Ravin de Sainte-Dévote – Small but mighty
Ravin de Sainte-Dévote borders the city districts of Les Monegetti, La Condamine and Monte Carlo. Ravin de Sainte-Dévote also has a border with the French municipality of Beausoleil. Administratively, Ravin de Sainte-Dévote still belongs to the district of La Condamine.
According to the census (population census) of June 2016, the number of residents together with Les Moneghetti is estimated at around 4,200, although it should be noted that the urban district of Les Monegehetti, is, with a good 115 hectares, much larger than Ravin de Sainte-Dévote.
Sightseeings in Ravin de Sainte-Dévote
Considering the size of Ravin de Sainte-Dévote, the question arises as to whether there can be any sightseeings in this district at all. The answer to this question is clearly “yes”. As the existence of sightseeings is not a question of size and/or area. For example, the Vatican City State has an area of 44 hectares, which is fully protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. But back to Ravin de Sainte-Dévote.
Unlike other districts of the principality, no major roads or avenues pass through Ravin de Sainte-Dévote. For these pass, if at all, at the outer borders of the city district. Instead, some bridges cross the canyon. The two biggest ones are the Saint-Dévote-bridge (pont Saint-Dévote) in the west that leads to the station of Monaco-Monte Carlo. In the east, it is the Boulevard du Lavrotto. This road bridge crosses the canyon near the church Sainte-Dévote. For the Monaco Grand Prix, the road bridge becomes a grandstand overlooking the first curve of the circuit. In addition, the only railway tunnel in the principality (Tunnel Sainte-Dévote) runs through the urban district.
Hommage à William Grover
William Grover, actually William Grover-Williams, also known by his pseudonym “W Williams”, was the winner of the first Monaco Grand Prix in 1929, and the sculpture is located in Sainte-Dévote Square (Placce Sainte-Dévote), which is at the intersection of Boulevard Albert I, Avenue d’Ostende and Rue Grimaldi. From a racetrack point of view, this is at the first corner of the Monaco Formula 1 circuit. The statue is intended to commemorate the legendary victory of Grover, who was a French spy during the Second World War and was executed in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp in 1945.
The statue is a life-size bronze and shows Grover in his winning racing car, a Bugatti 35 B, driving a racing car through a curve. On a commemorative plaque next to it is a historical photo showing the scene of the statue in the original. The statue of William Grover in his racing car was inaugurated in 2001 by Rainer III.
Église Sainte Dévote
The Church of Saint Devota (Église Sainte Dévote) has a very special meaning for Monaco, as Saint Devota is the patron saint of the principality.
The present church goes back to a chapel from the first centuries of Christianity, which was, according to legend, built over the grave of the saint. Until 1793 it belonged to the abbey of Saint Pons near Nice. After restoration and extension under Charles III, it was solemnly consecrated on January 26 and converted into a parish church barely two months later. The symbols of the church are closely linked to the legend. Thus the dove goes back to the secret transfer of the body of the saint after her martyrdom in Corsica. Because the real destination was Africa. But when a storm came up, the sailors lost their way. A dove, which came out of the saint’s mouth, led the sailors to Monaco, where the martyr found her final resting place on the site of the present church. According to today’s calendar, this was on January 26.
Therefore, every year on January 26 and 27 the feast of Saint Devote is celebrated in Monaco. A highlight of the festival is the burning of a boat on the place in front of the church. This is to commemorate the transfer of the Saint Devota to Monaco and her commemoration. All important personalities of the principality, including the Princely Family, take part in the celebrations, which also include a procession. The special status of the saints is not only reflected in the annual celebration in honour of Sainte Dévote, but also in the fact that after the wedding ceremony, the present Princess Charlène laid her bridal bouquet in the cour d’honneur of the palace, as Grace Kelly had done at her wedding to Rainier III, in the Église Sainte Dévote. This brief stay of the newlyweds is not only one of the most touching moments of the wedding, but is also part of the tradition for many locals.
Properties in Ravin de Sainte-Dévote
Together with the district of Monaco-Ville, Ravin de Sainte Dévote belongs to the so-called Secteurs réservés, which can be translated as “protected area”. According to the decree of 2013, these are urban districts whose current character must be preserved.
As the gorge is several tens of metres below the neighbouring area, there are few buildings in Ravin de Sainte-Dévote. However, the gorge is “framed” by buildings on the sides. Among these buildings there are numerous old villas in the style of the Belle Epoque. If some of these villas have to give way to bigger complexes is not clear until now. In the year 2017, a building project was last presented to the city council that four of these villas should give way to. Regardless of this, properties around the Sainte Dévote canyon are very hard to find, as they are considered to be real rarities. And as is the case with real rarities, the prices are of course kept quiet.