Visit Monaco Where to go Monte Carlo – the first of 3 blogs about what to do, where to go and where to eat in Monaco
“A sunny place for shady people” so said Somerset Maugham half a lifetime ago. Does this still hold true? Well, there is an eclectic mix – just like anywhere else in the world!
That said, I absolutely adore Monaco and love popping into the small state whenever I am staying in my South of France home. I have friends who are lucky enough to live here and they all sing its praises from the rooftops. There is another side, far removed from the brash stereotype of gambling, flash casinos, rich people showing off and generally having a good time! You will be spoiled for choice with all the cultural activities from ballet to art exhibitions.
Monte Carlo Casino
This is such a safe place, you can wander around alone without worrying about your safety, there is a policeman around every corner. It IS an elite and wealthy place, full of attractive, well dressed and well behaved people. I find it to be like a box of delicious chocolates, I open the box and go WOW, savour a delicious morsel or two and have a wonderful time. Yes, it is an unreal enclave – but take it for what it is and ENJOY!
You will definitely have a jolly good time if you follow my tips outlined below! I’m going to give you a list of the good and bad restaurants to frequent, then I will give you a wonderful walk so you can explore of foot. Monaco is the size of Hyde Park in London and so the best way to explore is on foot. Also, a list of my favourite things to do – many of which are FREE.
Morning Walk around town
Let’s start with my walk. Don’t forget that you are perfectly safe in Monaco, you can walk around clad in diamonds and no-one is going to mug you. You really don’t need a tour guide, it is impossible to get lost and you will have a lot more fun exploring on your own.
Tip: If you are feeling lazy, take the Bateau Bus (you can see it in the photo) from one side of the port to the other.
The walk starts at the port, for the benefit of those of you getting off a boat of some description. I love the new Wine Palace below Monaco Yacht Club, if you feel like a reviving glass of wine or stocking up on a few cases. They have an enormous cellar and will undoubtedly be able to provide whatever you want with some delicious cheese too – make sure you try the Truffle cheese, I’m still dreaming about it! http://www.winepalacemontecarlo.com
Let’s do the touristy bit, can’t sit around sampling wine all day, and head on up to the Old Town. Stop of at the Oceanographic Museum. I love the top floor with the display of old photographs. http://www.oceano.mc
Oceanographic Museum – Sometimes they have Orchestral Concerts here during the Spring Arts Festival, a very special place.
Go and visit the Palace. I love to visit in July when it is such a treat to attend a Monaco Philharmonic Orchestra Concert in the courtyard of the Palace. The outdoor cinema is also a favourite in the summertime.
Princes’s Palace http://www.palais.mc
Take a tour around inside, a fascinating glimpse into another world. The views from here are just amazing. It is probably lunch time by now, so choose one of the little restaurants or head down to one of my favourite places for a lunchtime treat, The Hotel Hermitage. There is a very nice 2 course menu which I recommend. http://www.hotelhermitagemontecarlo.com
The Terrace Hotel Hermitage with a view of the Old Town, Palace and Port
After lunch take a little stroll around the Casino Gardens. I’m a keen gardener and so love to see the variety of trees and plants from around the world.
Casino Gardens – magical
If you want to do a little shopping, you’re in the right place everything from Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Valentino to unusual little individual shops abound. The Metropole Shopping Centre is to the left of of the gardens. http://www.chanel.com
http://metropoleshoppingcenter.com Stroll along avenue des moulins for little boutiques.
Continue our walk down to Avenue Princess Grace and stroll along the seafront. My dogs particularly like taking a walk here and stopping off for a little aperitif along the way. Actually, if it is summertime and you want a less formal lunch than the Hotel Hermitage then one of the seafront restaurants is a good choice. http://www.lanotebleue.mc
Hopefully, you are not too tired after all this exercise and are ready to enjoy an evening out in Monte Carlo. My recommendations for this will follow in Part 2. Enjoy!
Cafe de Paris and the Casino