×

Why Filming in Monte Carlo Doesn’t Have to Break the Bank

Home to the super-rich, the Monte Carlo quarter of Monaco has a long tradition as a filming location for projects that want to convey the glamorous lifestyles of the wealthy elite.

Just 1.24 miles across (about half the size of New York’s Central Park), Monte Carlo has nevertheless squeezed in an array of high-end productions, such as James Bond films “Never Say Never Again” and “Golden Eye,” “Ocean’s Twelve,” “Iron Man 2” and TV drama “Riviera.”

Many of them come for iconic Monte Carlo locations such as the Casino de Monte Carlo, the Hotel de Paris Monte Carlo and Casino Square, while taking in the yachts in the harbor and making the most of the approximately 330 days of sunshine on the French Riviera.

Monaco adds a natural and inimitable touch of glamour and luxury to all films,” says Axel Hoppenot, exec VP of sales and marketing at the Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer (SBM), the government-owned body that manages and owns many of Monaco’s casinos, hotels, restaurants, bars, nightclubs and beach clubs.

Hoppenot says the principality’s department of communication will issue an authorization to film after reading the script. Additional permission is then needed from SBM to shoot at its venues. SBM can, he says, offer a “one-stop shop” contact to help coordinate all shooting.

However, the two key challenges about shooting in Monaco are the very things that draw in filmmakers: it’s pricey and it’s home to very rich people who value their privacy. Closing a main street for a shoot, for example, can have a serious knock-on effect in such a densely packed environment. There’s also no tax breaks available for filming.

As such, it’s not a place you would necessarily choose to shoot unless you needed to tap into its unique attributes.

But, if you want to shoot Monaco for Monaco, it’s feasible to do so. Hoppenot recommends having a script that is in line with the image of Monaco wants to convey: that it is chic, elegant and glamorous. Booking ahead is also advised to guarantee the availability of venues, while the quieter November-to-March period is the best time to film.

“Riviera” producer Foz Allan reckons the Sky Atlantic drama shot around 15% of its recent season in Monaco. He describes the show as “a peek behind the billionaire’s curtain,” making Monaco a perfect backdrop. “Riviera” shot many of its exteriors in Monaco to add flavor and tone to the drama, but then built its interiors, including casinos, elsewhere in France.

Allan also says Monaco wasn’t as costly to film in as might be imagined.

“It was expensive because we were using boats and high-end cars, but they are expensive whether you are in Nice or Monte Carlo. But I don’t think the environment was expensive.”

Allan, who also runs his own indie Bryncoed, says the authorities were very helpful and supportive. “It is a principality — and the prince’s mother [Grace Kelly] was an actress. By that I mean they are by default supportive, provided you are not too disruptive.”

More TV

  • MAKING IT -- Season: 1 --

    TV News Roundup: NBC Announces 'Making It' Season 2 Premiere Date

    In today’s TV news roundup, NBC announced the “Making It” Season 2 premiere date and HBO Max greenlit a new docuseries from Brad Goreski and Gary Janetti. DATES Hosts Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman will return with the second season of “Making It” on NBC Dec. 2. After the show’s holiday season premiere, the show [...]

  • Luis Fonsi Erika Ender Latin Grammys

    The Second Latin Explosion: How 'Despacito' Ushered in a New Generation of Stars

    Music is an ever-evolving art, and for the Latin Recording Academy, that’s meant riding multiple waves of attention. The most recent arrived with the stratospheric success of “Despacito,” which kicked off a second Latin Explosion with full force in 2017. The Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee hit, later featuring verses by Justin Bieber, made Latin [...]

  • TV Review: 'Catherine the Great' Starring

    TV Review: 'Catherine the Great' Starring Helen Mirren

    For some, “Dame Helen Mirren playing the Catherine the Great” is all the convincing they’ll need to watch this new biographical limited series, which is perfectly understandable. The casting of Mirren in the role, which follows the Russian empress in the embattled latter years of her life, is a smart choice that proves its worth [...]

  • Ricky Martin Celia Cruz Gloria Estefan

    From Idea to Legacy: Latin Grammy Awards Mark 20 Years of Global Recognition

    The idea of creating a separate organization to honor the diversity of Latin music was a discussion that took place for years before it actually happened, but an event driven by one of pop music’s most important crossover artists solidified it. During the 41st Grammy Awards ceremony, a young Ricky Martin was scheduled to perform [...]

  • Science Fair

    Disney Plus Fleshes Out Nonfiction Slate, Including 'Howard,' 'Science Fair,' Mickey Mouse Docu

    Disney Plus further fleshed out its nonfiction content slate at an International Documentary Association showcase event Friday, as the streamer, preparing for its Nov. 12 launch, continues to flesh out its programming strategy. Among the announcements: The streamer has acquired the global distribution rights to “Howard,” the Don Hahn-directed documentary about “Aladdin” and “Beauty and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content