The Fontvieille district of Monaco is almost entirely built on the sea, offering a considerable gain in territory to the Principality. The beginning of the construction of this gigantic platform dates back to 1966, and inspires new projects for the city-state.
Expansion work started in 1966
Nestled between the sea and the mountains, the Principality of Monaco has always needed additional land, necessary to develop. The lack of territory and the density of the population were the primary motivations for the construction of Fontvieille. An industrial area since the middle of the 19th century, the Fontvieille site housed, among other things, an incineration plant, a brewery and a flour mill.
This ambitious construction project on the sea is an initiative of Rainier III, Sovereign Prince of Monaco at the time. Started in 1966, the work was staggered until 1973. These 7 years of construction aimed to eventually accommodate, in this district built on the Mediterranean, to the south-west of the rock, 10,000 inhabitants. In order to be able to install the embankments of Fontvieille, the bay of the site had to be drained. Almost entirely built on the sea, as in Larvotto, the district of Fontvieille has thus enabled Monaco to expand by 22 hectares of territory.
New extensions at sea for the next few years
Monaco is still facing a strong demand for housing, and to meet this, the Principality must necessarily expand towards the sea. The "Mareterra" project, whose delivery is scheduled for the end of 2025, will allow the Principality to expand of 6 hectares. This new extension will house luxury buildings, villas, a commercial space, as well as a green park.
The record construction of a 40-meter-deep dike
The most impressive part of this project was the creation of the dyke designed to protect the embankment. After meticulous studies, the titanic work began to build this dam 1 km long and 40 meters deep. This step was indeed essential before starting the construction of the Fontvieille structures. The underwater slope, designed to seat the dike, required 7 million tonnes of materials. This shows the extent of the work carried out at that time, a record for the Principality. The upper body of the breakwater was then made from 43 caissons, manufactured in Genoa and then exported to Monaco.
After that, the landfill work could begin. Although SADIM was originally to take care of the urbanization of Fontvieille, the Principality finally bought the site in 1973. The urban plan was therefore defined by the Monegasque technical services. As for the development work in the district, it took place between 1980 and 1992. The new Louis II stadium was also built there in 1985.
Today, the Fontvieille district is home to luxury homes, but also state buildings with more than 600 social housing units. It also includes industrial and service activities, a marina, as well as a shopping center about to be redeveloped into a space of 30,000 m² of commercial surface.
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