Monte-Carlo's 100th anniversary
In 1863, the Société des Bains de Mer was founded in Monaco with the aim of developing and exploiting luxury tourism in the Principality, mainly featuring a prestigious Casino.
Three years later, the Spélugues area, where the new casino had just been built, was rebranded with a new name that, just like a luxury brand, would be known the world over. It was called Monte-Carlo, as a tribute to Prince Charles III, who was behind the project, and in Italian to add a touch of exoticism and refinement.
In 1966, the Société des Bains de Mer decided to celebrate Monte-Carlo’s 100th anniversary in a Principality at the height of glamour. The press release at the time proudly announced the excess with which the event was organised to make it an unforgettable moment: 2000 metres of fabric, 5 kilometres of electric wire, 3000 light bulbs and 44 chandeliers were installed in the prestigious Opera hall.
The programme catering to 700 hand-picked guests consisted of an exceptional weekend with highly gastronomic meals held in prestigious venues such as the famous Salle Empire at the Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo, a presentation of the latest Italian cars, an Italian fashion show and a showing of three films that had recently won the Palme d’Or at the last Cannes Film Festival, including the cult film A Man and a Woman by Claude Lelouch.
The highlight of this wonderful anniversary celebration took place on Friday, 27 May 1966 at 22.00, and was aptly called the Ball of the Century. In addition to being a 100th anniversary celebration, the Ball was also the most magnificent of the twentieth century in Monaco. All the guests were wearing eighteenth century clothing and only had eyes for the legendary appearance of the royal couple, with Princess Grace looking more beautiful than ever.
The next event of such exceptional calibre would not be before 2013 and the 150th anniversary celebration of the Société des Bains de Mer.