The early bird catches the worm at dawn… Beautiful and very peaceful view at 6.25am this Monday morning over the port of Monaco after a very early start (one of the “perks” of working with partners in Asia!): it’s starting to get very warm here on the Riviera now and the transition to summer is well underway. I’m also adding some nice pictures of the transition from night to day, all taken this morning… Have a fantastic week!
After a long trip last week back from Asia, there was nothing better than to take a quick hop across the port on the electric Boat Bus, with some stunning sunset views of the buildings of Monaco. It was a great feeling and surprisingly peaceful to glide silently over the calm waters of the Mediterranean after the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong and Taiwan.
In addition to being a fantastic museum with great content, the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco is also an architectural gem – purposely built in a strategic location in the Old Town of Monaco ahead of its inauguration in 1910, it really looks like it was slammed into the side of the cliff side. You can check out this amazing perspective from the entrance to the Parking des Pêcheurs public car park, accessible by lift from the museum esplanade. To discover the museum in more detail, check out the dedicated blog article!
Walking down a major shopping street in Monaco last week after a dentist’s appointment, I looked up and noticed some nice classical Belle Époque architecture from the 1920s. Sadly more and more of these buildings are being knocked down to make way for more modern and functional buildings but it’s important to stay close to the heritage of the area as the past often contains the keys to future success!
The influence of the French Riviera truly stretches all around the world! I’m currently touring around East Asia and was pretty surprised when I came across a subsidiary of the glamorous Café de Paris of Monte Carlo, not on Casino Square but in the lobby of the palatial Galaxy Hotel in the former Portuguese colony of Macau in southern China, also a global gambling capital. Was very happy to see a nice sculpture of the late Princess Grace and some vibes back from home, even on the opposite side of the world by the Pacific Ocean…
It’s not easy to find good, reasonably-priced places to go out after work in Monaco, especially in the Monte-Carlo neighbourhood where plenty of offices are located, unless you are willing to break the bank! But I recently discovered Valentin, a wine bar and restaurant and a little gem of a place hidden in the heart of Monte Carlo, just behind the Allées Lumière bus stop at the back of the mini shopping centre opposite the tourist office.
Opened in 2012 by Pier and Simona, a couple of passionate Italian restaurateurs who used to run a hotel-restaurant in the village of Triora just across the border in Liguria, it’s a great place for a quick and reasonable lunch if you are working in Monaco, with a new “plat du jour” every day. Continue reading
For over a hundred years, the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco has been one of the jewels in the crown for tourists in the Principality thanks to its famous aquarium and an international reputation. However, there is much more to this venerable institution than just a spectacular shark tank and some exotic stuffed animals – walking around the impressive marble walls of this beautiful building, you are treated to a journey through time and space and can really sense the passion of the man whose brainchild this museum is, Prince Albert I of Monaco. This in-depth article will obviously guide you through the main attractions of the museum but first it’s important to understand the historical context and the contribution that the museum is still making to the conservation of the oceans around the world. Continue reading
The Monaco Grand Prix is probably the biggest and most prestigious regular event on the French Riviera calendar, ahead of the Cannes Film Festival and the Carnival of Nice. Each year, it brings a magical atmosphere to the Principality, really kick-starting the summer season with plenty of private parties on the yachts in the harbour, a very cosmopolitan atmosphere and huge amounts of visitors (and therefore VAT income for the Monegasque government!). Of course, the Grand Prix completely changes the face of the Principality for 3 months, as the roads are full of temporary grandstands, crash barriers, tyres and blockades which are prepared two months in advance and take a month to dismantle afterwards, so there are huge logistics behind the event, the statistics provided by the Automobile Club of Monaco are impressive (see the “presentation” tab). Since the turn of the millennium, there has also been a Historic Grand Prix, which runs every even-numbered year two weeks before the main race, rather interesting to remind spectators of the race’s heritage as the first Monaco Grand Prix was run in 1929, though the first official race in the Formula 1 calendar was in 1950. And in 2015, the first electric Grand Prix, run by FIA under the name “EPrix” took place took two weeks before the F1 event and now also runs every two years.
No, Monaco is not as expensive as you may think… Some of you may be contemplating a trip to Monaco in the near future but have this impression of the Principality as a place where you cannot get by with under 1.000€ per day. Naturally, if you do have the desire to spend that amount, you can easily find hundreds of exotic ways of getting rid of large sums of money in a couple of minutes!
The good news is that Monaco is also a place where normal people, not just multi-millionaires, live and work, and that there are therefore plenty of ways for the common of mortals to have a wonderful sample of what the country can offer on a very reasonable budget. Follow the advice below and you’ll find that, contrary to popular belief, Monaco is much cheaper than most major cities in Europe on several different levels.
Those of you visiting Monaco this week will have noticed, in addition to the usual beautiful Christmas decorations on Casino Square and the ubiquitous Christmas market on the harbour, a certain air of joy in the air and spontaneous celebrations throughout the Principality.
This is all because of a historic event that has taken place for the first time since 1958, with the birth on Wednesday 10 December of the first children of TSH Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene:
- HSH Gabriella Thérèse Marie, Countess of Carladès (born at 5.04pm).
- HSH Jacques Honoré Rainier, Hereditary Prince and Marquess of Baux (born at 5.06pm).