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Monte Carlo Travel Guide

About Monte Carlo

Monte Carlo sits on a salubrious sliver of land along France’s beautiful Mediterranean coastline and has become a haven for the rich and famous thanks to its tax laws and enviable location.

It may be part of the pint-sized Principality of Monaco but metre for metre, Monte Carlo has more star power than anywhere else in the world with the likes of Roger Moore, Bono and Lewis Hamilton all residing here.

While the strikingly pretty architecture undoubtedly plays a part, what Monte Carlo is really about is money. And for those who have cash to splash, there’s plenty of choice – whether it’s browsing upmarket boutiques, chancing luck in the glitzy casino or partying on the fabulously glamorous yachts crammed into Monte Carlo’s natural harbour.

Away from the waterfront, there’s plenty to see, not least in Monte Carlo proper, not least in the winding old alleys and ancient churches that are to be found away from the glitzy gambling clubs. Further along the coast is the Rock of Monaco, home to capital Monaco-Ville, whose borders mingle with those of Monte Carlo. Here, jet set yachts and designer stores give way to romantic old streets, all overseen by the towering Prince's Palace of Monaco.

The palace is home to the Grimaldi rulers of Monaco, latterly Prince Albert II, his wife Charlene and their twin children, Prince Jacques and Princess Gabrielle. Compelling though the exploits of the Monegasque royals are it’s the exploits of the Formula 1 drivers who descend each year for the Monaco Grand Prix that really put the principality on the map.

Walking around the narrow streets it seems implausible that such a race could be staged here, but organisers annually defy the limitations of this compact city to host one of racing’s most prestigious events. And that sums up Monte Carlo: impractical and unconventional, but hugely entertaining.

Key facts

Population:
31109
Latitude:
43.744965
Longitude:
7.425770

Featured Hotels

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Hôtel de Paris

Enviably situated in Casino Square, Hôtel de Paris opened in 1863 and is still the most glamorous place to stay in Monaco. Exquisitely decorated, the sumptuous rooms are decked out in antique furniture. Guests can also enjoy the luxury health spa, private beach and no fewer than three glittering restaurants.

Monte Carlo Bay

This refined resort opened in 2005 and has more than 300 rooms and suites, plus one palatial apartment. Guests can indulge themselves with the outdoor pool, lagoon and luxury spa, and take in views of the Mediterranean from the extensive grounds. Most rooms have striking sea views and the onsite restaurants are all fantastic too.

Hôtel Hermitage

Listed as a historic monument, the Hôtel Hermitage is an imposing belle époque hotel that remains one of the jewels in Monaco's architectural crown. Opulence abounds inside, with extravagant antiques and ornate décor, but also plenty of old-world style and elegance. Some rooms overlooking the harbour have their own terrace hot tubs.

Hôtel de France

This simple yet comfortable 2-star is just a few minutes' walk from the lively morning market at La Condamine's Place d'Armes and the shops along rue Grimaldi. Rooms have contemporary style and some come with a balcony. Considering it's less than 10 minutes' walk from the port, it's a bargain.

Hôtel Ambassador Monaco

Monaco's main attractions, including Monaco Rock, the Palais Princier and Port Hercule, are just a stone's throw away from this stylish, understated hotel. The 3-star stay comes with all the usual comforts, Wi-Fi and air-conditioning included, at a rather reasonable price. There's also an in-house restaurant that serves Mediterranean classics.

Le Miramar Monaco

What this little 3-star lacks in spacious rooms it makes up for in wonderful views. Overlooking Port Hercule, the Miramar has simple, modern sleeping quarters, some with balconies. Its SunDeck Restaurant is a real treat: very good food served on a panoramic terrace looking out over the port.