Monaco Mini Guide
What can you Tell me About Monaco?
It’s one of the world’s smallest countries but also one of the best known of them with interest in the royals there nearly as intense as that in the UK
. It all began when Grace Kelly, the darling of Hollywood, married Prince Rainier. Following her tragic death, the media continued its interest in the family. Today the country promotes itself as a tourist destination as well as a tax haven for the wealthy. That explains why it has the highest per capita GDP in the world and zero unemployment.
How do I get to Monaco?
The easiest and cheapest way is to fly into Nice Cote d’Azur airport
and hire a car for the short drive across the border. If you’ve got a big wallet you might want to splash out on a helicopter transfer from Nice to Monaco’s heliport and you’ll be treated to a beautiful view of the coast from the air, landing next to Monaco’s harbour. For those less well off, Rapide does a transfer from the airport to Monaco’s centre for a fraction of the price.
What Should I See and Do There?
There’s a lot on the list to tick off so make sure you’re up bright and early to see the Palais Princier. Spend a couple of hours there to be out in time to see the changing of the guards at 11.55 am. The view from the palace down over Monte Carlo is one of the world’s best. Monaco Cathedral, whilst not ancient, makes for an interesting visit. The tombs of Monaco’s princes are there as well as that of Princess Grace. One of the world’s top marine attractions is found in Monaco in the Oceanographic Museum and Aquarium. No amount of effort or money has been spared to make this a top class venue. The aquarium has the biggest collection of the Mediterranean’s fauna in the region and research, education and conservation projects are undertaken there. Monaco has a plant equivalent to the aquarium in the Jardin Exotique. With an equivalent number of plants represented there, the exhibits range from tropical to subtropical, laid out over different levels as the gardens extend 300m up the mountain.
What is There to buy in Monaco?
As you’d expect in an exclusive country the goods for sale together with their prices exclude most wallets. If you can’t afford Armani or are too poor for Prada then you need to head to the Condamine Market where you’ll find unique souvenirs and knick-knacks at much more reasonable prices.
What About Eating out in the Principality?
Food can be very expensive, especially if you want to dine where the stars dine. Food generally in Monaco is excellent wherever you go so by looking for budget restaurants, you won’t necessarily be compromising on quality. The speciality of the country is the fish stew bouillabaisse.
What is the Entertainment Like There?
Again, the best venues have very expensive entrance prices and drink is not cheap anywhere; a glass of champagne can cost an average of €40. There are some bars though, especially in the old town, where a drink or two and some convivial conversation won’t break the bank at Monte Carlo or elsewhere!
Monaco is all about style and there’s plenty of it in the principality. It’s neatly divided into quarters, each with a specific role so when you’re there you can save time avoiding Condamine which is the busy port area and Fontvielle, the industrial quarter, focusing instead on the beautiful old parts of Monaco-Ville and Monte Carlo.
For such a small country, there’s a lot to see and a hire car is essential, especially for climbing the steeper parts. In Monaco-Ville you’ll be treated to a medieval town with many pedestrian only areas. The buildings there have survived many centuries and it has a charm all of its own.