Wow, the little place that packs a punch……
Recently I had the pleasure of going to the south of France to celebrate a friends birthday. The south of France cote dAzur is fast becoming my favourite go-to destination for close to home travel, with a flight time of just 2 hours from the London.
On my whirlwind trip, I visited Monaco. Monaco is next door to Nice, France and is a short train ride from Nice Ville or 7 minutes via helicopter from Nice airport.
Monaco, a tiny independent city-state on France’s Mediterranean coastline and is known for is its supercars, upscale casinos, yacht-lined harbour and the F1 Grand Prix race. With 38,000 residents, it is the second smallest country in the world (after the Vatican) and the most densely populated. It is a tax haven and Forbes.com states that just over 30% of residents are millionaires. Monaco is one of the safest countries in the world with a police officer for every 60 people. There are lots of things to do in Monaco for it visitors and getting around the city is easy on foot, but it is hilly, so wear flat comfortable footwear.
Prince Albert II is the reigning monarch of the Principality of Monaco and head of the princely house of Grimaldi. He is the son of Prince Rainier III and the American actress Grace Kelly.
Here is my list of 5 must do things when you come and visit.
1) Visit Le Palais des Princes de Monaco.
The Prince’s Palace of Monaco is the official residence of the Sovereign Prince of Monaco. Built in 1191. Based in Monaco City (French: Monaco –Ville) is a ward of Monaco and Nicknamed the rock.
A must do, is to watch changing of the guards at 11.55am each day, arrive at 11.45am to get the best viewpoint.
You can also visit the State Apartments at the Palace (from April – Mid October each year). You can also visit the Private Collection of Antique cars.
Prince’s palace: State Apartments*
Adults: 8 euros, Children (6-16 years old): 4 euros.
Double ticket: State Apartments + Private Collection of Antique cars
Adults: 11.50 euros, children (6-16 years old) 5 euros.
*The State Apartments are not accessible to those in wheelchairs. Access only by stairs.
Also located nearby, in walking distance Saint Nicholas Cathedral, The Oceanographic Museum, The courthouse and other government buildings.
2) Take the mini train around the city
Also based in Monaco –Ville and starting opposite the Oceanographic Museum, the mini train is great, with tickets costing just €10 each for adults and €5 for children. The tour is available in 12 languages and leaves numerous times throughout the day.
The 40-minute tour takes you around the principality. It is great to do before or after the changing of the guard. It allows to you see most of the city and you can then work out where else you would like to go and see.
3) The frame
You will pass the frame if you take the mini train.
The frame is great for photo opportunities and is located also located in Monaco-Ville. If you walk back down into the city follow the road down the hill from the train stop and the Oceanographic Museum for a few minutes and stop to take photos in the frame with part of the famous Port de Monaco in the background.
4) Monte Carlo Casino
The Monte Carlo Casino is world famous, it is also one of the greatest places to spot supercars. Inside the casino and view the beautiful marble and chandeliers. The Casino was built in 1893 by Charles Garnier, the architect of the Paris Opera House. Its marble paved “atrium”, surrounded by 28 Ionic columns made of onyx. If you’re feeling lucky why not have a little gamble too.
Restricted access – over 18’s only and proof of identity may be required.
5) The F1 Grand Prix Circuit
The Grand Prix track if like me you love F1 you will love the city of Monte Carlo as you are practically walking around the track. I was lucky enough to visit Monaco at the beginning of April and the city is also already preparing for this year’s Grand Prix with hoardings and seating going up in preparation. It takes weeks to prepare for the Grand Prix, the Monaco Grand Prix is the last weekend in May.
Other things to do in Monaco;
- Saint Nicholas Cathedral (Prince Rainier III and Princess Grace of Monaco are buried there)
- The Oceanographic Museum
- Sainte- Dévote Church
- Watch a football match at the Monaco stadium.
- Charter yacht
- Take a boat trip, in summer months you can also take a trip to Monaco via boat Nice.
- Cafe de Paris
- Go shopping