Louise is known as a Monaco insider. As well as writing about the principality for numerous publications across the globe, she is interviewed regularly about life in Monte Carlo (such as CBS Broadcasting with Peter Greenberg). Summer 2018 sees Louise taking over as food & wine columnist for Monaco’s daily news site and periodical, Hello Monaco. Previously she spent five years as the food & wine columnist for Monaco Life where her acerbic restaurant reviews became a viral sensation and where she interviewed numerous celebrities for her Lunch with Monaco Life series. 

Monaco’s answer to Giles Coren, Louise is at once erudite and down-to-earth. She has changed the face of the principality’s dining scene with such spellbinding style that readers and restaurateurs alike respect her."

Ian Brodie, Editor-in-Chief @ Monaco Life

Curious about Artcurial

Louise Simpson goes under the hammer over lunch with Artcurial Monaco director Louise Gréther

 “Hermès crocodile handbags need their own passports to travel,” says Gréther.

 

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The World's Favourite Drink

There’s nothing like a whiff of scandal to ensure popularity in perpetuity. Tea – that innocuous hot drink that reminds me of grandmothers, knitted cosies and scones – has had more than its fair share. Tea has sparked intrigue, attempted bans and even warfare. Tea has been described as dangerous liquid fire and better than sex. Nowadays more tea is drunk worldwide than any other beverage except water. 

In my search to find out more about the world’s favourite drink, I have found Sabine Minh Sen. This niçoise tea connoisseur knows more about Camellia-sinensis infusions than anyone else on the French Riviera. She has sold tea to Alain Ducasse, tea-trained Michelin-starred restaurant teams and served tea at an event organised by the Chinese government. Today she’s teaching me about tea during an hour-long tea ceremony. 

“Tea has vintages like wine. I tasted a tea from 1800 once,” says Minh Sen showing me her stash of decades-old tea.

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Lunch with Monaco Life

“This is a first for the principality,” says Grosoli.

We’re sitting in a light-infused boardroom in Barclays Monaco as Grosoli tells me about his recent promotion over lunch. It’s the first time that a Monaco-bred-and-based professional has risen through the ranks of a global company to such a high level.

“Usually it’s the opposite,” he continues. “Top roles are recruited from abroad.” 

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Lunch with Monaco Life

Louise Simpson sails the skies over lunch with easyJet founder, Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, and gets the lowdown on his latest aviation project, fastjet

“Aviation and Africa are both risky places to do business,” says Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, “so fastjet is twice as risky.”

I’m spearing Burgundy snails into my mouth as one of the world’s best-known businessmen tells me about his latest venture over lunch at the Quai des Artistes restaurant. It’s the typical Monaco tale where friends of friends end up creating multi-million-euro businesses together. The friend of a friend in question is fellow Monaco resident David Lenigas. Their collaboration started in 2011 when Lenigas chaired Lonrho – a British-colonial conglomerate with a small, unsuccessful airline. Lenigas turned to Stelios for help.

“We need to change the aircraft, we need to change the name, we need to change the business model,” Stelios replied.

Their brainchild is Africa’s first low-cost airline. To date, the airline has six aircraft and is expanding slowly across the African continent. Stelios remains cautiously optimistic about its future. Although his name launched the brand, he isn’t running the show.

“I’m not on the board. I have only a 10% shareholding so it’s an interesting bet on what happens in Africa.” 

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