During our visit to Nice, we took a day trip to Monaco by train. Journey time is around 30 minutes, terminates at Monaco-Monte Carlo. Monaco is the second-smallest country in Europe roughly the same size as New York’s Central Park. Divided into four neighbourhoods: Monaco-Ville (the old city), La Condamine (along the port), Monte-Carlo (tourist area) and Fontvieille, (a reclaimed area from the sea).
You don’t need to dress up like James Bond or drive a fancy car to visit Monaco as a matter of fact, travelling by public transport is highly recommended. There are plenty of train services from Nice, which are clean, safe, comfy and spacious. You can also travel by bus operated by Lignes D’azur from Nice Le Port to Monaco Place Des Moulins every 30 minutes or join one of the many day tours on offer.
Affluence is an understatement! The 10 minute walk from the station to Monte Carlo is an eye opener and insight into life in Monaco, its glamour, lovely architecture, fully maintained public places and luxury cars galore that we can only ever dream about of owning! Situated on an escarpment at the base of the Maritime Alps along the French Riviera, this lavish playground of the world’s rich is the place to be seen.
The Place du Casino (Casino Square) is home to the iconic Casino de Monte-Carlo aka Monte Carlo Casino and the glamorous Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo. For a quick visit to the atrium, appropriate casual dress is required and anyone can enter without showing an ID. If you intend to try your luck, it’s best to dress up so you become part of the traditions dating back 150 years. During the pandemic, check out the link here for further details.
Walking around the manicured gardens is simply enchanting. It has a variety of plants along with a water feature, truly an Instagrammable spot. It’s also a great place to relax and spot the high rollers as they exit their cars.
Delightfully serene is the feeling as you go down by the steps at the other side of Place Du Casino. The views of the marina, moored state of the art yachts, high-rise buildings cascading by the hill and the unparalleled views of the Mediterranean sea is to behold. This is where you’ll find the magnificent Opéra de Monte-Carlo. If you have enough time, catch a show and enjoy the glamour and mesmerising interior of this landmark. There is also a beautiful garden containing numerous sculptures.
In the heart of the Principality, stands the majestic Prince’s Palace of Monaco the official residence of the Grimaldi family. There is a changing of the guard daily around midday, so get there early for a great view. Entrance fee is €10 for adults and discounts apply to children and students. Enriched with history including memories of Princess Grace Kelly.
Very Close to the Palace is the Monaco Town Hall which is worth a detour to visit. There are plenty of restaurants, cafes and souvenir shops around this area.
Impressive architecture both outside and inside! ‘The Cathedral of Our Lady Immaculate’ (Cathédrale de Notre-Dame-Immaculée), but sometimes called Saint Nicholas Cathedral was constructed in 1875. This is where many of the Grimaldis were buried, including Princess Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier III. A great historical landmark to visit, admission is free but visitors are requested to dress and behave appropriately.
One of the biggest yearly events in Monaco is the Formula 1 Grand Prix Monaco running since 1929, this is a must for all petrol-heads and Formula 1 fanatics alike. Next year’s Grand Prix is scheduled on Thursday 20 May to Sunday 23 May 2021. Get your ticket early, link here.
If you want to splash your Euro, Monaco is home to many posh and Michelin star restaurants. If you are on a budget, there are plenty of places where you can have a decent meal or take away to one of the many view points. Our favourite whilst travelling through France, Casino Supermarket, offers great sandwiches (grab a nice French baguette), salad in boxes, drinks and international food such as pizza and sushi. Stock up and enjoy your meal in one of the parks.
There are local tours around Monaco like the famous Le Petit de train which will take you to the most important sites and attractions of Monaco. Each passenger has a personal headset for the commentary, which is available in 12 languages. You can also explore Monaco by hop-on hop-off bus and explore at your own pace.