The new cultural project in Beausoleil costing more than 18 million euros, called Village Charlot, is eagerly awaited by the residents of the very multi-cultural Monaco suburb. Not.

Mayor Spinelli has explained the project in terms of bringing together the various communities that make up the French municipality, suggesting that without this high-profile cultural monument, they might be at each others’ throats. Despite the lack of a police presence, compared to Monaco, there is hardly ever any trouble in Beausoleil, and the streets exude a healthy all-accepting tolerance of one race for another.

Back to the Charlie Chaplin-themed Village, books will be available in many languages, apart from French. Books? What century is Mayor Spinelli living in?

As a resident of Beausoleil I am delighted, although more than a little sceptical.

Most of the non-French in the town are domestic workers, gardeners, drivers, journalists and columnists in Monaco itself. Many work long and unsocial hours. I would imagine that in any free time they would rather have a nap, or a beer, or a Portuguese speciality than take the stairs or Monaco-funded escalator to the House of Culture which reeks of the thankfully dead Soviet Union, the one that Putin is trying to resuscitate far too long after its natural death.

Villa Charlot speaks to me of top-down thinking of the worst kind. Totally patronising.

Part of the project is a Philosophy Cafe!

Worst of all, the over-riding idea is that the Village should be seen from above and below, covered in a glass canopy. The Media Library will resemble a large greenhouse.

Project manager Marc Barani is on record as saying that his team wanted the “culture to be visible” from the street, whether Ave. Foch or ave Carnier.

The project was first mooted in 2008, when climate change and soaring temperatures were a rumour. Imagine the temperatures in there when the Portuguese masons have their annual holidays in August 2025! Or, the cost of air-conditioning, which Betsy and I can’t afford.

Meanwhile, always the optimist, Betsy can’t wait to invite our Filipino neighbour, who seems to be washing clothes and drying them for her entire community in her front patch powered by an extension lead from her kitchen directly under our sitting room window, to join her at the Philosophy Cafe to investigate the meaning of life and death, in this case from heat exhaustion or just exhaustion.

Maybe she can come between loads, Betsy said.

Monte-Carlo Diary is published in the interests of diversity, and any views expressed or implied do not necessarily reflect those of the publishers.

PHOTO: Max Brodie