This is also known as “Monaco Ville” or “Le Rocher” (the Rock) and is the government and historical centre of the Principality, as well as being one of the two main tourist sites. The old town of Monaco might seem a bit too clean and glitzy for connaisseurs of other more authentic villages in the region, such as Sainte Agnès, La Brigue or even Villefranche – it is Monaco after all… However, if you follow the advice below, it is always possible to have a nice walk around, trying to avoid the hordes of tourists and souvenir shops. That is why the best time of day is dusk, once the souvenir shops have closed, the streets are quieter and the crowds of tourists have taken their coaches either back to their cruise ship or to drive round the harbour and “visit Monte Carlo” in 15 minutes.
Main attractions (to be detailed in subsequent articles):
– The Oceanographic Museum, an amazing building built into the side of the cliff and simply one of the best aquariums in Europe: official website
– Follow mywalking tour around the beautiful small pedestrian streets, churches and gardens.
– The Prince’s Palace, official residence of the Prince and Princess of Monaco, location of the Royal court, almost a city within the city and most recently the main theatre of the stunning royal wedding in July 2011. Read more in the “Walking Tour” article and on the official website.
– The Cathedral: an imposing white marble edifice which recently celebrated its centenary, famous mainly for the tombs of the various Princes of Monaco, as well that of Princess Grace. The visit is actually a very moving experience for royal watchers, given the number of historical events that have been commemorated there, both happy and sad. More information on the official Cathedral website.
– Some small museums: the Monte Carlo Story and the museum of Old Monegasque Traditions, only if you are really enthusiastic about the history of Monaco or the royal family. Otherwise, don’t bother and instead, just walk down to the port and the Grand Prix circuit, follow the trail of yachts around the waterfront and head towards Monte Carlo and the casino.
For more Monaco news and guides, visit La Costa Properties Monaco blog