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24 Hours in Monaco

posted in: Europe  |  posted by: Ian Harrison on June 3, 2011  |  No Comments

If your resumé does not include a stint as a Formula One driver or French pop star, 24 hours in Monaco is about all you can afford. All the glitz and glam of the Côte d’Azur coalesces most notoriously in the tony (and tiny) Principality. The Monégasque constitutional monarchy is the realm of the House of Grimaldi and, at the moment, has Prince Albert II as head of state.

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Since the entire city-state spans just under 2 km2 and holds a small football stadium’s worth of a permanent population, posh price-points are not the only reason to give Monaco a day of your time. With that, check out a handy shortlist of what to see and do in Monte Carlo and Monaco. Size jokes aside, the pocket sovereignty packs quite a punch.

Enjoy a day at the races at the epic Monaco Grand Prix. If you can only attend one motorsports spectacle in your life, without question, the flagship event of the F1 season is it.

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La Condamine, like all districts in Monaco, is tiny but has a lot of inherent charm. The best place to watch the yachts of the rich and famous.

The Chemin des Révoires takes you to the zenith point of the Principality and offers spectacular panoramas from Mont Agel.

As Monégasque lore has it, Francesco Grimaldi, in disguise as a monk and with the help of his soldiers, cleverly took possession of the Rock of Monaco monolith in 1297. A depiction of the event is on the Monaco coat of arms.

The Oceanographic Museum (Musée Océanographique) is a magnificent archive of marine sciences that celebrated its centenary in 2010. Jacques Cousteau was the director of the museum for years.

The Prince’s Palace of Monaco is a pretty nice place to lay your ample head every night, as Prince Albert II does. The original structure dates back to 1191 and the Most Serene Republic of Genoa and has been built on and restored many times over the centuries. The Grimaldis have reigned over Monaco from the hushed, cordoned-off rooms of the palace for over 700 years. Many come to watch the daily change of the guard outside the main entrance at 11:55 a.m. Of note as well, the palace’s Romanesque-Byzantine cathedral contains the remains of Grace Kelly, or Princess Grace.

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Though now in relegation in Ligue 2, the Association Sportive de Monaco Football Club has historically been one of the most successful in Europe. Some of the best talent in the game has worn the Rouge et Blanc jersey, from Jürgen Klinsmann to Thierry Henry, Patrice Evra to Emmanuel Adebayor. Catch a home match at Stade Louis II if you can.

Monte Carlo, the quarter of Monaco most familiar to tourists, contains the most famous attraction in the city-state. The Monte Carlo Casino (Grand Casino) is a classic icon from early starchitect Charles Garnier.

If you choose to have one meal in Monaco, be sure to save your Euros for Louis XV, Alain Ducasse’s Michelin three-star flagship restaurant in the Hôtel de Paris. Have a drink at the hotel’s Bar Americain as well.

Monte Carlo hotels


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