Rub shoulders with the elite on the French Mediterranean coast. Yes, it’s Monaco – the glitz and the glamour, the millionaires’ ¬– and billionaires’, for that matter – playground.
Its allure comes in many forms ¬– a tiny principality that has its own Royal Family, it also hosts the Grand Prix, which is without doubt the one of the highlights of the Formula 1 season as cars tear around the famous street circuit.
The legendary Casino de Monte Carlo only adds to the grandeur with its spectacularly lavish marble and gold, while the equally grand Prince’s Palace sits atop Le Rocher.
The cruise pier, known as the Nouvelle Digue de Monaco, is next to the yacht harbour at Port Hercule. Occasionally, tenders will be used when the pier is full.
The Old Town is within walking distance, although taxis are available for those who prefer a motorised form of transport. The public buses – of which there are five routes – are also efficient.
Facilities are few and far between at the Nouvelle Digue de Monaco, but there’s plenty just around the corner.
NEED TO KNOW
Given its location, Monaco is, as expected, warm during the summer months. This provides plenty of opportunity to sample the beaches, such as Larvotto Beach, on Avenue Princesse Grace.
Monaco is very small, but the terrain is made of up of steep hills and steps, so decent walking shoes are recommended.
As for hotels, there is really nothing that could be described as ‘budget’. The same could be said for the restaurants, although there is plenty of choice in terms of cuisine.
Shopping wise, the Métropole Centre, next to Casino Gardens, has 80 high-end boutiques to browse.
WHAT WE LOVE
Casino de Monte Carlo: One for the high rollers, this casino, built in 1893, embodies the Monaco essence of luxury. A range of games are on offer to satisfy every desire, including European Roulette, Trente et Quarante, Black Jack, English Roulette and Ultimate Texas Hold’em Poker tables.
Prince’s Palace: The palace, which dates back to the 13th century, is the home of the ruling Grimaldi family – currently headed by Albert II, Prince of Monaco. While a majority of the palace is off limits, the public are welcome on tours of the state apartments. The changing of the guard also takes place at 11:55am every day.
Fort Antoine: Located in the Monaco-Ville ward of the principality, this fortress, which was built in the 18th century, now serves as an open-air theatre, serving up a nice helping of culture.
Jardin Exotique: Among the luxury super yachts and winding streets is the Jardin Exotique garden, built on the cliff side. It packs in plants from a range of countries, including USA, Mexico, Central and South America, Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. An added bonus is the cave – Observation Cave – at the bottom of the cliff. Guided tours are included in the price of the ticket for the Jardin gardens.
Prince’s car collection: A pure delight for all petrol-heads, the car collection of the Prince of Monaco – started by Prince Rainier III – includes close to 100 models, such as Rolls Royce, Ferrari, Maserati, and Lamborghini. Formula 1 Grand Prix cars are also on display.
- Sample the high life
- Motorsport fans will love seeing the Grand Prix circuit
- A one-of-a-kind location