Situated on the Mediterranean coast of France close to the Italian border, this tiny, tax-free principality (the second-smallest microstate, behind the Vatican) has been ruled by the Grimaldi family since the 13th century. The famous casino has a lush Italianate interior, lavish with frescoes and chandeliers, and is connected to the Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo by a passageway. The coastal Avenue Saint-Martin is adorned with cliffside gardens and is home to the Cathédrale de Monaco, where Princess Grace was married and now rests. The Golden Circle and the Avenue des Beaux-Arts feature haute couture shops. Monaco’s rather conservative culinary scene has lately been infused with new Asian-focused venues. Each May, Formula One racing cars speed through the streets during the Monaco Grand Prix.
Private Cabanas & Michelin-Starred Meals
For a stylish and relaxing day by the sea, the chic Monte-Carlo Beach hotel (open mid-March to mid-October) is a delight. Rest in a private cabana, swim in the Mediterranean or the saltwater pool, indulge in a massage and go for lunch at Elsa, the all-organic Michelin one-star restaurant that proves that gourmet eating can also be healthful. Reservations required.
The Prince’s Palace
A visit to Monaco would not be complete without a visit to the ancient Genoese fortress Prince’s Palace of Monaco. Open to visitors from April to the end of June and September to mid-October, the castle’s State Apartments, designed in the style of Louis XIV, feature 16th- and 17th-century frescoes of mythological figures, ornate Florentine furniture, royal portraits, original artwork, marble mosaic tiles and magnificent tapestries. The Changing of the Guards ceremony occurs every morning at 11:55 a.m.
The Grand Prix
In 2020, the Monaco Grand Prix culminates on May 24. The race is held on a narrow course laid out in the streets of the city, with many elevation changes and a tunnel, making it one of the most demanding tracks in Formula One.
Six hours ahead of New York (EST).
To phone hotels and restaurants in Monaco, dial 011 (international access) + 377 (Monaco code) + city code and local numbers in listings.
Monaco, like the Côte d’Azur, enjoys hot, dry summers and cool, rainy winters. June and September are the most pleasant months of the year.
Euro (€). Fluctuating rate valued at €1.00 = US$1.10 as of October 2019.
None. Consulate: Marseille, Tel. (33) 1-43-12-48-85.