tMonaco does not enchant travelers. And yet, this mini-country (second smallest independent state in the world, after the Vatican) on the French Riviera, known for its climate, for its circuit of Formula 1 and for its casino, can surprise – and disorient you – more than one time.
In the article I talk about things to see and do in Monaco – a census of the best activities, the best restaurants, and the best accommodations,
Monaco is divided into four districts:
- The old town (Monaco-city)
- The Condamine (wearing)
- Monte-Carlo (Leisure and Business)
- Fontvieille (leisure and industry)
What to see, what to do in Monaco? The list of the best activities:
1. Oceanographic Museum of Monaco
The Oceanographic Museum of Monaco, and its aquarium is one of the best in the world. Commander Cousteau was one of those who created the place and today the museum contains an impressive collection of marine flora and fauna: more than 4000 species and more than 200 families of invertebrates.
Photo: Rich Stakounis
2. The port of Fontvieille
Where the wealthy park their beautiful, beautiful sailing boats, yachts and boats of all kinds. It’s very “did you see me”, but the show is pleasant to the passer-by who walks around.
Photo: Ian Kindred
3. The exotic gardens
Rare plants from around the world, enriched with a superb view of the bay.
Photo: Feanor Noldor
4. Japanese gardens
7000 m2 designed in 94 by the landscape architect Yasuo Beppu, according to the principles of Zen philosophy. Very beautiful, very relaxing.
5. The collection cars of Prince Rainier III
The private collection of the Prince. For those who love cars.
6. The old Monaco
A medieval village with pedestrian streets, filled with shops, restaurants, cafes where to land. The tourist trip to Monaco.
Photo: Michael Fontaine
7. The Fontvieille Landscape Park and the Rose Garden of the Princess Grace of Monaco
5000 m2, 8000 rosebushes, 300 varieties.
Photo: Tri Minh
8. St. Nicholas Cathedral
Built in 1875 – which is relatively late. The cathedral square is home to some of the best restaurants in the old town.
9. The Prince Palace
For the panorama of the port and Monte-Carlo.
10. Monte Carlo Casino
One of the most prestigious casinos in the world. For a trip back in time, to the Belle Epoque and the exotic world of gambling.
11. The St. Martin Gardens
For a stroll in the middle of the greenery, at the edge of the Mediterranean.
12. The Opera of Monte Carlo
One of the most prestigious opera houses in the world – and one of the most expensive.
Photo: Maciej Janiec
13. The Metropole Shopping Center
Luxury restaurants, and 80 fashion, beauty, leisure and deco shops. Here, you can find everything from luxury watches, luxury clothes, cafés, and much more.
Photo: Rich Stakounis
14. St. Paul’s Church
A very active Anglican church, where many concerts are organized.
15. The Casino Café de Paris
The largest slot machine park on the Riviera.
Photo: Sebastien Cosse
16. The Sainte Devote Chapel
Small, intimate, and very beautiful.
17. The Grand Palais Apartments
To admire the splendors and the princely golds – its Italian-style gallery, its Louis XV salon and its 16th century frescoes.
Photo: Florence Wang
18. The Naval Museum of Monaco
For those who love boats – will enjoy discovering the 250 types of boats presented in the museum.
19. The Condamine
For the marina, and the Princess-Caroline shopping center.
Photo: Giacomo Baudazzi
20. Attend the Formula 1 Grand Prix
You probably have no particular affinity with cars, let alone with Formula 1. Me neither. But Monaco’s is spectacular: it takes place in the narrow and winding streets of the city, and the spectators are very, very close to the cars – and, we find it slightly foolish to watch in front of TV but, in Monaco, we get to take the excitement of the crowd and by the prowess of the pilots. To do once in a lifetime.
Photo: Thomas Langner
Accommodations in Monaco
The prices are as pricely as the principality: a night in a two star hotel will cost you about 60 € per person. You can go take a look at Venere to realize that it is not easy to stay around for cheap – but, if you can afford it, I think it’s worth choosing a hotel for stay at least one night.
How to get to Monaco Monte-Carlo?
From Paris (950km), take the A6 to Lyon. Continue on A7 then A8 / E80 towards Nice. Take exit 56 towards Cap-d’Ail / Beausoleil, then merge onto the A500. Access to the Rocher is reserved for cars registered in Monaco or in the Alpes-Maritimes.
The Ligure connects Marseille and Milan, the “Blue Train” connects Paris to Ventimiglia (5:30).
Go to Nice (1h30 from Paris, 3h from Stockholm, Arlanda), then take a shuttle (19 € one way).