Famed for its extravagant casino, its Grand Prix circuit and its incredibly beautiful royal family- the Grimaldis- Monaco is as jetset as it gets.
Monaco may be one of the smallest countries in the world, but there sure is a lot of glitz and glamour squeezed into this small 1.98 square kilometer principality tucked away on the edge of the French Riviera.
Dress to impress and sip martinis in the Monte Carlo Casino, where James Bond has played a hand or two; watch the flash cars roaring round Monaco’s windy streets; dine on exquisite cuisine in one of several Michelin-starred restaurants; rub shoulders with celebrities in one of Monaco’s exclusive bars; and if you’re lucky, blag your way onto a billionaire’s megayacht. If you don’t want to hire a car or catch the train from Nice, you can take a helicopter transfer from the airport straight to the principality…as you do.
Monaco has always been a symbol of decadence, so if you want to live the high life for a day, here’s where you should start:
Monte Carlo Casino- Order a martini ‘shaken not stirred’ and place your bets at The Monte Carlo Casino, which was used as a filming location in several James Bond movies, including Never Say Never Again, Golden Eye and Casino Royale. If you can distract yourself from the tables, take a second to marvel at your surroundings- the lavish, opulent salons featuring lots of marble, chandeliers and artistic masterpieces. The roulette tables in the entrance are there for the tourists, but if you pay entry for the Salons Privés and venture deeper into the Casino, you’ll find much more glamorous gaming. Outside in the Place du Casino, peek inside the windows of the expensive cars that are parked at the front of the building.
Prince’s Palace- Climb up the hill to the Prince’s Palace before 11:55am to see the daily changing of the guard, then take a self-guided tour inside the Prince’s Palace, home to the Grimaldi family. You’ll get to admire the beautiful rooms of the palace, including the yellow and gold Louis XVth Lounge; the Blue Room with its blue silk brocade walls; and the Throne Room, where all the official ceremonies take place. When you’ve finished the tour, take in the spectacular views from the square, and visit Monaco’s Cathedral which houses the tombs of Prince Rainier and Princess Grace.
Hotel de Paris- Opened in 1864, the Hotel de Paris is a legendary hotel and one of the most luxurious in the world. Occupying a prime location just a stone’s throw from the Monte Carlo Casino, this iconic building is difficult to miss. Walk up the front steps and you’ll be greeted with an impressive lobby featuring low relief sculptures, marble colonnades and crystal chandeliers. The hotel is also home to two world-renowned restaurants; Le Louis XV- Alain Ducasse, and Le Grill.
Le Louis XV-Alain Ducasse- Dedicated to exquisite taste and fantasy, Le Louis XV boasts 3 Michelin stars and serves gourmet cuisine inspired by the French and Italian Rivieras. What makes this so unforgettable though, is the ostentatious dining room that will ensure you have a meal to remember.
Brasserie de Monaco- Le Brasserie de Monaco is a trendy microbrewery located down on the harbour facing the sea. Enjoy a pint of their Bière de Monaco, which is brewed on-site- and order some snacks to share. There’s a fantastic Happy Hour every day from 5pm-8pm with DJs or live music.
Stars ‘n’ Bars- Also located on the harbour, Stars ‘n’ Bars is a three-story entertainment complex inside what used to be an old abandoned warehouse. This American-style restaurant serves steaks and burgers, and is popular with sports stars, movie actors and celebrities. The venue is filled with Formula 1 memorabilia and there’s even a F1 car suspended over the bar!
Jimmy’z- If you want to spot a celebrity or two, your best bet is to head to Jimmy’z, Monaco’s hippest nightclub. This bar is regularly frequented by celebrities from the world of showbiz, sport and fashion.
Thermes de Marins- If you feel like a spot of pampering, Les Thermes de Marins specialises in sea water treatments and boasts a salt water pool and fitness room. The 6,600 square-meter complex occupies an ideal location overlooking the sea, and the water is drawn directly from the ocean via a pipeline extending 600m into the Mediterranean. Wellness treatments and therapies include fascia therapy, shiatsu, reflexology, physiotherapy, sophrology and energising massages.