The whole Rock of Monaco viewed from the Jardin Exotique

Introduction to the Old Town of Monaco

The whole Rock of Monaco viewed from the Jardin Exotique

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.

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Monaco or Monte-Carlo? What’s the difference?

There’s always been a certain degree of confusion between the two names, which is especially unfortunate as both of them are pretty famous. So just to clarify once and for all, here’s the difference.

MONACO is basically the name of the country. Yes, Monaco is actually a real country, a constitutional monarchy in the same vein as San Marino or the Vatican but with more leeway and independence, a full member of the United Nations and the Council of Europe and with its own royal family (or “princely” family), led since 2005 by H.S.H. Prince Albert II. More on this elsewhere.

View over most of the Principality of Monaco east from the Palace square

The city of Monaco is split up, like any other town, into several neighbourhoods: among others, MONTE-CARLO, which happens to be the area on the hill overlooking the main harbor that houses the casino and the luxury hotels.

The emblematic Casino of Monte-Carlo by night during the Xmas festivities

Contrary to some information that freely circulates online, Monte Carlo isn’t the capital of the country. The official capital is the neighbourhood known as “Monaco-Ville”, also known as “Le Rocher”, which is basically the large promontory that cannot be missed once you are in town and that houses the medieval Old Town, the Oceanographic Museum and the Prince’s Palace, as well as several government institutions.

Oh and finally… Despite the fact that the names are almost homonyms in several languages, including Chinese, neither Monaco nor Monte-Carlo have anything to do with Morocco!

 

Tutoring recommendation – Private Tuition Monaco

If you are in Monaco or anywhere along the French Riviera and you or your children need private tuition, Tavistock Tutors Monaco will be able to help.