The structure known today as the Prince's Palace and residence of the Prince of Monaco, started its life of service as a Genoese fortress circa 1191 to 1215. Due to the small size of the country and perhaps lack of buildable land, this is Monaco's sole palace. The Grimaldi Princes have been in residence since 1297 (except for about 20 years) when Francois Grimaldi captured the fortress from the Italians while desguised as a monk. An accompanying photo pictures the statue of Francois Grimaldi commemorating this feat.
While imposing as we see it from the outside, the structure is actually much larger than what can be seen from ground level. Vintage drawings show a 4-sided building with a courtyard in the middle and new towers and wings have been added on periodically as the need or fortune permitted. Though somewhat plain on the outside, the interior of this palace is astonishingly beautiful with impressive use of marble, silk brocade wall coverings, ornate furniture, works of art, etc.
Today, parts of the Palace and State Apartments are open for tours which give you the opportunity to see the lavish interiors including the Throne Room, and Main Courtyard. Combination tickets for the Palace & State Apartments as well as the Napoleanic Museum are available. I would opt for the combo tickets because I would find both very interesting.
Hours: June - September: 9:30 am to 6:00 pm
October: 10 am to 5 pm. Closed November through May.
Unfortunately, when I visited it was not possible to go into the Prince's Palace and State Apartments, to give them their full title. They are open every day from June to September from 0930 to 1800 and in October, from 1000 to 1700. Even from the outside though they are impressive, with the guards standing at the gate.
Apparently it was built on the site of a fortress erected by the Genoese in 1215 (so my Internet research tells me!) It also tells me that admission is €6 for adults and €3 for children aged 8-14 and students. Surely a bargain in Monaco.
The Italianate home of Monaco's Royal family, the Palais du Prince, dominates the principality from the Rock. The palace was built in the 13th century and part dates back to the Renaissance. The interior is fitted with priceless furniture and carpets.
This is the official home of the regent of Monaco.
It's located on top of the main hill with lots of stairs leading up. But believe me - it's worth climbing up. The architechture is great and the watching the guards in front of it is a strange experience. Unbelievable that the lords of Monaco still live there...
Another very impressive thing about the palace is the view you have to the city and to the ocean.