the Sporting building whose façade and lobby are now adorned with glass, transparency and light marble. In the same year, Alain Ducasse opened a new restaurant at the Sporting, le Bar et Bœuf, which later made way for La Trattoria, also headed by Ducasse.
The successor of a 1030s summer establishment, a witness to the boldness of the 1970s and a hotspot for culture and nightlife in the 21st century, the Sporting is not just a legend, it is a living legend.