There is something about the cool, sprawling beauty of the Mediterranean coast that can take your breath away. And if the romantic Mediterranean coast is surrounded by the French country, the mesmerizing factor goes up many notches. Such is the allure and attraction of cute, little microstate, Monaco.
The small sovereign city-state, of Monaco is located in Western Europe on the French Riviera. France borders the country on three sides while the other side borders the Mediterranean Sea, a major reason behind French being the official language of Monaco as well. Although small, Monaco is a leading tourist attraction; famous for its glitzy casinos, yacht lined harbor and prestigious Grand Prix motor race that runs through Monaco streets once a year.
Monte Carlo, its major district, has luxurious hotels, boutiques, night clubs, casino complex and French and Italian restaurants. Mild climate, splendid scenery, and upscale gambling facilities have contributed to Monaco’s status as a premier tourist destination and recreation center for the rich and famous. About 30% of native populace of Monaco is made of millionaires and their lifestyle serves as another attraction for tourists visiting the country.
Monaco in Contemporary Culture
James Bond, a fictional British spy, is often associated with the Casino de Monte Carlo. Monaco and its casinos were the locations for number of James Bond movies such as Never Say Never Again, Golden Eye, as well as for Casino Royale episode of the CBS climax television show.
The Grand Prix, Formula 1 circuit is one of the most prestigious racing events around the world that takes place in Monaco. So if the charming Hollywood film settings are not enough for your, then the Grand Prix event is certainly the time to visit this gorgeous country.
French Riviera, is the star attraction for the tourists during their visit to Monaco. It includes famously glamorous beach resorts such as Saint Tropez and Cannes. Cannes is also famous for Cannes Film Festival, which is a regular annual feature and the little country of Monaco lights up with the glitterati of Hollywood and denizens of global cinema during this time.
However, what really make Monaco exquisite and mesmerizing are its innately colourful culture and the natural beauty that adorns this sea-side microstate. If you are looking to explore the wonderful sights of Monaco, here is where you should start –
The Pristine Monaco Coastline
With golden sands sparkling in the Mediterranean sun, courted by azure waters as clear as the sky; the Monaco coastline during the day is pure perfection. At night the harbour comes alive with thousands of lights and looks like a mythical place. The Rock or ‘Le Rocher’ jutting into the sea is another unique feature of Monaco coastline which is not to be missed.
Take a stroll down the beach to enjoy the wonderful Mediterranean climate and preserve the delightful feeling of being in Monaco in your memories. Or you can also take a catamaran ride from the Monaco Harbour around the coastline and explore the charming sea-side of Monaco.
The Colourful architecture
When you are exploring this little country along its winding roads, you will often get the feeling that you are part of a painting and not reality. With red, white and yellow buildings speckled around the narrow streets give the country a uniquely artistic appeal. Do visit the famous guard tower that overlooks the sea, to complete the architectural experience in Monaco.
The Opera of Monte Carlo (Salle Garnier), The Cathedral on Monaco-Ville and the Oceanographic Museum are architectural and cultural landmarks in Monaco which are not to be missed either.
Palais du Prince (Palace of the Prince)
The exquisite beauty of Monaco is accentuated by its rich culture and tradition. The architectural brilliance of Palais du Prince can be enjoyed from various vantage points in Monaco due to its raised location on Le Rocher. You can visit the glorious fortress to explore the gilded Blue Room, the Italian gallery, the Mazarin Room with its intricate wood panels and the magnificent Throne Room. The Palatine Chapel is also located nearby and a sheer wonder to look at.
The Mediterranean climate favours lush vegetation and brilliant foliage in the Jardin Exotique (The Exotic Garden) of Monaco. With several African and Latin American plant species found in the garden, it makes for a heavenly experience for senses. The brilliant colours of flowers in the garden accentuate the breath-taking view of the sea which the garden enjoys.
The Saint Martin Garden, next to the Oceanographic museum is equally exotic and beautiful, offering a clear view of the ocean amidst lush greenery and a colourful riot of flowers. The Princess Grace Rose Garden is also worth a visit if you have a love for contemporary sculptures in a sea of roses.
The Moneghetti District
This unique district is built on terraces with vibrant gardens and exquisite villas. The only way to reach this district in western Monaco is via winding steps along the eastern slope of the country. With sharp hairpin bends and endless steps, the journey to the Moneghetti is as unique as the destination itself.
Museums, chapels, exotic gardens, historic forts, Ferrari riddled streets, swanky and upscale casinos, five-star dining establishments and affluent neighbourhoods make Monaco a mesmerizing combination of tradition and modernity. To truly understand the lure of this small country, you have to visit it once and cherish the experience of a lifetime yourself.