Things to see in Monaco: once upon a time in the Principality…


The Principality of Monaco is home to a thousand and one different wonders to behold. The question is where to start your adventure around this city steeped in art and culture, home to a plethora of architectural and natural gems. To visit Monaco is to step into a story-book. Are you sitting comfortably?

The story of princes and princesses

Our story starts 60-odd meters above sea level, in the heights of the Rock of Monaco, tucked away behind the walls of the Prince’s Palace, the official residence of HSH the Prince of Monaco. The secular guardian of the Principality and its heart and soul, no visitor should leave the Prince’s Palace without embarking on a tour of its State Apartments: from the Cour d’Honneur and its Carrara marble staircase to the 17th century frescos of the Galerie d’Hercule, via the Renaissance-era glamour of the Salle du Trône, the Brocatelle silk tapestry in the Salon Bleu or the polychromatic wood paneling in the Salle Mazarin. Near the Palace is the unmissable Monaco Cathedral. Decked out in its white La Turbie stone, people from all walks of life pass through its doorway to reflect over the princes of yore lying in their final resting place. HSH Prince Rainier III is buried here, as is his wife, Princess Grace.

The story of a casino

Located in the heart of the Principality, a sanctum of refined luxury and games, the Monte-Carlo Casino is one of the world’s oldest casinos. While players rest (9am to noon), seize the opportunity to explore the public and private rooms enclosed within this architectural masterpiece. Its Beaux-Arts-style façade, its wrought-iron awning, its marble-slabbed atrium encircled with ionic columns and its monumental Bohemia crystal chandeliers make it a flawless gem of Belle Époque style. Once you’ve finished your tour, keep the magic alive with a trip to the ‘Little Africa’ gardens with its exotic fragrances.

The story of an artistic city

The art you first see here is natural, preciously preserved for over a century by the Monaco Oceanographic Museum, an immense temple to the sea rising high above the Mediterranean at the foot of a cliff on the Rock of Monaco. The building encompasses 100-odd different pools home to around 6,000 fish specimens and over 200 species of invertebrates. Its famous shark lagoon is the highlight of this whirlwind journey through marine wildlife. For another take on a different kind of heritage, visit the Nouveau Musée National de Monaco (NMNM). This museum boasts two exhibition spaces, the Villa Sauber and the Villa Paloma, in which it reveals all the wealth and breadth of Monaco’s heritage while providing visitors with a bold, contemporary set design.

The story of extraordinary gardens

After ‘Little Africa’, continue your tour of Monaco and plunge head-first into the exotic world that awaits down the trailing paths of the Japanese Garden. The Exotic Garden emerges like Nature’s own private kingdom, an exuberant explosion of a thousand different succulents. Wander along the meandering cactus- and aloe-lined paths that lead down to the sea, and explore the Observatory Cave. A number of relics of humanity now on display at the nearby Museum of Prehistoric Anthropology were unearthed here.