From the outside looking in, Monaco can be a little bit hard to get a handle on. Sometimes thought of as its own country, sometimes counted as a sort of extension of the French Riviera, it’s actually a small, independent city-state along France’s Mediterranean coastline. Undeniably associated with a sort of opulent reputation, it’s best known for the wonderful city of Monte-Carlo – which, as you’ll see in this piece, is where the must-do activities are.
1.) Monaco Grand Prix
We’ll start off with perhaps the most famous event that takes place in Monaco, which is the renowned Monaco Grand Prix. This annual competition offers the chance to experience F1 (Formula One) motor racing up close and personal in a unique and beautiful setting. During the May event (which takes up a few days when you consider the build-up and aftermath), the whole of Monaco (and a large population of tourists) goes completely car crazy, and nearly every street is shut down for the race.
Worldwide famous for its annual Film festival Cannes has become synonymous with film star glamour and glitz but you can enjoy it too especially if you don’t visit during the festival frenzy. Cannes can be appreciated even if you can’t afford to stay at Carlton because there are many things to do that don’t cost much.
So here are my suggestions for a day or two in Cannes (really you don’t need to stay longer unless you want to take day trips to other beautiful towns along French Riviera):
1. Walk along the Boulevard de la Croisette
Whether you want to do some people watching or do some window shopping or you want to imagine how it would be to stay at Carlton or Martinez this is a must while in Cannes. When you get overwhelmed with everything sit at one of the blue chairs and relax your eyes by staring out to the sea 🙂 You can refresh yourself with an ice-cream or a drink from kiosks along the promenade and you can even get a temporary tattoo or buy a painting or sunglasses.
2. Climb the stairs to the top of Suquet hill and wander the streets of the Old town
The bet view of Cannes is from the little square at the top of Suquet hill. You have to go through the clock tower and you find yourself at the square with the Virgin Mary statue in memory of the fallen soldiers. From here you can see the entire bay of Cannes and the Lerins islands. If you want you can visit Musee de la Castre or go inside the church Notre-Dame-de-L’Esperance. After you’ve rested your feet and took numerous photos you can go down and explore the winding alleys back to the Rue Meynadier or even buy something fresh at the local market (Forville).
the view from the hill
3. Find your palm twin at the walk of fame around Palais des Festivals et des Congres
Sorry, but the building of the Film festival is so ugly. However, it might be fun to take your photo at the red carpet on the stairs or to walk from the Tourist Office to the little park on the left and try to recognize the names of the film stars in the pavement. My palm is the exact size of Sharon Stone’s. 🙂
casino&film festival palace
Have you ever gambled in a casino?Or maybe you like collecting stamps? Are you a fan of late Grace Kelly? If so, you might want to visit Monaco.
the view of Monaco (if you’re coming from Italy)
the view of the oldest part of the country Monaco-Ville on the rock (if you’re coming from France)
The tiny Principality of Monaco is completely surrounded by France.You could literally be with one foot in Monaco and with another in France 😉 Why is Monaco so famous and rich? Well, the rulers of Monaco were very smart and introduced no tax policy which attracted the wealthy people & businesses from all around the world. And those wealthy people needed to spend their money too hence the casino of Monte-Carlo.
It is thought that the marriage of Monaco’s prince Rainer III with the Oscar-winning American actress Grace Kelly brought international fame to this small Mediterranean country. It is in fact the second smallest country in the world (Vatican is the smallest country) ! Today, the son of Grace Kelly ,Prince Albert II is the current ruler. He finally got married in 2011 and has recently baptized his twins.
I’ve been to French Riviera a couple of times in the past five years so I also visited Monaco. The most recent visit was in October. So what could an average traveller see in this city-state? First of all, Monaco state consists of 6 main quartiers or wards. The oldest one is Monaco-Ville (to differentiate it from the name of the country) situated on a rock. This is where you can find the Cathedral, the Prince’s palace and the Oceanographic museum. From this rock you can admire the part of Monaco called Fontvieille where you can see the football stadium ( FC Monaco plays in the French league) and where the International Circus Festival is held. From another viewpoint, just right from the palace you see the port (and yachts) and the road where the starting position of Formula 1 Grand Prix race is. That part is called la Condamine. You can also see the condos of Moneghetti (the residential area let’s say) and the cupola of Monte-Carlo casino. What you can’t see is the last part of the country and that’s Larvotto and there’s where you can lie on the beach.
What comes to your mind when you think of the French Riviera or Côte d’Azur?
Sun, palm trees, the film festival, glamour, beach, shops, hotels, aristocrats, casino, perfume, artists, lavender, yachts, fast cars, pretty towns… are the things that I associate with a part of France’s beautiful Mediterranean coastline called Côte d’Azur. I’ve visited it on numerous occasions in the past five years mainly on business trips but I’ve still managed to succumb to its old world charm. I’ll be walking down the streets of Nice and Cannes again this week. I’ll be blogging about different cities of the French Riviera soon so this is just a photo introduction to my future posts.