Monaco is the place to be this month with Monaco Classic 2015 taking place from 9 to 13 September and Monaco Yacht Week 2015 taking place from 23 to 26 September. Here are our recommendations what to do when in town...
1) See the sights
The Monégasque have amassed an impressive collection of art and culture in less than one square mile. Indulge in a visit of the Prince’s palace and the daily changing of the guard ceremony. Stay on ‘the rock’ as locals refer to the royal neighbourhood, for captivating exhibits at the Oceanographic Museum. Later in the day, promenade along the coastal Sculpture Path while stopping to see contemporary art exhibitions at the New National Museum of Monaco in the villas Paloma and Sauber.
2) Lunch like a local
View from Societe Nautique, photo © Sylvia Sabes
Ensconced on private yachts or in elegant apartments, it is not easy to meet the locals. The Club Bouliste Monégasque is a rare exception. A private bocce ball club with an active membership, they have a simple restaurant that has yet to turn patrons away. Even more welcoming is the Société Nautique rowing club on the port, where guests are invited to try home-cooked dishes for a symbolic €1 supplement.
3) Shop Les Pavillions Monte-Carlo
Les Pavillons by night, photo © Sylvia Sabes
Architectural ‘pebbles’ flow down the Jardins des Boulingrins toward the historic Casino de Monte Carlo, each stone home to a luxury boutique. From international designer labels to antique jewellers with tiaras on display, visitors will find everything they need and more than they imagined. The shopping spree continues across the street on the block locals call the Carré d’Or (Gold Square).
4) Go for a drink
Hôtel de Paris, photo © Sylvia Sabes
James ordered his shaken, not stirred, at the Casino de Monte Carlo, but that is just the beginning. Thanks to royal support, the Brasserie de Monaco is brewing local beers from a terrace above the yacht-brimmed Port de Hercule, while the Hotel de Paris’ legendary wine cellars can be visited with a sommelier who has tales to tell. Safir 24 at the Fairmont serves cocktails by the sea every hour of the day.
5) Dine at Le Louis XV
Louis XV, Photo © Pierre Monetta
Eighteenth-century elegance meets 2015 design in Monte Carlo’s newly renovated 3-Michelin-star restaurant. Inspired by the natural bounty of the Riviera, international Chef Alain Ducasse rustles up meals fit for princes and princesses. Classic dishes and regional specialities add inspired balance to the seasonal menu that charms guests in the dining room or on the sun-kissed terrace.
6) Visit the Casino
Monte Carlo Casino
Inseparable from the myth of Monaco, the district is famous for the Belle Epoque Monte Carlo Casino, where hopeful guests court Lady Luck at green-clad gaming tables. The adjacent Opéra de Monte Carlo, designed by architect Charles Garnier, hosts classical opera performances seasonally. After playing with high rollers or high culture, the Café de Paris has been the place to rendez-vous since the 1900s.
7) Follow the footsteps of Princess Grace
Princess Grace rose garden
Grace Kelly stopped hearts and sparked imaginations when she became the Princess of Monaco. The world was seduced by her beauty and elegance, but it was her work as a philanthropist that has left an impressive legacy. Admirers can visit the Princess Grace Irish library or follow the official Princess Grace trail where enamel posters commemorate key moments in her life throughout the principality.
8) Stroll parks and gardens
Photo Sylvia Sabes
Dramatically landscaped cacti and succulents have been attracting visitors to the Jardin Exotique since 1933. Set between land and sea, the Japanese Gardens provide a moment of zen with a carp pond and picturesque bridge to put one’s mind at ease. The Princess Grace Rose Gardens feature her serene highness’ favourite blooms. The Animal Park was founded by her husband, Prince Ranier III.
9) Dine among stars
Elsa Restaurant terrace
Monaco is a gourmet’s paradise with six Michelin-starred restaurants in one tiny principality. Making vegetables exciting, chef Paolo Sari’s Elsa stands out as the world’s first 100% organic certified restaurant to earn a star. For something exotic, Antillean chef Marcel Ravin’s Blue Bay dining room has earned its star for enriching homey Mediterranean recipes with bright Caribbean flavours.