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Glamour, Glitz & Gold — Planning Your Trip To Monaco

Monaco, a tiny principality that sits atop a steep, rocky coastline overlooking the azure waters of the Mediterranean Sea, enjoys sunshine 300 days a year with mild winters and moderate summer temperatures.

 To the west of the Mediterranean Sea and the French Alps lies France. Italy is towards the east. Well-known as a playground of the rich and famous, Monaco is also a perfect getaway for planning a trip to the French or Italian rivers.

Whether driving or flying, getting to Monaco is easy. From the International Airport in Nice, you can even take a 7-a-minute helicopter ride to Monaco via Heli Air Monaco or Monicair. Your ticket price includes free transport from the heliport to anywhere you want to go in Monaco and free pickup on your return.

Having a car in Monaco is optional, as you can walk to most districts within the city within twenty to thirty minutes, especially if you’re going to Monaco for business and not planning on doing much sightseeing outside of the town.

 The first thing you’ll notice when you arrive are the cars! It’s not uncommon to see a Rolls Royce double-parked next to a shiny Ferrari sitting in front of a Porsche near the casino, and the sheer number of expensive sports cars is fantastic.

 The next thing you’ll notice is how clean it is. You’ll seldom even see litter on the streets. And finally, you’ll be delighted by the more than 100 statues, fountains, and sculptures found throughout all five districts of Monaco.

As you wander around, you’ll soon discover the narrow, winding medieval alleyways, stone arches and “secret” passageways, fragrant flowers, and pastel-painted buildings with red-tiled roofs so characteristic of the French Riviera.

 Nicknamed “the Rock” by the locals, there are many things to see and do in Monaco, and thanks to the generosity and foresight of Prince Rainier III, the former Prince of Monaco, many of them are free.

About the size of Central Park in New York City, Monaco is three miles long and one-half mile wide. Although it’s the second smallest country in the world (Vatican City is the most minor), Monaco offers something for everyone.

 During the tourist season, you’ll find fairs, festivals, rallies, or other celebrations scheduled almost daily. Off-season also has its charms, with less to do, less traffic, fewer tourists, and the chance to explore all that Monaco offers.

 Helpful Information:


The European Euro

 Identification and Length of Stay:

To enter Monaco, you need the exact identification used for gaining entry to France (passport, travel, or identity documents), and you can stay for up to 90 days without a visa.

 Principal Language:

French, although many natives still speak the ancient Monegasque. Italian and English are also commonly spoken.

 Nearest Airport:

International Cote d’Azur Nice is approximately 15 miles away.

 Transportation from the Airport:

Bus, train, helicopter, private limousine, taxi, rental car or motorcycle.

 Basic Geography:

There are five divisions in Monaco.

 1. The Ville on the Rock includes the Prince’s Palace, the gardens, the Ramparts, the Cathedral, and the Oceanographic Museum.

 2. The Condamine, which is the second oldest area in Monaco. Its name dates back to the Middle Ages and refers to the size of cultivatable land at the foot of a village or castle.

 3. Monte Carlo was built in 1866 and named in honor of Prince Charles III. Monte Carlo is famous for its casino, luxury hotels, and unique boutiques.

 4. Fontvieille, once underwater, is now the latest addition to Monaco. 

The artificial harbor has hotels, shopping, restaurants, a stadium, and a sports complex and is a pollution-free industrial area.

 5. Moneghetti, which is a “must-see” district. It features the Reveries and the Exotic Gardens. Underneath the gardens is a prehistoric cave.

 Pets: Pets are often allowed in hotels and restaurants, but checking first is a good idea.

 Seven public elevators will make it easier to go up and down Monaco’s steep elevations and public areas.

 Where to Stay:

 Accommodation options in Monaco encompass both affordable and extravagant hotels. Each year, more than 260,000 tourists come here for business and pleasure. Monaco’s flagship hotel is still the Hotel de Paris, with its almost unbelievable luxury and unparalleled attention to your every wish.

 However, if spending upwards of 500 a night during the high season is outside your budget, try the Hermitage (which offers old-world charm and elegance) or the more modern Mirabeau near the business center and nightlife attractions.

 If you prefer being near the Med, the Monte Carlo Beach Hotel provides all the amenities and breathtaking views. An excellent family hotel that even offers onsite babysitting is the Tulip Inn Monaco Terminus.

 The Monte Carlo Grand Hotel is an imposing building with seven polygonal terraces that overlook the Med or the Grand Prix race course. The hotel offers 30 suites, several restaurants, a rooftop swimming pool, and a shopping arcade.

Even with an extra 750 hotel rooms, amounting to a one-third rise, locating a space for the upcoming Grand Prix in Monaco will remain challenging! Generally, individuals book the rooms for that event a full year beforehand and, occasionally, even before that. 

 Where to Eat:

 Arguably, the finest restaurant in Monaco is the Louis XV. (It has a 3-star rating in the Michelin Guide). The restaurant looks very fancy and formal. Everything inside is gold, from the furniture and decorations to the plates and silverware. And the service is as superb as the food.

A place that attracts many visitors is the Café de Paris. Sit back, drink, and enjoy the French atmosphere while waiting for your lunch. Locals frequent the café as often as tourists, and if you are fluent in French, you might hear the latest gossip about one of the Royal family or speculate about whom the huge white yachts lined up in the harbor belong to.

 Visit the bar in the Hotel de Paris across the street, enjoy an aperitif in the late afternoon or early evening, and drink in the atmosphere. This place is on the Golden Square, within the Place du Casino. With its opulent touches and ornamentation in gold, rose, and maroon, the home exudes an air of elegance.

 What to See:

 The Monte-Carlo Casino:

What would a visit to Monaco be without a stop in the famous district of Monte Carlo and its casino? Built-in 1878 by Charles Garnier, it was Europe’s first gambling establishment.

The initial chamber features an Ionic design with a marble floor and 28 onyx pillars encircling it. To enter the casino, men must provide payment and attire consisting of a jacket and tie. They will also ask for your passport and other documents to confirm your identity. Beyond the leading salons is a private gaming room for high rollers.

 The Naval Museum:

The museum is like a three-dimensional encyclopedia of naval history, dating from the Romans to the modern day. With one of the most diverse collections in the world, you can find over 250 models and other unique objects here.

 Zoological Terraces:

Prince Rainier III was responsible for opening the zoo in 1954. The construction took place on the southern slope of a mountain, offering a picturesque vista of the Port of Fontvieille in Monaco. 

The 250 animals (more than 50 different species) include a Black Panther, White Tiger, Hippopotamus, Lemurs, and many exotic birds. The atmosphere is peaceful, and the views are as spectacular as the animals.

 Princess Grace Rose Garden:

Here, you’ll find the peace and serenity for which Princess Grace herself was known. There are over 4,000 rose bushes here.

 The Exotic Garden:

This garden, daringly landscaped against the rocky face of the cliff, features several thousand succulent plants, flowers, and cacti from all over the world.

Sixty meters down from the garden, accessible by a long stairway, is the Observatory Cave. The stalactites and stalagmites and natural limestone sculptures are a wonder in themselves. Close by, the Museum of Prehistoric Antiquity traces the history of humanity and features local archaeological finds.

 The Oceanographic Museum and Aquarium:

This is another must-see, housing a permanent display of Jacques Coustou and one of the finest aquariums in the world. Or take the Seabus, a glass-bottomed submarine that gives passengers a birds-eye view of the Med. You might come to Monaco for the gold, the glamour, or the glitz, but you’ll fall in love with the little kingdom by the sea.

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