The old town is worth visiting at night. The castle is at its prettiest lit up, the streets look pretty and the views over the port of Monaco are beautifully lit up. I was very glad we saw the old town in both the light and dark.
We ran out of time before we could explore the Fontvieille area of Monaco, but we did enjoy the fantastic views over it from just outside the prince's palace and from next to the cathedral. Absolutely beautiful.
Just outside the prince's palace there is a statue Francesco Grimaldi known as the Cunning.
Francesco Grimaldi was the Genoese leader of the Guelphs who captured the Rock of Monaco on the 8th of January 1297. He did this by disguising himself as a Franciscan monk. He was then greeted at the gates of Monaco's castle, only to seize the castle with his cousin Rainier I, Lord of Cagnes, and a group of men behind him.
The Prince Palace of Monaco was formerly a Genoese fortress ruled by the Guelp family, built in 1191 and has withstand sieges and bombardments but not the cunning of Francois Grimaldi who made the Grimaldi family the rulers of Monaco and owners of the Castle since then. It oversees Port Hercules and is actually a mish mash of different styles. Part of the Palace is open to the Public (The State Apartments) of which you can enter and have a tour. there is also a daily changing of guards ceremony in front of the Palace gates which tourist take pictures and videos. The state apartments have several rooms and galleries that display 15th century frescoes, a spectacular throne room, carrara marbles and a lot more.
tel: +377 93 25 18 31
fax: +377 93 50 81 73
From April 2 to October 31, except Saturday and Sunday of F1 Grand Prix
April, May, June, September and October from 10 am to 6 pm (last admition 5:30 pm)
July and August: from 10 am to 7 pm (last admission 6:30 pm)
Closed from November 1st to April 1st.
Adults: 8 euros per person
children 8-1: 4 euros per person
children less than 8: free
Palace and Oceanographic Museum Combo Tickets:
adults: 18 Euros
children 8 to 12: 8 euros
student (13 to 17): 11 euros
children: 4 to 7: 7 euros
Perched on top of its rock, the Prince's Palace is quite an attractive building, especially at night when it is lit up.
The Prince's Palace is the official residence of the Prince of Monaco. It was built in 1191 as a Genoese fortress. Since the end of the thirteenth century, it has been the home of the Grimaldi family who captured it in 1297.
Fronted by a car park, the Prince's Palace is not the grandest of its kind. But the views from its ramparts are spectacular. It might be that this unremarkableness results from it being under constant attack for many centuries, from various regional and global powers. Despite the attacks, the Grimaldis clung on, just like its palace clings to the rock of Monaco. They had nowhere else to go; the palace has had seven centuries of continuous occupation by the same family.
Every day you can witness the changing of the guard here, in front of the palace, at precisely 11.55am.
Francois Grimaldi is one of the most legendary figures in Monaco's history. In 1297, he tried to get access to the fortress disguised as a monk. After he was welcomed, he opened the gates for his men and made his cousin Rainier I the first Grimaldi ruler of Monaco. Although four years later, the fortress was lost to the Genoese again, the Grimaldi family recaptured it and established the Principal rule over Monaco as we know it today. Malizia's trick is depicted on the city's coat of arms in form of two armed monks.
A bronze statue of Francois Grimaldi in his monk costume is located in front of the palace. Depending on point of view, Malizia is translated with malicious or cunning.
This small museum is often overlooked. Run by the Royal family, it is found in the left hand side of the palace. To my surprise, it was really good. Though it is n modern multimedia institution, it manages to show the way of Napoleon from humble beginnings in Corsica via his numerous won battles to the defeat at Waterloo and the exile on St. Helena. However, I can only recommend this museum to people interested in this episode of history. People not interested in history at all will surely not enjoy it.
Entry fee was 4 EUR/adult (2010), free entry if you have already paid for the palace itself. Depending on your interest in the topic 30 min. to an hour should be planned. Unfortunately, no photos allowed inside. Unlike the palace, it is open year-round but it is useful to check their website beforehand as they also close on some days in the winter.
The history of the palace goes back to the year 1191 when a Genoese fortress was allowed to be built on the rock which forms now Monaco's old town. In 1297, it was captured by the Grimaldi family who have ruled this place (though with some interruptions). Through alteration (including by Vauban) , expansion and reconstruction, it became the Palace as we know it today. Three towers from the earliest years are preserved and parts from all architectural eras can be found in the palace. At 11:55, there is a change of guards.
As many other places in Monaco, the palace is closed for visitors during the winter months. The only open part during the winter is the Museum of Napoleonic Souvenirs. Unfortunately, I was there shortly before the opening of the season – therefore no impressions of the throne room and the interior of the palace for me.
Do not try to play any joke around with the palace guards. If you approach them to ask something do it carefully and with respect, they will treat you with respect as well. If you want to tease them, you may get into some trouble.
Most summer day-trippers from Nice want to see the home of Monaco's royal family, the Palais du Prince, which dominates the principality from "the Rock." A tour of the Grands Appartements allows you a glimpse of the Throne Room and some of the art (including works by Bruegel and Holbein) as well as Princess Grace's state portrait. The palace was built in the 13th century, and portions date from the Renaissance. The ideal time to arrive is 11:55am to watch the 10-minute Relève de la Garde (changing of the guard).
In a wing of the palace, the Musée du Palais du Prince (Souvenirs Napoléoniens et Collection d'Archives) holds a collection of mementos of Napoleon and Monaco. When the royal residence is closed, this museum is the only part of the palace the public can visit.
The Prince's Palace of Monaco is one of the top sighs in Monaco, as it happens to bd the official residence of the Prince of Monaco. Its construction dates back to 1215, when it was a Genoese fortress. It became the stronghold of the Grimaldi family in 1297 - and has been continuously inhabited by them until the present day.
The fortress has undergone many changes - some parts have been rebuilt, new towers and new wings have been added, until it eventually became a palace. However the core of the original construction is still there. When you visit it, it's possible to distinguish easily the different "layers", which in my opinion are part of the palace's charm.
It is possible to visit the palace inside, and I strongly recommend it - as the best charms lie behind the reneissance facede: the frescoes in the open air the Gallery of Hercules are truly stunning... they are imported works by Pier Francesco Mazzucchelli depicting mythological and legendary heroes. Don't miss the Red Room and its fine paintings by Brueghel.
The palace is open April - October and entrance (october 2008) was 7 euros. the tour is self-guided and at the entrance they will give you multilingual audioguides. Sidenote: photography is not allowed inside the palace.
The Palace of Monaco that is home to Prince Rainer is located on a hill overlooking the entirety of Monaco. A large plaza is situated directly in front of the Palace and there are always plenty of tourists taking up the available space. From the Palace there are panoramic views of Monaco and the harbor. Additionally there is a shopping district and the Cathedral of Monaco is right next door.