Monte Carlo Travel Guide
Get Your Bearings in Monte CarloWhere to Stay
The principality of Monaco is nestled in the tiny area between the Alps and the Mediterranean south of France. When choosing to stay in Monte Carlo, your variables are based primarily on cost, and how high above sea level you want to be. There are pricey hotels where you can literally step out onto the sands, or if you just need the view, you can grab a spot on the sea's terrace.
Take It or Leave It: Monte Carlo is known as a playground for the rich. All room types will seem pricey here, but you are paying for the atmosphere as well as the amenities.
Hot Tips: The Hotel de Paris is one of the finest hotels in the world. You will be hard pressed to find a more luxurious hotel.
What to Eat
The aforementioned Hotel de Paris has two of the best restaurants in the world, run by Michelin-starred chef Alain Duccase. You can pair your meal with one of over 200,000 bottles of wine from their decorated cellar. If you head into the old city (Monaco-Ville), the alleyways are filled with little cafes and eateries serving worldly food options.
Caution: If you don't want to blow all your loot on food, try to eat in Monaco-Ville instead of Monte-Carlo center.
Hot Tips: Head down Rue Comte Felix Gastaldi where a plethora of food spots lie. Eat outside, yet in the shade provided by the alleyway.
Things to See
For a taste of history and spectacular sights, head up the walkway known as "le rocher" in Monaco-Ville. Climb up the stone steps and through the roads carved through hills. At the top, you will be rewarded with the Oceanographic Museum and the Prince's palace, both worth spending time in. The main draw in Monte Carlo center is the Grand Casino, an extremely "high-roller" luxury casino.
Caution: The Grand Casino is so haughty that they feel in the right to charge a variable entry fee most days.
Hot Tips: Bring a bathing suit when you walk up "le rocher." There is a great rock beach for swimming and sunning which you can get to using a secret staircase.
Places to Party
Be prepared to pony up when you are out on the town in Monte Carlo. The super rich will be partying with you, and their watering holes have every intention of pricing you out. For dancing, sweet tasting liquor concoctions, and general "under-the-stars" clubbing, Monte Carlo has you covered. Grab a bottle of bubbly and chill out on a rooftop or patio bar and watch the yachts dock at port.
Avoid: Jimmy-z' if you'd rather not pay 20 euro for a beer.
Hot Tips: "Bar at the Columbus Monaco" will offer night-lifers a more laid back atmosphere.
Where to Shop
Monaco is a city for the rich, and the shopping options epitomize that. The "Golden Circle" will give you access to all the high-end designer stores like Dior, Gucci, Hermes, etc. If you would rather dabble among the more local items and crafts, the "Condamine Market" will suit your needs. Head west to the Fontvieille section of Monaco to find your normal stores for everyday needs.
Take It or Leave It: Looking for a new jewelry piece? Head to Place du Casino where numerous high-end jewelers call home.
Hot Tips: Monaco uses the euro.
About Monte Carlo
Big yachts, big bucks and bigwigs are standard in glamorous Monte Carlo, which is part of the tiny, prosperous principality of Monaco. Famous for its posh, high-dollar casino and the annual Formula One Grand Prix, this playground of the rich and famous intrigues visitors from around the world. Formerly one of the poorest states in Europe, the principality got a boost when the Monte Carlo Casino was built in 1865. It prompted a dramatic surge in the economy, and it continues to be a popular attraction today. Extravagant hotels, sumptuous villas, fine dining and some of the best haute couture boutiques in Europe make it a perfect hedonistic destination. History and science buffs can get their fill from facilities devoted to naval history, oceanography, anthropology and art. Exotic gardens and sprawling parks also prove enticing. In addition, several museums and attractions tell the fascinating history of Monaco's royalty — the beloved Grimaldi family — and how the region became one of Europe's only remaining autocracies.