Monaco: Travel through Art, Oysters and the French Riviera

We travel to Monaco, the smallest sovereign state in the world after the Vatican. Monaco is famous for the Monte Carlo, the center of luxury and social life, casinos, Formula One Grand Prix and the luxury glitz. Monaco is certainly a gem not to be missed if you visit the French Riviera.

Monaco is located in the French region of Côte d'Azur. It is easily accessible by train from Nice or even from Menton. One day may be well enough to visit it. Although it may be only a small principality, Monaco has a lot to offer and not everything is so close as it seems.

A great solution is to take the tourist bus. With a day ticket of about € 20, you can get on and off wherever you want, and the tour covers all the interesting areas to see excluding the Jardin Exotique. The bus, among other things, offers an audio guide in several languages explaining very interesting facts about the history of Monaco.

For example, in the past Monaco was larger and also included the towns of Menton and Roquebrune, which traded mainly in lemons. In 1848, the two cities declared themselves independent in a referendum and then got attached to France. It is from this moment that the Prince of Monaco decided to stake everything on casinos, a move that was necessary to survive.

Monte Carlo left us quite indifferent between a Ferrari that zip past but nothing more. Monte Carlo is all about luxury and as such does not have anything. People who live here have the curious feature of being arrogant because they are conscious of their membership in a privileged place.

If you want to travel beyond and know the true face of Monaco, take an uphill walk or an elevator to Monaco-Ville, the old city. It's also known as La Roche (the Rock), because of its location on a promontory overlooking the sea.



Forget traveling in a car, because it's a compact city to be explored on foot. I left the car on the steep road leading to the promenade. I advanced through narrow streets and alleys, full of charming shops, small but quaint, bars and restaurants.

After passing fourteenth-century walls and a statue dedicated to Prince Rainier and a steep climb, we arrive at the Princely Palace of Prince Rainier also called Palais Princier and Grimaldi Palace. It is open to the public from June to October. Grimaldi Palace is located on a beautiful square. Every day at 11:55 you can watch the change of the guard. The round courtyard is paved with millions of colored pebbles forming geometric designs like a big puzzle.

The Prince's Palace is the home of the Grimaldi family from the thirteenth century. Of Genoese origin, the Grimaldi left the maritime republic because of the struggles between Guelphs and Ghibellines. They became lords of Monaco by pretending to be priests. The palace was built in 1215 and was intended to defend.

From the square, it is very easy to see the small streets that lead to the historic center of Monaco. The houses in Provencal style and boulangerie's expose baguette up to the ceiling. The street names are written in both French and in Monégasque, an ancient dialect of Ligurian origins. It is similar to the dialect of Italian and optionally still taught in the schools of Monaco.

Getting lost among the restaurants with outdoor seating and small souvenir shops for those looking for a travel memory will be very easy. In the historical center is also the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception, built in 1875 and completely restored in 1988, known to most people because it houses the tomb of the beloved Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier III, who died in 2005.

Going down below the cathedral there are open views of the French Riviera and the green spaces of Monaco. Among the various green oasis, we find the Jardins de Saint-Martin Exotic Garden, which houses over 7,000 species of succulents and cacti and is ideal for a break in the cool, under the trees with a splendid view of the coast. Moreover, these gardens, in contrast to the Exotique, has open access. There is also the Oceanographic Museum, which for many is considered a must-see.

You can end your visit to Monaco by going back down the steps to the port area called Condamine. You can walk among yachts and small boats and maybe get to the famous Monte Carlo Casino. The casino is a beautiful building built in 1863 overlooking the Mediterranean, which must surely be the place that you visit. It has rich golden decorations and marble atrium, designed by the legendary architect Charles Garnier.

Lovers of boats cannot miss the fantastic yacht harbor, an interesting area for those with children because the boardwalk is full of games. Do not miss the track where you can see the Monaco Grand Prix, born in 1929, which is one of the most prestigious races in the racing machines.

And if you love food and the excellence you cannot fail to take note of farm oysters from one of the most intact Mediterranean sites. Oysters can be purchased directly and tasted on the spot or at the Condamine Market. The market now also opens in the evening. After 6 pm you can also buy a drink for dinner.

Home to the rich and famous, Monte Carlo exudes elegance in every stone of its palaces and is an explosive mix of chic city life and beautiful sunny beaches.