Monaco is well known that most visitors do not realize that the entire principality is approximately 2/3 the size of New York City’s Central Park. Packed into a narrow expanse of coastal plain that has enlarged slightly by landfill and a new sea wall, the city rapidly climbs upwards from the shore to the surrounding hills.
This delightful town is nested along a curve of a very scenic shoreline and the town is imbued with an interesting history, as it has been ruled by the Grimaldi family for over 700 years.
The Grimaldi monarchy has provided the country with an attractive, storybook-like cachet including the romance and storybook marriage between Prince Rainier III and the American film star Grace Kelly. Although both are now dead, their children have managed to keep many eyes focused on Monaco.
When you see the map symbol, click for a detailed street map identify the location of interest. In addition, the map includes as “satellite” button that will let you explore Monaco using a highly detailed satellite image.
The Casino (Le Casino de Monte Carlo)
- Just so you know, Monte Carlo is an administrative unit of the Principality of Monaco that is at the “heart” includes the world-famous Casino.
- The Casino includes the gambling area, as well as The Grand Theater (La Salle Garnier -a beautiful building designed by Charles Garnier, whose creations include the Paris Opera House (Opera Garnier).
- The main attractions of the Casino are the building and its sense of opulence, as well as its exclusiveness, high-stakes gambling and the “beautiful” people who sometimes make an appearance in the evening.
- The Casino is open to those 18 and older. Suitable attire is required. No shorts, flip-flops or sports shoes allowed and a jacket is required after 8 P.M. In addition, neither military nor religious uniforms are allowed.
- The Casino is connected to the Salle Garnier, the beautiful auditorium of the Opera House.
- See this site for more information about visiting the Casino.
- The Place du Casino is the “place to be” in Monte Carlo, but you might enjoy visiting the elegant and internationally renowned Hôtel de Paris, which, like the Casino, dates from the mid-19th century.
- If you are looking for exceptional dining, this is the place – but is it quite pricey.
- Another famous “eatery” is the Cafe de Paris, just across the street, which offers indoor and outdoor dining, as well as featuring fabulous seafood and incredible desserts.
- Next, you will find the Sun Casino, a Las Vegas type of gambling hall that provides a more relaxed environment than “the Casino”. You can, also find gambling at the Casino Cafe de Paris, the Monte-Carlo Bay Casino and the gaming area of La Rascasse.
- See this page of the Monte Carlo Resort website for details on all of the gambling options.
- By the way, the Casino is located in an administrative areas of Monaco that is called Monte Carlo. This area is, also, where the famous Grand Prix De Monaco, the Formula One Grand Prix, takes place. The 2012 dates for the race are as follows:
May 24 – 27
- The race is held on the city’s roads that skirt the harbor and circuit the Casino returning along the shoreline.
- The Monaco Grand Prix is the slowest and generally regarded as the most difficult of the Gran Prix races, as the winding streets of Monaco require precise driving.
- If you are not interested in attending the Grand Prix, we recommend that you arrange your visit at some other time since prices skyrocket and traversing the city can be difficult due to road closures during the race and trials.
- For those of you interested in shopping, the area around the Casino (known as the Carré d’Or Boutiques or, sometimes called Designers’ Row) overflows with fine shopping featuring some of the most exclusive names in fashion, jewelry, antiques and art.
Monaco-Ville (the Old Town)
The Prince’s Palace and Palace Square
- Originally built in the Thirteenth century, the Palace was updated in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth centuries. Parts of the Palace are open for tours (usually only from April through October) and you can find more information here. Wheelchair access is not available.
- If you decide to visit the Prince’s Palace, you might be interested in seeing the Museum of Napoleon Souvenirs that includes over a thousand objects related to Napoleon’s reign. Click “museums” on the homepage of the website above for more information.
- The Private Collection of Antique Cars once owned by Prince Rainier III is also on display at the Palace. The collection contains around 100 vehicles and more information can be found at the Palace website listed above.
- The Palace Square (at the front of the Palace) hosts the changing of the guard for the Prince’s Palace at 11:55am, seven days a week.
The Old Town
- Though small in size, the Old Town is a pleasant place to walk and see the sights. You will discover numerous shops and pleasant places to eat or gather food for a picnic.
- You might want to spend some time at the Condamine Market and the Rue Princess Caroline pedestrian mall.
- The Monaco Cathedral is worth a quick visit. It houses the remains of most of the former Princes of Monaco (including those of Prince Rainier), as well as those of his wife, Princess Grace (the former actress Grace Kelly – with whom the Prince had a famous and fairytale-like romance). The Cathedral is approximately 100 years old and its interior is quite striking.
The Oceanographic Museum and Aquarium
- Made famous by its past curators, including Jacques Cousteau, the building houses a museum, an exceptional aquarium, and an internationally famous research institute.
- Consider stopping at the restaurant “La Terrasse” on the top floor of the building for lunch and a fantastic view of Monaco and the coast neighboring Italy.
- See this official website (in French, so use Google Translator) for more information
- Monaco has numerous restaurants and discos, which are frequently crowded and fun places to party. Action usually starts later in the evening as the crowd filters in from the Casino.
- A great way to get an overview of Monaco and its attractions is to take a ride on the Azur Express: a small tourist train (tram), running every thirty minutes.
- The route starts at the Oceanographic Museum, passes the leading attractions, then returns to the Oceanographic Museum.
- The Azur Express features multi-language electronic consoles that describe the sights of interest, all for a modest price.
Visit Monaco is the official tourism website of the Principality of Monaco. The site includes additional details on our recommended best places to visit in Monaco, as well as information on locations and attractions that did not make our list.
For country facts on Monaco, as well as travel information related to visas, driving rules, safety, medical conditions, visas and other travel-related information, see this page on Monaco Travel from the Bureau of Consular Affairs of the U.S. State Department. Regardless of your home country, we think you will find the information provided to be useful when planning a trip to Monaco.