Vivid blue waters, scintillating environs and impeccable natural beauty find able company in sheer extravagance at Monaco – the petite French Riviera principality which has the young and the affluent eating out of its hands.
The say good things come in small packages, but this one is so much more than just good; it’s fabulously beyond compare and enthralling to the hilt. Monaco more than makes up for its small area in the luxurious abundances it offers to its patrons.
Monaco has an impeccable history of providing unmatched experiences to its visitors and continues to evolve over the period.
The thought behind welcoming the visitors is not to merely match their expectations but to exceed in its offerings,” says Mr. Rajiv Nangia, Chief Operating Officer, TRAC Representations (I) Pvt. Ltd. TRAC represents Monaco Tourism in India.
An autonomous state with its own flag and identity, Monaco recognizes the Euro as its official currency, and a mixture of French and Italian as the established Monégasque dialect. Here is a lowdown on all that’s marvellous in this mesmeric destination.
What to see: A veritable mix of splendid museums, perfectly manicured gardens, impressive monuments and glittering casinos that embody decadence, pepper the visage of Monaco. And make it perfect for every kind of tourist out there.
- Nouveau Musée National de Monaco – Monaco’s thought-provoking national museum comprises two plush villas, Villa Paloma and Villa Sauber. This avant-garde establishment hosts temporary art exhibitions on varied themes, while also allocating its resources towards restoration and conservation of valuable antiques.Address: Villa Paloma [56, Boulevard du Jardin Exotique], Villa Sauber [17, Avenue Princesse Grace]
- Casino de Monte Carlo – Built in the year 1893, the Monte Carlo Casino is indeed a gilded vision that needs to be beheld in order to be believed. Sheer grandiosity is rendered in marble and gold to create this opulent example of Belle Epoque architecture. The marble-paved atrium comes encircled with 28 onyx columns and leads upto the spectacular Opera Hall. The scarlet and gold structure is bedecked with intricate sculptures and is thrown open only to host exceptional artistic events of global fame.The elaborately decorated Gaming Rooms like Salle Europe, the Salons Privés and other Salons Ordinaires are a player’s delight, while also offering the art connoisseur in you a lot to feast your eyes upon.Address: Place du Casino [Restricted access – over 18 years only. Proof of identity required.]
- Palais Princier de Monaco – The bastion of one of the oldest monarchies in the world, the Palais du Prince was originally built as a fortress by the regal family of Genoese in the year 1215. The awe-inspiring monument is placed such that it offers breathtaking panoramic views of the beautiful vistas around.The palace’s Italian style gallery and the intricate frescoes are a treat for the eyes. The splendid Louis XVth lounge, the golden azure Blue Room, the multi-hued wood panelled Mazarin Room, and the opulent Throne Room make for a sumptuous fare for those who admire art in all forms. The 17th-century Palatine Chapel and the Main Courtyard with its colossal Carrara marble double staircase also figure on the list of must-visit attractions at the royal abode.Address: Palais Princier de Monaco [Not accessible to people on wheelchairs, admission only through staircase]
- Musée Océanographique de Monaco – Perched upon the mythical Le Rocher [Rock of Monaco], the Oceanographic Museum has been presiding over the cascading blue seas for over a century. Founded by the Prince Albert I, great grandfather of H.S.H. Prince Albert II, it was designed as a Palace entirely dedicated to Art and Science.From the aquariums to the collections of Natural History, including the Shark Lagoon and the Turtle’s Island situated on the panoramic terrace, the Museum offers visitors a unique learning experience. The Oceanographic Museum hosts many extremely valuable, world-renowned exhibits of marine science and is continuously progressing.Address: Avenue Saint-Martin – Monaco-Ville
- Jardin Exotique & Jardins St-Martin – The strikingly intense Jardin Exotique was opened in the year 1933 and brings together several million species of succulents and cactus. Entry includes the Musée d’Anthropologie and a guided tour of the Grotte de l’Observatoire. The ancient stalactite and stalagmite-laced cave is as surreal as it’s remarkable.Address: Boulevard du Jardin Exotique
Website: http://www.jardin-exotique.mc/accueil_eng.htmSmall paths meander casually along the ridge in Jardins St-Martin, which offers visitors a glimpse at wild Mediterranean flora along with a rich display of exotic species. Works of art and striking statues pepper the façade of this garden which offers some stunning views of the coast as well.
- Cathédrale de Monaco – A stunning vision in white, this 1875 Roman-Byzantine style building is the burial site wherein lie several past sovereigns, including Prince Rainier and Princess Grace. The altarpiece by Niçois painter Louis Bréa dating back to 1500s, the high alter and the Episcopal throne crafted out of white Carrara marble are awe-inspiring. The cathedral plays host to pontifical services during great liturgical celebrations accompanied by the scintillating harmonies of a grand organ with four keyboards.Address: 4, rue Colonel-Bellando-de-Castro – Monaco-Ville
- The Prince of Monaco’s Vintage Car Collection – Located on the Terraces de Fontvieille, this astounding exhibition brings together almost 100 classic cars of all ages and make. Belonging to HSH, Prince Rainier III of Monaco and opened to the public in the year 1993, the amazing collection also includes six coaches on display.Address: Terrasses de Fontvieille
These are just a few of the many more sights in Monaco that richly deserve a dekko.
What to do: Dazzling nightlife, sporting competitions of widespread international acclaim, exquisitely opulent shopping destinations, therapeutic getaways and cultural and musical events of global renown – Monaco has a lot to offer to all manners of tourists.
“Monaco in itself is an integrated attraction. The second smallest country in the world offers unique experiences, with nearly 700 events annually thus catering to the likes of almost everyone,” echoes Mr. Nangia.
“Its offerings include a wide array of choices catering to everyone, thereby leaving them mesmerized. From sporty events like F1, Monte Carlo Rolex Tennis Masters to Jazz & Ballet festivals clubbed with amazing nightlife, casino and gourmet delights makes Monaco a dream come true destination,” he states.
With so much on offer, it can be quite a heady experience to plan one’s stay when in Monaco. If bespoke luxury is what enthrals you, go for a private yacht cruise with a personal skipper. For music lovers attending a performance of the fabulous Monte Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra is an absolute must. A riveting Ferrari sports car driving experience promises to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for racing and auto enthusiasts. The list of entertainment options and activities available in Monaco is as comprehensive as it’s exciting. And it’s all there at your disposal!
Where to stay: With a total capacity of over 2,600 rooms and suites, the 14 luxury and regular hotels of the Principality of Monaco all adhere to the values of humble hospitality and personalised service with the highest level of utmost care.
Myriad architectural styles like Classical, Belle Epoque, Mediterranean and Contemporary welcome one, as all these hotels cater to your every need with over 80 restaurants and the promise of a service that does justice to the fame and popularity of their host – the unparalleled Monaco.
All photos courtesy of: http://www.visitmonaco.com/