How to Spend a Day in Monaco
January 24, 2019
Avenue of Yachts in Monaco
Nestled in the French Riviera on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea sits the microstate of Monaco. Though tiny when compared to most other countries, this principality is known around the world for its luxurious shops, fascinating architecture and famous tourist attractions. Since it’s so small, it is possible to visit most of Monaco’s hot spots in one day, but if you’re absolutely pressed for time, here are the four main things everyone should do in Monaco.
Monte Carlo Casino
The principality of Monaco is famous for many things, from its Grand Prix racecourse to its fascinating Oceanographic museum, but its most famous landmark is definitely Monte Carlo Casino. Created by Charles Garnier, who is also responsible for the beautiful Paris Opera House, the Belle Époque building opened in 1875. While outside is inarguably glorious, with astounding detail and antique features, the inside is equally as breathtaking. Huge chandeliers hang from the ceiling, stained glass windows allow the light in and, of course, there are table games that could give some online casinos a run for their money. While there’s no denying how fun it is to play blackjack at home in your pyjamas, there’s definitely something special about dressing up to play at the one-and-only Monte Carlo Casino.
Monte Carlo Cathedral
Of course, Monte Carlo Casino isn’t the only beautiful building in Monaco. In fact, we’d argue there’s not a single building there that isn’t the epitome of luxury in the entire city, and the Cathedral of Our Lady Immaculate is no exception. Situated in the Old Town (also known as The Rock or Le Rocher in French) on the site of a 13th-century church named Saint Nicholas, the Cathedral was also opened in 1875 and is now the resting place for numerous members of Monaco’s royal family. If you’re lucky, you may also see the changing of the guard take place, which happens every day at 11.55am outside the Prince’s Palace.
Earlier on we mentioned Monaco’s Oceanographic Museum, and we weren’t kidding when we say it’s fascinating. Even if you’re not really into sea life and regular aquariums, this museum will definitely keep you interested. There are over 4,000 species of fish to see, and you may even get the chance to stroke a shark – the tiny, nice kind mind you, not the big scary ones. There’s also a decadent restaurant with a fantastic menu as well as a well-stocked gift shop with some great keepsakes. If fish still aren’t your thing, there’s also HSH The Prince of Monaco’s Vintage Car Collection. There you’ll find nearly 100 classic cars, Formula one racers and an extremely rare pink Mercedes Benz 300 SL Gullwing Coupe. Chances are you might even see Prince Albert hanging about as he’s known to visit the collection often.
It’s hard to beat the South of France when it comes to shopping, what with Cannes and Nice being such designer hubs. That said, Monaco certainly can hold its own when it comes to luxury shopping. Over in the Boulingrins Gardens (opposite the Place du Casino) you’ll find the Monte-Carlo Pavilions, a collection of pop-up shops, and just around the corner, there are all sorts of designer boutiques ranging from Bottega Veneta and Chanel to Lanvin and Miu Miu. Head a little further in and you’ll find Carre d’Or (Golden Quarter) with fabulous jewellers and antique dealers as well as The Metropole, a shopping gallery that is home to over 80 more boutiques.
It is possible to spend one day in Monaco and see most of the sites, but you best believe it will be one busy day. In fact, we think it’d be reasonable to maybe book a few days there to really enjoy the principality to the fullest extent. That’s our excuse anyway.