Commemorative plaques, a treasure too often overlooked
Often hidden, we pass in front of the commemorative plaques without even noticing them. However, they say a lot about the history of Monaco.
History, sport, art, anecdote, the commemorative plaques dot the Principality and retrace the historical and cultural events that have occurred in Monaco. Installed over time, the plates are offered on the walls so that their total number is unknown.
To produce this mystery, the Prince’s Government produced a census. Still in progress, the Government teams have already done at least 122.
As diverse as they are varied, the editorial staff of Monaco Tribune has made a selection of plates for you in the Principality.
Let’s start with sports. These two plaques were placed in 2007 and 2017 in honor of Brazilian F1 champion and six-time Monaco Grand Prix champion Ayrton Senna. His brilliant career, however, came to an abrupt halt in 1994, when he died in Bologna following an accident during the San Marino Grand Prix.
Installed in front of the entrance to the Fairmont Hotel, near the Portier bend, these plaques commemorate one of the greatest pilots in history.
Sergius of Diaghilev
Quite discreet, this plaque is placed right next to the Ballets de Monte-Carlo boutique, at the back of the Casino. It pays homage to Serge de Diaghilev, precursor of the Ballets de Monte-Carlo thanks to the Ballets Russes.
The company, created in 1907, was initially made up of the best dancers from the Mariinsky Theater in Saint Petersburg. Following the Bolshevik Revolution, Serge de Diaghilev was forced into exile and settled with his troupe between Monaco, Paris and London. A great name in the Ballet, Serge de Diaghilev marked his time with original dances.
National Council plaques
Between the National Council building and the Chapel of the Visitation, two plaques are attached to the Council wall.
The first recalls, in the Monegasque language and in French, what used to be in place of the Council, in this case, a training place for the Brothers of the Christian Schools of Saint-Jean Baptiste de la Salle.
Next to it, another plaque pays tribute to two shot for resistance during the Second World War: René Borghini and Esther Poggio.
René Borghini was secretary of the presidency of the National Council and concealed in his office documents specifying, in particular, the places of parachuting. In retaliation for the landing in Provence, he was shot in the Arianne district of Nice.
Esther Poggio, nicknamed “La Marquise”, carried out intelligence missions under the orders of René Borghini. Betrayed, she had herself denounced, imprisoned and shot on August 15 at the same time as her leader.
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Much more substantial, this plaque pays homage to the great man that was Prince Albert I, known as the Prince Savant or even the Prince Explorer. Located in the splendid Saint-Martin gardens, the plaque repeats the words of Prince Albert I from his book: Memoirs of a Navigator. Prince Savant praises the sea and the scientific knowledge it has brought him. Died in 1922, the Principality celebrates this year the 100th anniversary of his death.
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The Principality is full of plaques to which we do not always pay attention. And you, have you ever been surprised to discover a plaque on your usual path or at the bend of a street?
Do not hesitate to share your discoveries or your favorite plates in our Facebook group: Monaco: It’s up to you!