10 Experiences to Savor in Monte Carlo, Best Europe Vacations, Europe Tourist Destinations
Monte Carlo is perhaps the most famous of Monaco’s administrative areas. With a permanent population of only 3,000, this tiny geographical gem is known as a jet setters’ and gamblers’ paradise. The best way to explore this affluent and chic city is on foot. You’ll experience not only the best of city living, but also beautiful beaches on the Mediterranean. Here are 10 things any trip to Monte Carlo should include. Monte Carlo is known for its casinos, gambling, glamour, and for sightings of famous people.
1. Monte Carlo Casino
Charles Garnier designed the magnificent gold and marble atrium in this famous casino, which was built in 1863. Overlooking the Mediterranean, the Monte Carlo Casino also includes an opera and ballet house called the Grand Théâtre de Monte Carlo, and is the headquarters of the Ballets de Monte Carlo.
2. Cafe de Paris
A visit to Monte Carlo should definitely include a meal at the famous Cafe de Paris. Opened in 1962, the cafe features both indoor and outdoor seating areas, and is conveniently located in Casino Square.
3. Old Town
This is the more traditional part of Monte Carlo, and it features numerous classy bars and restaurants. The traditional Monegasque cuisine you’ll find here includes dishes like Stocafi, which is dried cod cooked in rich tomato sauce, and Fougasse, a pastry decorated with nuts and aniseed.
4. Metropole Shopping Centre
Catering to the high-end tastes of Monte Carlo’s locals and visitors, the Metropole Shopping Center is full of designer stores famous in Milan and Paris, and jewelers that tempt the wealthy with their precious jewels.
5. Monaco Cathedral
Built in 1875, the Monaco Cathedral is where Princess Grace and Prince Ranier III are buried. The Cathedral sits atop the site of the first parish church in Monaco, which was built in 1252 and dedicated to St. Nicholas. It also features a majestic four-keyboard organ.
6. Prince’s Palace
If you’re in Monte Carlo between June and October, be sure to visit the Prince’s Palace, which was originally built in 1191 as a fortress. Over three million brilliantly colored pebbles are arranged in geometric patterns within the grand courtyard, and the palace also features a Carrara marble stairway and brass cannons from the era of Louis XIV.
7. Monte-Carlo Thermes Marins
All that shopping and dining is bound to put you in the mood for some serious pampering, and the Thermes Marins is the luxury spa that does just that. This luxurious spa features 37 treatment cabins, seawater pools, a beauty salon, and the famous L’Hirondelle restaurant.
8. The Grimaldi Forum
This magnificent venue hosts cultural events such as concerts, opera, and ballet. The Grimaldi Forum, an engineering marvel of glass and steel, is also home to the Monte-Carlo Masters Tennis Tournament.
9. Stade Louis II
The compact, but mighty home of the AS Monaco Football Club may be smaller than most top football clubs, but its architecture more than makes up for it. Even though the stadium seats “only” 18,500, that is enough seats to accommodate 60 percent of Monaco’s population!
10. The Grand Prix Racing Route
When the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix isn’t taking place, the route follows city streets of Monte Carlo and La Condamine, around the harbor. Electronic versions of the route are famous enough to be included in computer games like Gran Turismo, and 2003’s R:Racing Evolution.
Monte Carlo is one of Europe’s leading tourist resorts, although many of the key tourist destinations are located in other parts of Monaco, including such attractions as Monaco Cathedral, the Napoleon Museum, the Oceanographic Museum and aquarium, and the Prince’s Palace, all of which are located in Monaco-Ville.