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Tips & Tops

A Middle Eastern Dream

Published on July 22, 2019Updated on June 19, 2023

A Middle Eastern dream is sweeping like spicy fragrances over the Rock. A sweet amber perfume envelopes each of its streets, while sweet vapours of shisha caress its walls. This morning, the Principality woke up in a new world, in the Middle East to be precise. Welcome to the seventh heaven...

The height of flavour

This Middle Eastern dream begins with a treat for the mouth with a visit to Lebanon, via the relocation of a Parisian culinary institution: Noura. Established in the capital’s prestigious golden triangle, the chicest of Lebanese restaurants has been tickling the taste buds of Parisians and travellers for thirty years with an abundance of succulent mezze and spiced delicacies. Its hummus will delight even the finest palates. This additional “Lebanese embassy”, located on the very popular Avenue Marceau, has opened a summer pop-up restaurant in the Hôtel Hermitage Monte-Carlo. Gourmets from all walks of life, we strongly recommend you try this culinary experience, whose charms will no longer be available to enchant you as of 25 August. Behind the stoves, the magicians of this Middle Eastern-Mediterranean cuisine are skilfully blending coriander, cardamom, sumac, zaatar and baharat to create bewitching recipes. On the menu you’ll find both classics (Lebanese tabbouleh, hummus and aubergine caviar) and revisited dishes (such as the sayadieh, a delicate cod specialty served as carpaccio or tartare). An alchemy of spices, know-how and patience are particularly prominent in Noura’s signature dish: the royal lamb confit to share. Treat your senses with a trip to the Land of the Cedars in the Excelsior lounge of the Hôtel Hermitage Monte-Carlo. From 5 pm, the lounge bar will offer shisha, colourful cocktails and mezze. Enjoy an aperitif under the Beirut sun which, at night, will give way to dinner under the stars. Welcome…

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The height of pampering

The body can enjoy the trip as much as the mouth thanks to the personalised offering available at the Cinq Mondes spa. Your two-hour twenty-minute trip to the Middle East begins with the sacrosanct ritual of the hammam … a real festival of aromas and colours! For 20 minutes, you will be won over by the benefits of ‘aromacology’ and personalised essential oils. The deliciously heady fragrances will relax the mind as much as any muscle in the body. A comforting sensation caresses the skin and gives way to a pleasant afterglow. This is followed by 20 minutes of exfoliation with Beldi black soap applied with a Kassa glove for deeply purified skin. It will leave you with silky satin skin before the purifying and detoxifying rassoul cream body wrap. This natural clay gives the skin striking tone. The journey ends in the gentle, expert hands of an oriental massage priestess. She will slowly yet deeply massage your whole body to bring you to a state of pure well-being. Her secret? A sumptuous decoction of heated and delicately scented olive, argan and sesame oils. Relax…

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The height of hedonism

With the mouth thoroughly thrilled, and the body utterly relaxed, all that remains is to stimulate the mind, and once again, there is a Middle Eastern ritual for that: shisha. Persia is reminiscing on happy times with the Principality by introducing it to its tastier, more delicate way of smoking tobacco. Why not enjoy the intoxicating feeling of making melon-, peach- or grape-flavoured smoke rings? All across on the Rock, sweet shisha fragrances are emanating from the tables of nocturnal establishments. The Vigie Lounge & Restaurant, the Buddha-Bar Monte-Carlo, La Rascasse, the Jimmy'z Monte-Carlo, the COYA Monte-Carlo and the Blue Gin are all inviting you on hazy, ecstatic journeys. Shisha enhances the splendour of the One Thousand and One Nights parties that the Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort is holding in honour of this sensory interlude. In July and August, the flavours and colours of this phantasmagorical Middle East are sweeping over the establishment’s summer restaurant Las Brisas. From themed cuisine and live music to oriental dancers and transcendent decorations, there is magic to behold in this dreamlike setting between the sea and the lagoon.

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And since music is a very common medium in Middle Eastern expression, be sure to visit the Salle des Étoiles to enjoy the intoxicating sounds of Ragheb Alama as part of the Monte-Carlo Sporting Summer Festival. A star of the Arab world, this Lebanese singer has been making popular music imbued with his heritage since the mid-1980s. This musical blend has made him an icon of the genre and will enchant the Rock for a one-off concert.  

Millennia of Middle Eastern wonders and pleasures await you atop the Monégasque Rock. Rarely have two worlds come together so harmoniously. When rock meets cedar, ecstasy floods the streets of the Principality and time is suffused with the scent of eternity.

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