Monte Carlo

Monte Carlo is the wealthiest of Monaco's five quartiers (districts) and is the principality's main residential and resort area. Within Monte Carlo are the port, the main casino complex, and numerous luxury hotels and beaches.

Despite the rock of Monaco sheltering ancient civilisations since many centuries BC, Monaco's modern history started in 1228 when it was founded as a colony of Genoa and work on its fortress began. The history of the Grimaldi royal family stretches back over 700 years to when François Grimaldi seized the fortress after gaining entry disguised as a Franciscan monk.

An independent state, Monaco has its own language, Monégasque, which is taught in schools; although French is the official language and Italian and English are widely spoken. Its inhabitants are exempt from taxation, but are forbidden from entering gaming rooms in the casinos.


The Monaco Grand Prix is the highlight of the Formula 1 season and most of the race circuit is within Monte Carlo. The event is organised by the Automobile Club of Monaco who sell tickets at prices ranging between €46 to over €323. Lawn spaces are available on the hillside grounds just below the palace for around €30 (details are listed below).

The heights of the Prince's Palace and State Apartments in the old town of Monaco offer superb vistas over the principality. The palace interior is open to visits from June through to October. During the summer months the Monte Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra perform concerts under the stars, in the enchanting setting of the Courtyard of Honour.

Perched high on a cliff above the Mediterranean, the Oceanographic Museum and Aquarium displays over 4,000 species of fish. The top-floor terraced restaurant offers a splendid panorama of Monaco, making meals there memorable.

Held in August at the Sporting Club of Monaco, the Monaco Red Cross Ball charity fundraiser is the pinnacle of Monte Carlo's social calendar, attracting international celebrities who attend in opulent costume and ball-gowns.

Along with the plethora of tennis courts and swimming pools, fitness enthusiasts visit Monte Carlo to practise all manner of water-sports such as jet-skiing, water-skiing and paragliding. During the winter regular services from the heliport carry passengers for day-trips to the ski-resorts of the Alps, after which skiers can relax in any one of Monte Carlo’s six health spas.


Heralded as the international capital of luxury, Monte Carlo commands the presence of all the world’s premier fashion designers, jewellers and perfumers.

The boutiques of haute-couture labels such as Gucci, Prada and Christian Dior are all to be found in the 'Golden Circle' between the avenue Monte Carlo, avenue des Beaux-Arts; and in the Allées Lumières shopping mall.

The Casino Square and its adjacent streets accommodate the shops of prestigious jewellers such as Cartier, Bulgari and Van Cleef and Arpels; while many renowned antique dealers and interior designers also have premises in the area.

Monte Carlo’s neighbouring quartiers offer a more affordable shopping experience; the winding streets of the historic old town are the best place to buy tourist souvenirs and many specialist shops are to be found in the district of La Condamine which also hosts traditional markets.

Nightlife and Eating Out

Above anything else it is Monte Carlo’s nightlife that contributes to its legend, central to which is its baroque, Belle-Époque Casino. Designed by Charles Garnier, the architect who conceived the Opera Garnier in Paris, it has been glamourised by countless films including several James Bond pictures. The casino provides not only a sumptuous, royal setting for gambling, but contains the Monte Carlo Ballet and Monte Carlo Opera House. The Princess Grace Theatre named after the film star Grace Kelly who married the Prince Rainier III is also situated within the casino complex.

The Sun Casino is located in the Monte Carlo Grand Hotel, while the Sporting Club hosts Monaco’s other casino in its Salle des Palmiers.

The pubs and bars of Monte Carlo are mainly centred around the port area. Most are open very late and a few of its six nightclubs remain open until dawn.

The one consistency about dining in Monte Carlo’s diverse restaurants is that it’s likely to be outside on a terrace. Its gourmet restaurants attract the world’s top chefs whose culinary skills have earned their establishments up to three Michelin stars each. Following the latest gastronomic trends, these expensive eateries serve every imaginable kind of world cuisine and some remain open 24-hours a day.

Eating out in the traditional French and Italian restaurants of Monte Carlo is less costly, starting from around €9. Similarly priced fare is available in the restaurants of the old town and La Condamine.

Tourist Information

Office de Tourisme 2a, Bd des Moulins, Monte CarloMC 98030 Monaco Cedex, FranceTel. +377 (0)921 66 116Fax. +377 (0)921 66

Automobile Club de MonacoBP 464 - 23, blvd Albert IerMC 98012 MonacoPrincipality of MonacoTel: +377 (0)93 15 26 00Fax: +377 (0)93 25 80


The Cote d'Azur International Airport in Nice is only 15 miles away from Monaco and is serviced by a total of 41 airlines. It receives regular flights from all over the world, including 13 different UK airports and is a popular destination for both budget and prestige airlines.

There are a number of different ways to travel from Nice airport to Monte Carlo, the most spectacular is by helicopter across the Mediterranean which takes about seven minutes. Connecting flights leave Nice airport every 20 minutes and cost an average of €95 one-way, per person. A shuttle bus then transfers passengers from the helipad to various hotels.

Regular bus services connect both airport terminals to Monte Carlo and cost €13 one-way, with the journey lasting 45 minutes.

The cheapest, but most time consuming method is to travel by train from Nice main station to Monaco/Monte-Carlo Station on the Avenue Prince Pierre. The duration of the train journey is approximately 25 minutes.

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