Facts about Monaco
Favorite thing: Since 1949, Monaco has been in the charge of the most effective ruler ever. Businesslike Prince Rainier 3 is descended from a Grimaldi who entered the Monaco fortress in 1297 disguised as a monk. Rainier's wife, former film star Grace Kelly, died tragically in 1982. Their son, Albert, is heir to the throne but his sisters, Caroline and Stephanie, are the main focus of media attention.
The population is close to 30.000 more than 83% of whom are foreigners. Monegasques number about 5.000. The official language is French but Italian and English widely spoken and understood. There's also a Monegasque language (a very colorful dialect) used by the old nationals but also again studied in the schools of the Principality.
The present territory of the Principality of Monaco covers 195 hectares (1.95 Km"), 31 of which have been entirely reclaimed from the sea!
Fondest memory: www.monaco.mc - official websiteAdd to your Trip Planner
Palais du Prince
Favorite thing: The Prince's Palace is open to the public from June to September (9.30am to 6.30pm), in October (from 10am to 5pm) and closed from November to May.
You can visit many sights such as the Italian-style Gallery with frescoes by 16th-century Genovese artists, depicting mythological scenes; the Louis XV Salon, a marvel of blue and gold harmony; The Mazarin Salon, paneled in polychrome wood with arabesque motifs; the Throne Room, containing a large Renaissance fireplace where historic festivals have been held since the 16th century; The Main Quadrangle, paved with 3 million white and colored pebbles forming beautiful patterns with its Carrara marble staircase.
Fondest memory: www.palais.mcAdd to your Trip Planner
Favorite thing: The museum was founded in 1910 by Prince Albert 1 and houses an amazing aquarium. The rarest fish of the seven seas are exhibited in 90 tanks in this majestic tower, as well as skeletons of sea lions, whales and other findings from the Antarctic exploration of Prince Albert I.
The museum took eleven years to build, using 100,000 tons of stone from La Turbie. Two floors contain remarkable collections of marine fauna gathered by Prince Albert, numerous specimens of sea creatures, models of his laboratory ships and craftwares made from products of the sea.
A minimum of 3 hours is suggested but you can spend a whole day here.
A conference hall screens numerous films about the sea, including many by my adorable Jacques-Yves Cousteau who established his research centre here.
Fondest memory: www.oceano.mc - official websiteAdd to your Trip Planner
Favorite thing: Monaco Town is located on a small peninsula that juts into the sea encompassing the famous Port. Here are located the narrow alleys, shops, and cafes of Old Town. Even during the hot season you can find many calm places where you will be alone.
By the way you can walk in Monaco any time day or night because Monaco has more police per square metre than any other country in the world.Add to your Trip Planner
Favorite thing: Designed in 1978 by Charles Garnier, architect of the Paris Opera and set in formal gardens, the Casino gives a splendid view over Monaco. The lavish interior is still decorated in Belle Epoque style, recalling an era when this was the rendez-vous of Russian Grand Dukes, English lords and other adventurers.Add to your Trip Planner
Place full of festivals and events
Favorite thing: Visitors come from all over the world for the Grand Prix de Monaco in May and the Monte-Carlo Rally in January. Many of the greatest singers perform in the opera season. There is a fireworks festival (July-August), and an international circus festival at the end of January as well as world-class ballet and concerts.Add to your Trip Planner
Favorite thing: Luxury is one of the dominating words to characterize Monaco. And its architecture is no exception. Walking around the Casino area and surroundings one cannot avoid to notice the elaborate details of the buildings and shops that surround us, as if everything is built and decorated to impress.
In neighbouring Monte Carlo buildings are so different, as mainly they consist of tall apartment buildings built some decades ago.
In Old City in Monaco, architecture is also different and quite appealing, as it is very pleasant to wonder around the narrow streets.Add to your Trip Planner
Favorite thing: One of the most thrilling things about Monaco is that you are able to walk and to drive on the F1’s circuit!! That is, the so-called circuit is set on the regular city’s roads that are closed to traffic and transformed in the F1 races.
Being a F1 fan, it was somewhat thrilling to drive there and recall the races and the curves of the prizes I had seen on TV. We were even able to walk a little bit by it, underneath the tunnel and on the curves when one leaves the Place the Casino and heads downwards towards the tunnel.
But don’t fool yourself! No races allowed within the city, just regular and sensible driving as there is a lot of traffic and pedestrians.Add to your Trip Planner
Luxury – Cars
Favorite thing: Car admirers will surely be pleased in Monaco, as it is easy to find a Ferrari or Lamborghini driving around or parked somewhere. And Mercedes, BMW or Audi, even a top model, will not get your attention there, as there are so many.
Whilst most drivers act quite normally, there are obviously some people who like to impress and show off. That was the case of a man who was driving a Ferrari in the marina area. He kept driving around and when stopped he pressed the accelerator to make some noisy, .. I wonder if it was a rented car and he was in great need to show it off that particular day?!?!Add to your Trip Planner
Favorite thing: Monaco is a principality enclosed by the slopes of the mountain and the sea. Nowadays it is a synonym of wealth and luxury. People from all over the word gather here to see and to be seen.
Also, this is a wonderful land for residents who don’t have to pay taxes. Gambling and tourism are the “money suppliers” of this small land that has been desired over the centuries by the French, Italian and Spanish. Fortunately wars and attempts to conquer stopped in the 19th century.Add to your Trip Planner
Luxury – Yachts
Favorite thing: Last, but not the least, about luxury – the yachts and sailboats anchored at the marina. Some of them are quite impressive!! Not only due to its size (huge!!) but also due to the decoration, the crew and the cars that they have parked at their “door” to transport they owners around. Can you imagine owning a huge yacht with own crew that wears a uniform with the yacht name? Or transporting a car inside to allow you to drive around when you are anchored in a marina?
In Monaco marina we found boats from many countries and we were glad to see a Portuguese flag in a beautiful and big wooden sailboat from Madeira Island.Add to your Trip Planner
Favorite thing: For those who enjoy guided tours and boats with windows/glass at the bottom, there are trips to observe “under water landscape” of Monaco. At the marina there is a small selling point where you might get info and buy tickets for the guided tour, which lasts about 1hour.
We didn’t personally do this guided tour of “underwater Monaco” as the weather was so grayish that I doubt we would be able to see something worth while, but a friend of mine was there previously and she enjoyed it.
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Monaco - The Early Days
Favorite thing: Since the very early days, the Rock of Monaco has provided a refuge for primitive peoples, traces of whom have been found in a cave in Saint Martin's Gardens. The first inhabitants of the area were probably the Ligurians. While the Roman period lasted, Monaco was part of the Province of the Maritime Alps - Julius Caesar embarked from its harbor on his way to lead his campaign in Greece. After the fall of the Roman Empire in the fifth century, the whole region was ravaged by the barbarians which lasted until the end of the tenth century. After the expulsion of the Saracens in 975, people began, little by little, to return to live on the Ligurian coast which is now Monaco. The name "Monaco", "Monoikos" in Greek, is usually associated with Hercules. A temple was consecrated to him in this Ligurian port, throughout antiquity, this place was known as Port Hercules.
Fondest memory: As you can see on the map, Monaco enjoys two different harbors; the Condamine (Hercule port) and Fontvieille, which are equipped to handle yachts of all tonnages. Intercontinental liners are able to anchor in the bay . Monaco enjoys a mild climate year round with exceptional amounts of sun. We visited in September and it was a perfect temperature with a mild breeze blowing from the Mediterranean. Many cruise ships stop here for good reason; the climate, the casino the interesting sites to visit and the beautiful views from the "rock".Related to:
- Arts and Culture
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Fondest memory: In Monaco they have public lifts, as Monaco is very hilly. We used the glass lift on the front of the harbour to get up 1 level. But ended up going down 1 instead, the lift was obviously playing up so we decided to walk up. Tried to open the lift doors no luck, went up 2 levels tried again still no luck. Eventually Derek managed to prize the doors open & we made our escape back on the ground level.
Then a man went to the lift, we told him it was broken & not to use it, he just shrugged his shoulders, looked at us very smuggly & got in the lift. Our lasting memory, is of us walking off down the road, watching him go up & down, up & down, up & down, up & ....................... You get my drift, not able to get out. (~_~)
This memory still has us in stitches when talk about it. Sounds a bit mean but we did try to warn him!Related to:
- Adventure Travel
Monaco - The Principality
Favorite thing: The state of Monaco is only half the size of New York’s Central Park, but in contrast to New York City, Monaco has no crime, no poverty, no unemployment, no pollution and no income tax. Despite astronomical land value, buildings are limited to 12 stories. Whatever is unbuilt is park or garden. There is no dirty air, so all the buildings sparkle in the sun.
Monaco lies in a narrow coastal strip which sometimes rises vertically upwards with its highest point at 163 meters. There are approximately 30,000 residents packed in this small area and of course this swells to thousands more due to tourists.
Fondest memory: There are spectacular vistas if you are approaching by car along the high road; the cruise ships look like toy boats in the water below and Monaco looks like a miniature city in an architect's model.
Click on the photo to see a panorama picture I took of this amazing view.Related to:
- Historical Travel
- Museum Visits
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