Monaco-part II (Oct 2015)
Do you want to read about how I lost my fortunes in a Monaco casino? I’m sorry to disappoint you but that won’t happen because although I did gamble in a casino I wasn’t that reckless 🙂
So, if you read my first post on Monaco you’ve already seen the oldest part of the country Monaco-Ville where you can find the Prince’s palace and the Cathedral. If you came by car to Monaco after visiting Monaco-Ville you should drive along the port area (this is where the Formula 1 race starts) and through the tunnel and go into another underground parking. And that’s already Monte-Carlo. When you leave the car you should take a short stroll along the promenade and you come across Grace Kelly’s Japanese garden. It’s lovely and you should visit it. This is a tranquil oasis among Monaco’s skyscrapers. When you come out of the garden go back via the promenade and you’ll see something interesting on the pavement. If you love football, you’ll be delighted. The winners of the international Golden Foot award which is given to outstanding football players leave a permanent mould of their footprints on the so-called Champions’s Promenade.
But Monte-Carlo is all about its famous Casino Square. How can you reach it from the parking where you left your car? Only by going uphill on foot past the famous Hotel Fairmont (those of you who follow Formula 1 have seen this hotel and know that taking this bend is the most dangerous part of the whole race). You can admire the luxurious cars parked in front of the hotel and then take the steps up to reach the Monte-Carlo Casino.
The Monte-Carlo Casino is a huge building dating from the 19th century and it also houses the Opera and a Buddha bar/night-club and some luxury clothes shops. You need to continue walking to reach the main entrance and see the other landmarks on the square which include the most expensive hotel in the country Hôtel de Paris and Cafe de Paris which is a casino and a restaurant. If you like fast & expensive cars this is the place for you! There are many Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Bentleys and the rest parked in front of the casino and in front of the hotel. All this uphill walking has probably made you very thirsty so you should rest and have a drink. And there’s no better place for that than the terrace of Cafe de Paris where you can do some people-watching (and car-watching!). You can take the best photos of yourself with the Casino entrance if you go to the fountain (park) across the casino. There are some new pavilions with clothes shops too.
No visit to Monte-Carlo is complete without actually going in the casino and trying your luck. Now, be careful. If you are wearing shorts/flip-flops or overly sporty trainers they won’t let you in. Also, if you don’t have any ID you can’t get in. They have guided visits of the casino too which are usually around 2 pm. If you want to gamble then you will have to pay 10 euros just for the entrance. How much money you spend afterwards is up to you. It’s strictly forbidden to take photos inside the casino so I don’t have any photos to show you. However, you can just walk into the casino and admire the main entrance without going further to the gambling rooms and that’s free. I did just that and I gambled in the casino of Cafe de Paris where you don’t have to pay any entrance fee. I didn’t win anything but it doesn’t matter. I am now richer for one experience and that’s what counts 🙂
There’s a souvenir shop next to Cafe de Paris if you need any trinkets to remind you of your Monaco trip. If you don’t want to gamble you can walk around the casino and around the lovely park just across the casino. There’s also an underground shopping mall on the right side of the park. But that’s pretty much it. Shhh there’s even a McDonald’s in Monaco. Where is it? You’ll have to find it for yourself but I’ll give you a clue. You need to cross the road there when you leave the underground parking and go uphill to the Fairmont hotel and the Casino square. 🙂
If you are staying at the French Riviera it would be a pity not to spend half a day in this tiny country and tax haven for the rich. Whether you will like Monaco or not, I don’t know. In my opinion there are much more interesting places along the French Riviera such as Nice, Menton and Antibes.
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