Although not technically a part of France, the Principality of Monaco is situated on the French Riviera, nestled between Eze and Menton. Superyachts, flash cars, and designer shops may be the first things that spring to mind when thinking about Monaco and its main hotspot Monte Carlo—a favourite with celebrities and billionaires.
Head to Monte Carlo, the administrative area of Monaco, for a taste of true glitz and glamour. Here you’ll find many a chic café, the most famous of which is Café de Paris
. Enjoy a coffee in the sun on the terrace or head inside to enjoy lunch in the brasserie-style ambience of the interior.
At the Monte Carlo Casino
, you’ll get a taste for the lifestyles of the rich and the famous before you even enter the building, with sportscars lining the surrounding street. The casino itself is a sight to behold, both inside and out, with its ornate façades and indulgent décor. And just a stone’s throw from this grand casino (in the same building, in fact), you’ll find the Opéra de Monte-Carlo. This plush theatre regularly holds performances of opera and other arts.
Monaco-Ville is the principality’s capital and where you’ll find the Prince’s Palace
situated at the top of Le Rocher (the Rock of Monaco), the oldest area of this independent state. The palace is the official residence of Monaco’s monarch and head of state, the sovereign prince or princess. The sovereignty has remained in the House of Grimaldi for over eight centuries, and the current reigning monarch is Prince Albert II.
The palace itself is open to visitors between April and mid-October, although it’s always worth a walk up Le Rocher to catch a glimpse of the impressive building, even when the interior is closed. Apart from the palace grounds, it’s also worth a visit to the Cars Collection of H.S.H. the Prince of Monaco
, where you’ll see a compendium of vintage cars collected by the former Monégasque sovereign, Prince Rainier III, over the course of 50 years.
And of course, we couldn’t talk about Monaco without mentioning the biggest event on its calendar, the Formula 1 Grand Prix. Held each summer, the Grand Prix first came to Monaco in 1929 and is considered to be one of the most important motor-racing events in the world. No ordinary racing track, the circuit weaves through the streets of Monaco and consists of tight chicanes and hairpin bends, adding an element of extreme danger to the race. Some of the world’s most famous faces flock to this principality each year to catch a glimpse of the expert drivers and their groundbreaking vehicles.