Chic boutiques, mega-yachts, fancy cars, opulent casinos, - all these and more can be found in Monte Carlo, the playground of for the rich and famous. However, you do not need to be of royal descent or a Hollywood star to enjoy the glitz and glamour of this tiny monarchy on the French Mediterranean coast.
Stroll along the Monte Carlo Harbour, Port Hercule, lined up with picturesque cliffs and docked mega-yachts of the super-rich where scenes for the James Bond movie GoldenEye were filmed. Above the harbour sits the spectacular royal palace, Palais du Prince, home of the Grimaldi dinasty for the last 700 years. It opens for public tours from June to October and guided tours of the luxurious state apartments are offered in various languages. In the palace, apart from opulent interiors you can also admire Prince Rainier III's collection of Antique cars, from horse-drawn carriages to classic and sport’s cars. Do not miss the ceremonial changing of the Monégasque Guard in front of the Palace daily at 11.55 am. Go for a leisurely wander in Monaco-Ville, the Old Town, to get lost in its charming cobbled streets and elegant palaces. Pop in to the imposing Cathédrale de Monaco where the modest grave of Princess Grace is.
|Cathedrale de Monaco|
There are five casinos in Monaco, but the most famous one is the lavishly decorated Casino de Monte Carlo. If you have some money to burn, it is a fascinating place to spend an evening!
Monte Carlo is a great for quality shopping. High-end shiny boutiques sell big brands such as Hermes, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Yves Saint Laurent. In Boutique du Rocher (1, avenue de la Madone), opened by Princess Grace in 1966, you can score hand-embroidered tablecloths, artisan ceramics, and other locally crafted housewares. All proceeds from sales go to local charities. For luxury tableware and porcelain candy boxes with the Prince of Monaco's personal seal head to Manufacture de Monaco.
|Chocolates from Chocolaterie de Monaco|
At La Chocolaterie de Monaco, the official chocolate maker of Monaco since 1920, you will find delicious handmade chocolates with lavender and other beautifully packed local delicacies.
For a relaxing aperitif, sit down at the Belle Époque Café de Paris with the Monte Carlo Imperial cocktail in hand and watch Bentleys, Maseratis and Lamborghinis whooshing past you.
Photos by: Salvatore Freni Jr/Flickr, Christian Teillas/Flickr, Chocolaterie de Monaco/Facebook.