Spotlight Shines on Monaco at the Alliance Francaise in San Francisco

Maria Callas and Princess Grace – Photo Credits G. Lukomski

Grace, Cary, and Audrey join Churchill, Dali, Sinatra and some of the most famous names of the stage, screen and sports in an extraordinary photographic art exhibition opening Monday, March 2 through Saturday, April 4 at the Alliance Française in Bush Street, San Francisco (AFSF), free and open to the public. The Embassy of Monaco in Washington, D.C. in cooperation with the Consulates of Monaco in New York and San Francisco will present this unique exhibition, as well as a film screening and a book signing at the AFSF as part of “le Mois de la Francophonie” celebrations throughout March and to mark the 150-plus year history of Monaco’s most famous district, Monte-Carlo,

Monte-Carlo Legends, a celebration of black and white vintage pictures feature iconic personalities from the past who have helped write the Monte-Carlo story. Sourced from the archives of the Prince’s Palace, Monte-Carlo SBM and the Automobile Club of Monaco, sporting greats including Juan Fangio, Stirling Moss, and Suzanne Lenglen pose alongside international cultural icons of the 20th century who are so well-known they only need one name: Balanchine, Chaplin, Colette, Cocteau, Hitchcock, McQueen, Nureyev, Piaf, and Sellers.

“We are delighted to shine the spotlight on some of the stars, past and present, who have helped shape Monaco’s legend.  This wonderful collection of images will delight visitors to the Alliance Francaise, and celebrate the icons who have played such an important role in a century and a half of Monte-Carlo style,” said H.E. Maguy Maccario Doyle, Ambassador of Monaco to the United States and Canada.

“The story of Monte-Carlo started over 150 years ago on a rocky hill where farmers grew olive trees and shepherds led their flocks to graze. In 1863, Prince Charles III established, by Sovereign Decree, the Société des Bains de Mer et du Cercle des Etrangers, now known as Monte-Carlo SBM, and launched the Casino de Monte-Carlo, marking a turning point in Monaco’s history, and during the ensuing years the legend of Monte-Carlo (Mount Charles) has flourished. ”

Juxtaposing this black and white collection are two whimsical lithographs — Gamblers in the Casino at Monte-Carlo (1905) and Roulette at Monte-Carlo (1909) — by famous French illustrator and caricaturist, Georges Goursat, known as SEM (1863–1934), who rose to fame during the Belle Époque era. He published three Monte-Carlo series in the early 1900s depicting the high society of the time.

“The Alliance Française of San Francisco is honored to host this iconic exhibit. For over 125 years, our organization has promoted greater understanding between the United States and the French-speaking world. This event allows us to highlight the history and culture of Monaco in a way that we hope people will find both educational and enjoyable,” said Executive Director, Pascal C. Ledermann.

As a complement to this exhibition, the AFSF will screen Monte-Carlo, Naissance d’un Mythe(Monte-Carlo, Birth of a Legend) on Tuesday, March 31 at 7:00pm (doors opening at 6:45pm). This 52 minute docu-drama (2007) in French with English sub titles, written by Kate Krasuski and directed by François Freynet, recounts the fascinating, behind-the-scenes story of Monte-Carlo’s creation and salutes its brilliant visionaries, François and Marie Blanc.

On April 3, the exhibition will provide a stunning back-drop to a lecture and book signing by author, Pamela Fiori, of her recently released hardcover tome, In the Spirit of Monte-Carlo from luxury publisher Assouline, which chronicles the more than 700-year-old Grimaldi dynasty and the artists and socialites who put the Principality on the map.

“Monte Carlo is one of the most fabled destinations on the planet.” says author Pamela Fiori. “Though tiny, it has everything a great resort can offer: irresistible glamour, a rich history, natural beauty, grand hotels, art and culture, haute cuisine and a real-life prince and princess who reside–where else?–in a beautiful palace on the crest of a hill.”

The book also covers the city’s vibrant arts and culture scene, and legendary Grand Prix races, and the metamorphosis of the cityscape. Featuring interviews and superb vintage images, the book includes an insider’s guide with Fiori’s selection of the best hotels, restaurants, bars and clubs, shopping, attractions, and activities in Monte Carlo and its environs.

Pamela Fiori’s career in magazine publishing spans more than forty years. She was editor in chief of Town & Country, America’s premier magazine for the affluent in America, for seventeen years and was editor in chief of Travel + Leisure for fourteen years. A portion of proceeds from book sales will benefit the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation ( and the Princess Grace Foundation-USA (

Thank you and acknowledgements

The Embassy of Monaco in Washington, D.C. and the Consulate General of Monaco in New York acknowledge and thank the following generous supporters of this exhibition and related events:

Mr. Thomas E. Horn, Honorary Consul of Monaco in San Francisco
Alliance Française, San Francisco
Archives du Palais de Monaco
Archives Monte-Carlo SBM
Automobile Club de Monaco
Edward Quinn Archive Ltd.
Monaco Government Tourist & Convention Authority
Princess Grace Foundation-USA


What: Monte-Carlo LegendsA Black & White Photo Retrospective
When: Monday, March 2 – Saturday, April 4, 2015
Where: Alliance Française, San Francisco

1345 Bush Street, San Francisco, CA 94109

Admission: Free and open to the public daily (check website for hours)
Information:  | 415-775-7755


What: Special Screening

Monte-Carlo, naissance d’un mythe

When: Tuesday, March 31 at 7:00pm (doors open at 6:45pm)
Where: Theatre, Alliance Française, San Francisco
1345 Bush Street, San Francisco, CA 94109
Admission: Free and open to the public (Note: Open seating until full)
Information  | 415-775-7755

About Monte-Carlo, Naissance d’un Mythe (Monte-Carlo, Birth of a Legend)

Director: François Freynet, 2007. Color. 52 minutes.  French with English sub-titles.

In 1863 an unprecedented adventure began in one of Europe’s smallest principalities. Within twenty years, a simple plateau of farmland on the Mediterranean coast would become one of the most celebrated destinations in the world and a dazzling symbol of prosperity. Its name: Monte-Carlo. The main players in this success were an intrepid French financier, François Blanc and a romantic, young German woman with a gift for the arts and a love for Belle Époque design, Marie Hensel Blanc. These two relatively unknown entrepreneurs founded the famedSociété des Bains de Mer Monte-Carlo, which today manages a vast heritage. It is the storybook tale of an exceptional, passionate couple, the visionary creators of the myth of Monte-Carlo at the end of the nineteenth century.

Kate Krasuski

With a background in public relations, Nice-based Kate Krasuski handles communications and PR for audio-visual productions, music concerts, and jazz festivals. She has been a booking agent for Harry Lapp Organization (Nice Jazz Festival, Jazz à Juan, Les Enfants de Django, Roy Hargrove, Ballets de Kazan, Tango Pasion, Sidney Bechet Memory All Stars, Porgy & Bess), AA Organisation (100 Violons Tziganes de Budapest, Rock The Ballet, Ain’t Misbehavin’), and Live Music International (Craig Adams & The Voices of New Orleans, Miss Jean Carpenter, Davell Crawford, Nicole Slake Jones, La Nuit du Gospel).  In 2007, she co-wrote, with François Freynet, the 52-minute documentary/drama, Monte-Carlo, Birth of a Legend.

François Freynet

François Freynet has written and directed documentaries for French TV including France 2, France 3, France 5, and Groupe Canal Plus. In 1994, Freynet directed the series Les Amants du Siècle for Fréderic Mitterrand. Since then, his writer/director credits have included Les passagers du 20h02 (1997) and Des chiens en analyse (1999) as well as docu-dramas forDisney, the Disney Club, and Disney Parade TV shows, and the 52-minute documentary/drama Monte-Carlo, Birth of a Legend (2007). He established his company,Movies Productions in May 2008. Freynet is also a professor of screenwriting, a documentary judge, and a lecturer on filmmaking for the International Institute of Image and Sound near Paris.


What: Book Lecture & Signing by author Pamela Fiori

In the Spirit of Monte Carlo

When: Friday, April 3, 2015 (doors open 6:30pm, presentation commences at 7:00pm)
Where: Theatre, Alliance Française, San Francisco
1345 Bush Street, San Francisco, CA 94109
Admission: Ticketed event/open to the public

$15.00 for AFSF members and students/$20.00 general public

Tickets available online at

Information:  | 415-775-7755

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