One of the best ways to experience the Monaco Grand Prix is by being there. The main focal point is centred around the yachts docked in Port Hercule with some other highlights being the starting grid area, the casino and extravagant parties.
This is one of the favourite locations for residents of Monaco especially for your Sunday morning coffee. The square holds an outdoor food market every morning from 7am until 12.30 pm. The produce comes from small farm holders along the coast. Surrounding the market you will find individual cafes offering Italian, French and European food. There is also an indoor market with just as much atmosphere, especially in the heat of the day it’s a blessing to sit inside!
The famous Monte Carlo Casino was built in 1863 and was created around an atrium surrounded by 28 onyx columns. Behind lies the Salle Garnier, an Italian theatre decorated in crimson and gold and a miniature replica of Paris’ famous opera house, the Palais Garnier.Each year the most amazing operas are staged. Further inside the gaming rooms are marvellously decorated with stained glass windows, sculptures, and unique allegorical paintings.
Discover the old town through its narrow alleyways from the middle ages which lead to the picturesque Place Saint Nicolas and Placette Bosio, the Chapel of Mercy, Palais de Justice and the Cathedral, a Roman-Byzantine style building built in 1875.
You will find your way to the Place du Palais, where every day at precisely 11.55 am the changing of the guard takes place in front of the Prince’s Palace.
The Princely Palace was built in the 18th century and then modified during the Renaissance. With its Italian-style gallery and its 15th century frescoes, the palace reveals to visitors some of its splendours such as the Main Courtyard with its 17th century Carrara marble double staircase, the Hercule Gallery and its delicate 15th century frescoes running along the blue and gold Louis XVth lounge and the Mazarin room with its multicoloured wood-panelling, the York Bedroom and finally the Throne Room with its Renaissance fireplace.
Located on the Rock at Place de la Visitation, the Museum of the Chapel of Visitation is part of a Baroque style chapel dating from the 17th century. It houses part of the remarkable collection of sacred works of art belonging to Mrs Piasecka Johnson, with masterpieces by Rubens, Zurbaran, Ribera and masters of the Italian Baroque.
Further on, at the Place du Palais, look at the exceptional panorama while strolling towards the Saint Martin Gardens. Planted in the 1830s during the reign of Prince Honoré V, they surround the Oceanographic Museum on Avenue Saint Martin, another of the Principality’s architectural gems.
Built in 1910 during the reign of HSH Prince Albert I, this Oceanographic institute was for a long time managed by Commander Cousteau. Dedicated to marine sciences, the museum houses the most significant coral reef in the world in its all new shark lagoon, 400 cubic metres of water with hammerhead sharks and majestic stingrays swimming before a reef populated with a multitude of tropical fish and living corals.
Outside the Oceanographic museum on Avenue St Martin, catch the “Azur Express” tourist train. These small trains decorated in the national colours take their passengers on a daily tour with commentary, during which you will discover the Port Monte-Carlo the famous casino and its gardens, before arriving back at the old town. The Monaco buses run every few minutes. Opposite the tourist train there are bus stops.
Jardin Exotique is mostly a residential area. Its one the gateways into Monaco and you will find one of the main entrances to the Monaco train station.
A popular tourist attraction are the exotique gardens. Buses stop outside the entrance.
You will find Monaco’s main hospital here called the Princess Grace Hospital, with an accident and emergency department clearly sign posted.
The views are spectacular from Jardin Exotique.
Fontvieille is a district of Monaco completely retrieved from the sea. The Principality made use of contemporary technology to create this region and consequently Monaco chose to adapt high tech and non-polluting businesses inside it.
Esplanade Prince Rainer III museum opened its doors to the general public in 1996, its exhibition is of Stamps and Coins which are the personal collection of HSH the Prince Sovereign.
The Naval Museum exhibits one hundred and eighty excellent model versions of ships including many pieces from the personal collection of HSH the Prince Sovereign. Versions of big transatlantic liners like Titanic or even the Normandy are exhibited alongside mining vessels like the Pourquoi Pas of Commandant Charcot, the Calypso and Alcyon of Commandant Cousteau or the Antarctica of Doctor Jean-Louis Etienne. You will also find maritime objects along with paintings. The museum houses around 1,200 items.
Fontvieille is where you will find a 16,000 seater football stadium, a pitch side athletics track a 3,000-seater sports hall and an Olympic-sized heated fresh water swimming pool. The Stade Louis-II is one of the finest sports complexes anywhere in the world, capable of hosting elite international competitions.
In Fontvieille you can walk the ‘Sculpture Path’ and find beautiful monumental works by Arman, Blake, Botero, Calder, César and much more. Almost one hundred modern works sit alongside creations by sculptors living in Monaco.
At the heart of Fontvieille you will find the Rose Garden devoted to Princess Grace. There are almost 180 varieties which bloom into 4,000 roses which give off a wonderful fragrance. Next to the Rose Garden you will find another large play area for children, with a beautifully designed duck pond, bridges and waterfalls. There is a little café that sits in the Chapateau, this is a huge permanent tent structure which in January houses the Circus and many events throughout the year.
Heading back up to the commercial centre Fontvieille, there you will find more individual cafes, pharmacy, dry cleaners, news agents and a large supermarket called find the Car museum which exhibits The Prince of Monaco’s Vintage Car Collection of around a hundred vehicles of all ages from the great companies of Europe and America and six horse drawn coaches. From the De Dion Bouton 1903 to the Lamborghini Countach 1986, as well as the 1929 Bugatti, the Citroen Torpedo of the Croisière Jaune and also a 1952 Rolls Royce, each of these richly preserved models.
The Larvotto Beach is situated off Avenue Princess Grace. It is a stunning reclaimed lagoon, surrounded by beach restaurants. The lagoon is known as a sanctuary for all fish species and you will find many children diving off the central quay or tying to hand feed the fish.
The Grimaldi Forum conference and events center sits next to the Larvotto beach. The Japanese Gardens are on the other side of the Grimaldi Forum and are certainly worth a walk round.
The National Museum Villa Sauber, is among the very few Belle Epoque style villas left in Monaco. There is a mystery surrounding Villa Sauber as no one actually knows when it was built. However at the start of the 1900’s it belonged to the Blanc family, they played an essential role in the growth of the Société des Bains de Mer and the Casino of Monte-Carlo. Since 1969 the Villa and gardens have belonged to the Principality of Monaco. Villa Sauber is based on cultural, historic and artistic heritage from the Principality.
The Western Garden (free entry, 9 am to sunset) is situated on Avenue Princess Grace. The glorious gardens designed by the landscape architect Yasuo Beppu is laid out over 7,000 m2. A true work of art it combines stone, plants and water in marvelous harmony. The gardens are blessed with a particular atmosphere accentuated by using water sprays onto the bushes of azalea, rhododendrons and camellias.