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.