When people think of Monaco, they often think of lavish parties and other spectacular scenes. There are some other reasons that a trip to Monaco is certainly worth your time though. These are some of our favorites.
The Casino de Monte-Carlo
There is no better place to splash the cash in glamorous surroundings than here at the casino. The gold-splattered décor looks lavish and the extravagant surroundings are enough to make even large high rollers feel a little underdressed. The smart dress code is strict, but it is certainly worth it in order to see this for yourself.
Le Jardin Exotique
The principality is basically built onto the side of a mountain, something that is often an understated factor in the appeal of Monaco. To see the terracotta-roofed dome stand out from the Mediterranean Sea is a truly spectacular sight. If you buy a ticket here, you also get entry to a tour of La Grotte de l’Observatoire. This mountainside cave is home to flint weapons designed by pre-Neanderthal man, some 250,000 years old.
The Prince’s Palace
It does not get much more glamorous than to have a Royal family that was housed by a former playboy prince. Even though he got married not too long ago, Albert II managed to bring some swagger to the otherwise traditional household. A few of the highlights here include the chandeliers of the Blue Room, the full-on silk brocade walls, and the Renaissance-style painted portico called the Galerie d’Hercule.
The Grace Kelly Trail
Rainier III – Albert’s father – brought international renown to Monaco when he decided to marry Grace Kelly – America’s sweetheart. Grace Kelly is still big news, despite the fact that she died in a car crash back in 1982. You will find explanatory signs that offer links to where Princess Grace has had memorable moments. A few include the Monaco Cathedral (where the couple was married) and Fontvieille’s rose garden that Rainier had planted in memory of Grace Kelly.
The Grand Prix
Even though the newer circuits such as Singapore, Bahrain, and Abu Dhabi try to compete, there is no other circuit that captures the status of the Monaco Grand Prix. This is in part because Monaco’s street circuit is clearly inappropriate for hosting a race and Monaco’s glamour factor. There is no comparing the Monaco Grand Prix to any other race on the calendar.
The Opera House
When compared to international standards, the prices for a night at the opera in Monaco are relatively low. Even though the performances are good, the real reason to travel here is the building itself. The 524-seat Opera de Monte-Carlo was designed by Charles Garnier and it is a dazzling blizzard of frescoed ceilings, plush chandeliers, and gold.
International Circus Festival
When it comes to the packed events calendar of Monaco, the Grand Prix is certainly not the only highlight that you should be paying attention to. Late January each year, the festival is often considered to be the Olympics for acrobats, contortionists, clowns, and other big-top performers. The Chapiteau de Fontvieille was specially constructed to play host to troupes from as far afield as Mongolia and Canada. If you want to make a night of it, you can book one of the many available dinner-and-show packages.
It does not get more expensive or impressive than the Hotel de Paris’ expensive, opulent Louis XV restaurant. This serves as Alain Ducasse’s flagship restaurant. For those who are unaware, Ducasse has several Michelin stars to his name. The restaurant serves Provencal cuisine and it has three Michelin stars. The food found here is truly in a league of its own.
The Musee Oceanographique
The Musee Oceanographique is undoubtedly the best museum in all of Monaco. It is built into a cliff and it offers exhibitions about our oceans on the top two floors. The world’s first submarine – a comical wooden contraption – can be found here. The lower parts are where the museum really shines. The museum morphs into a massive aquarium. This also includes a large chunk of coral reef, turtles, and sharks. If you have even a passing interest in what goes on under the ocean, this is one stop that you cannot afford to miss when in Monaco.
Staying in luxury
If you want a luxury stay in Monaco, you do not have to look very far. However, it does not get much better than the Hotel Hermitage. This luxurious hotel is an actual historic monument and is only steps removed from the Monte-Carlo Casino. The CrystalBar is home to some amazing vintage wines and the Vistamar restaurant offers fine cuisine as you overlooked the harbor.