2013: The 150th anniversary of the Société des Bains de Mer
The year 2013 will always be the year that the Société des Bains de Mer celebrated its 150th anniversary.
1863: And then Monaco invented Monte-Carlo…
In 1863, under the auspices of François Blanc, the “Société des Bains de Mer et du Cercle des Etrangers à Monaco” (S.B.M.) was founded, better known today as Monte-Carlo SBM.
The founder was invited by Prince Charles III of Monaco following a vision by his mother, Princess Caroline.
Due to the development of the Société des Bains de Mer’s establishments, an area named Monte-Carlo came into existence in 1866 on the Spélugues plateau.
The opening of the Casino in 1863 was the Société des Bains de Mer’s first important action. Near the Casino, François Blanc designed the Hôtel de Paris, a luxury hotel; the Café Divan (future Café de Paris), a place to socialise and enjoy good food; and the Thermes Marins Monte-Carlo, a spa devoted to health and well-being.
Blanc’s successors went on to develop and perpetuate this work, providing a clientele seeking new ways of enjoyment with offers that would meet their high standards. The Opera brought the arts to the place du Casino, the Golf Club and Monte-Carlo Country Club provided land-based sports, the Monte-Carlo Beach gave access to seaside recreation and the Sporting d’Eté was a place for entertainment and shows. In parallel, luxury hotels were refurbished (Hôtel Hermitage Monte-Carlo) or built (Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort) to enhance the innovation, enchantment and magic of the hotel experience. Meanwhile, the famous nightclub Jimmy’z and the Buddha-Bar Monte-Carlo catered to those who appreciated more nocturnal pleasures.
2013: a celebration year
Monte-Carlo SBM dedicated the year 2013 to celebrating its 150th anniversary, organising a series of amazing events.
In collaboration with the Nouveau Musée National de Monaco (NMNM), an exhibition retracing the urbanisation of Monaco and the Monte-Carlo area was held at the Villa Sauber to celebrate SBM’s 150th anniversary. The exhibit was entirely dedicated to luxury and entertainment, and included 600 urban plans.
Fernando and Humberto Campana, the famous Brazilian designer duo, put together an exhibition entitled “Dangerous Luxury” that was specially created for SBM’s 150th anniversary. Hybrid furniture pieces using natural fibres from Brazil and Art Deco-inspired designs and jewellery with the refinement of high-end European collections yet inspired by South American nature were among the astonishing pieces that paid tribute to the daring and luxury that characterise Monte-Carlo.
On Friday 5 July 2013, the Place du Casino was transformed for an unforgettable dinner. The square was covered with grass and transformed by Jean Mus into a vast Mediterranean garden, where guests dined on the grass. The dishes combining simplicity and refinement were prepared by Alain Ducasse, to the delight of our carefully selected diners. After the outdoor dining experience – inspired by Manet’s Luncheon on the Grass, which was painted in 1893, the year the Société des Bains de Mer was founded – the evening continued at the Salle Garnier where the prestigious Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra, the pianist Lang Lang, Dame Shirley Bassey and Jamie Cullum made their own singular contributions to the night’s festivities.
The Monte-Carlo Summer Festival in Monaco is a true Monaco institution that was an important part of the exceptional celebratory programme. Rod Stewart, Rihanna, Deep Purple, Elton John, Santana and Joe Cocker all performed during this festival, making the 2013 summer season a spectacular one.
It is often said that all of Monte-Carlo is a stage. History also tells us that it is also a film set. Throughout the summer of 2013, the Casino Terraces were converted into an open-air cinema showing the film Monte-Carlo fait son cinéma (Monte-Carlo Takes to the Big Screen), a complete work consisting of excerpts from 150 films shot on location in Monaco over the years. It is the only film starring Grace Kelly, Sacha Guitry, Audrey Hepburn, Jeanne Moreau, Pierce Brosnan and Vanessa Paradis!
To celebrate its anniversary, Monte-Carlo SBM proposed a year-long wine-tasting of 150 fine wines from the Hôtel de Paris wine cellars in several resort establishments. It was a unique occasion to enjoy the jewels of one of the world’s leading wine cellars. To mark the occasion, the central part of the Place du Casino was transformed during the summer of 2013 into a vast vineyard, resulting in an exceptional grape harvest and vintage.
In 2013 especially and certainly for a long time to come, Monte-Carlo SBM has exemplified the immortal words of François Blanc, the founder of Société des Bains de Mer: “This is where dreams are made…”