Pierre Frolla à la plage Larvotto Monaco

Seaside Monaco: a stroll through the Larvotto district with Pierre Frolla

Published on April 12, 2024Updated on April 25, 2024

With its beach, Japanese garden and promenade, Larvotto occupies a special place in people’s hearts in Monaco. Associated with leisure and Monaco’s extension to the sea, this former rural area is now home to landmark establishments such as the Grimaldi Forum Monaco and the Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort. Pierre Frolla, Monaco’s four-time freediving world champion and director of the Monegasque Marine Academy (based in the area), takes us on a tour of this little seaside paradise.

Japanese Garden and Grimaldi Forum: culture and pleasure


The Grimaldi Forum Monaco hosts the most exceptional events and major exhibitions organised in Monaco. The Monte-Carlo Television Festival, concerts, ballet and opera performances, as well as trade fairs, conventions and seminars, are all part of the calendar at a congress centre of international stature. It is located opposite a Monaco landmark, the Villa Sauber, a magnificent Belle Époque building that retains all of its charm, and today houses the New National Museum of Monaco, a multi-site cultural institution that regularly organises temporary exhibitions.

Villa Sauber Monaco Monte-Carlo
Jardin Japonais Monaco

Mareterra: extension coming soon


The future eleventh district of Monaco, Le Portier, also known as Mareterra, will extend the Principality from 2025, by the Grimaldi Forum and the Japanese Garden on the seafront. Pine forests, villas, luxury residences and a new marina adorn these additional six hectares of land that took a decade to build. Good news for Pierre Frolla: “From Larvotto beach, the land will continue, extending the esplanade with many green spaces, which are and always have been Monaco’s strength.”

© Mareterra Monaco

Projet de construction à Monaco Mareterra
Jardin exotique Monaco

The start of the Larvotto promenade


After the Grimaldi Forum, the 330-metre long esplanade that gives the area its seaside charm begins. This walk along the beach offers breathtaking views of the sea:

“The architects of the buildings overlooking Larvotto have turned the architecture of the district towards the sea, favouring large bay windows,” says Pierre Frolla, looking up at the residences overlooking the esplanade. The Monegasque Marine Academy, fitness centre, playground... The Larvotto promenade begins with a series of small areas dedicated to sport.

Page Larvotto Monaco

Worth knowing: the Monegasque Marine Academy

Pierre Frolla Académie Monégasque de la Mer

Learning and protecting: The Monegasque Marine Academy


4,800 people visited the Monegasque Marine Academy last year. Teenagers come to learn the basics of swimming and diving (particularly Year 5 pupils from Monaco’s secondary schools), and are trained in water rescue. A privileged partner of the Monaco Oceanographic Museum, the Monegasque Marine Academy takes advantage of the peaceful nature of Larvotto beach and its access to the Larvotto underwater reserve.

Académie Monégasque de la Mer initiation

A beach open to the world


Orange trees, sand and a calm, waveless sea... Larvotto beach, now protected by two geotubes that prevent the surf from breaking, is an unspoilt wonderland. “From one week to the next, the beach changes with the weather,” explains Pierre Frolla, clearly in his element here. Seeing a whale calf or dolphins and swimming in the Mediterranean, just a few metres from the centre of Monaco, gives the beach its prestige and appeal.

Plage Larvotto Monaco

The Monaco Marine Reserve


Between Mareterra and the Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort, a water trail marks the boundary of the Monaco Marine Reserve. This vast protected area serves Larvotto beach and offers oceanographers and divers from the Academy some fine examples of Mediterranean flora and fauna, from starfish to cetaceans. In winter, the planktonic growth attracts “all the big marine predators that come to feed”, as Pierre Frolla, a great spectator of the aquatic ballet that takes place just a stone’s throw from the beach, attests.

Pierre Frolla Académie Monagasque de la Mer

A dynamic neighbourhood


“Bakeries, an ice-cream parlour, a spa, an upmarket homeware shop, a swimwear boutique...” As we stroll along the Larvotto esplanade, towards the peninsula, Pierre Frolla lists some of the shops that give the area its vibrancy. In addition to the restaurants “connected” to the beach, these spaces liven up the seafront and give the coastline the feel of a luxurious, modern seaside resort. “I like how Larvotto has evolved in recent years,” says Pierre Frolla as we reach the end.

“The neighbourhood is more uniform and better thought out than before.”
Plage Larvotto Monaco
Fontaine Hommage à la princesse Grace, œuvre de Guy Lartigue


Tribute to Princess Grace fountain by Guy Lartigue


At the start of the Larvotto peninsula, Place Josephine Baker marks the end of the promenade itself. The Tribute to Princess Grace fountain, by Guy Lartigue, was reinstalled in 2022 after three years of restoration. Originally created in 1969, this is the artist’s first sculpture in Monaco, where he also cast a “Sphere within Sphere” fountain, which has been in the Fontvieille district since 1986.

Le Sporting and the Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort as the ultimate stopover


At the end of your stroll through the Larvotto neighbourhood, you’ll come to two leisure spots popular with locals and tourists alike: Le Sporting and the Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort. The Larvotto peninsula is home to this complex dedicated to shows and concerts, next door to one of Monaco’s most famous hotels, known not only for its luxury, but also for its breathtaking views over the entire Larvotto beach.

Sporting Monaco vue exterieur

Things to see: the Saint Roman district

At the north of Larvotto lies the Saint-Roman district, also known as “La Rousse”. For Pierre Frolla, a walk through this area is a return to his roots: “this is where I grew up”. There are several marvels to be found here, starting with the old Florentine houses that stand in stark contrast to the modern buildings of Larvotto... “There are even some period staircases here... I recommend climbing them and going in search of the mandarin trees and old farmhouses in the area!” It’s an invitation to take a stroll, and one we’re sure you’ll want to follow! 

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