On the Riviera Monegasque – or “Monaco Riviera” – the sun shines all year round, but in December, the famous Rocher sparkles that bit brighter thanks to all the festive magic in the air. We have plenty of ideas for what to do in Monaco in December. In this dreamy setting on the Mediterranean coast, you can share cozy Christmas moments with your family, take in top-class shows, dance to tracks spun by the best DJs, let the thrill of the Monte Carlo casinos take you over and much more besides. This guided tour shows you the places to visit and what to see there.
Uncover some princely Christmas gifts
As Christmas approaches, shopping is, of course, absolutely unmissable in Monaco in December. What better place than the international capital of glitz and glamour to find some exquisitely beautiful presents? The new, fully pedestrianized One Monte Carlo district is the ideal setting for high-class Christmas shopping. 20 or so great designers, including Louis Vuitton, Dior and Sonia Rykiel, have opened boutiques in Monte Carlo’s most luxurious Carré d’Or area, around the scenic Promenade Princesse Charlène. There are also plenty of other luxury stores to explore close by. As shopping experiences go, this one is truly unique! For your next retail adventure, head to the twinkling Métropole Shopping Center opposite the gardens of Monte Carlo Casino, or why not the Patio des Joailliers at the grand Hotel de Paris Monte Carlo? You will be enchanted by the surprises it has in store for you with the "Christmas Garden in the Patio" in December.
Experience the spirit of Christmas in Monaco
The second smallest country in the world looks particularly dazzling when it is sprinkled with festive magic. Take it in in all its splendor at its superbly illuminated iconic locations. Check out Casino Square’s endlessly glittering decorations and dreamlike hot air balloons, as well is the Hotel de Paris Monte-Carlo’s entrance hall, with its exquisite Christmas tree decked out by the luxury jewelers at Chopard. The traditional merry-go-round in front of the Thermes Marins Monte Carlo is a firm family favorite. If you are going out to Monaco’s old port, rediscover your inner child at the Monaco Christmas Village as you look out over the Mediterranean sea and Hercule harbor’s magnificent luxury yachts. Go for a spin on the big wheel and other rides, then take a stroll among the Christmas market’s chalets.
Be dazzled at Monaco’s great theaters and opera house
Light up your winter evenings this December at one of the Principality of Monaco’s shows. Celebrate world music, for example, at the Monte Carlo Jazz Festival’s closing concert. This major event in the music calendar is proud to have Prince Albert II of Monaco as its patron. On December 1st, the London African Gospel Choir will perform Paul Simon’s legendary Graceland album at the Opéra Garnier opera house. One to tick off your bucket list! On December 15th and 17th, head to the Rainier III auditorium and feel moved by Hector Berlioz’s masterpiece, La Damnation de Faust, performed here by the Opera de Monte Carlo to mark the 150th anniversary of the composer’s death. From December 27th, you can also check out the Ballets de Monte Carlo’s new show by choreographer-director Jean-Christophe Maillot. Coppel-i.A is a futuristic tale that blends together romance and artificial intelligence to question how human relationships might develop and change in years to come.
Treat yourself this festive season – or before, if you can’t wait!
You might be excited to know that one of the best things to do in Monaco in December is explore delicious creations by some of Monaco’s Michelin starred chefs. The festive holidays are the perfect time to savor amazing dishes in Monte Carlo Société des Bains de Mer’s restaurants. For example, why don’t you treat you and your family to a gourmet Christmas Eve in the luxury Hotel Hermitage Monte Carlo’s Belle Epoque room? Alternatively, sample the seafood, chestnut-garnished turkey and other traditional specialties at the Brasserie du Café de Paris de Monte Carlo or, on December 25th, share in the kind of Christmas buffet that only a palace (or “luxury hotel”) can offer, in the grand Hotel de Paris Monte-Carlo’s Empire room. But if you can’t wait for the festivities to treat yourself to a truly gourmet experience, Monaco’s top restaurants are open throughout December.
Party with your friends in Monte Carlo, Monaco
You can’t leave Monaco without partying under the stars on the Cote d’Azur’s seafront. Monaco’s December festivities are good enough to rival even its long summer season! Treat yourself to a night in a hotel and go out dancing with your friends. Come wintertime, the Blue Gin bar at the Monte Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort transforms into a mountain chalet with a heated covered terrace, but it really turns up the heat every Thursday in December for its Winter Parties. Alps-inspired après-ski fashion is de rigueur! The Friday and Saturday evening DJ sets also bring the party. For New Year’s Eve, choose between a chic, glamorous night out at the Monte Carlo Casino, the electro lounge atmosphere of the Buddha-Bar de Monte Carlo, and the buzzing atmosphere at Jimmy’z, Monaco’s legendary nightclub and hangout for the international jet set.
Where better to experience these delights than in a warm mountain chalet ambiance? Opening times: 1.30 pm to 1.30 am (7 days a week) from December 5th to January 5th only
Try your hand at the Principality’s casinos
End the year in style and bet the house in Monaco city’s casinos. The Principality’s four reputation-making destinations each have an irresistible magic. Check out the slot machines and the latest games at the Casino Café de Paris, get a taste of Las Vegas pizzazz at the Sun Casino or spin the roulette wheels at the Monte Carlo Bay Casino. Last but not least, you can even enjoy your very own 007 moment at the legendary Monte Carlo Casino. If you like a challenge, take part in the baccarat tournament on December 7th and you will be in with a shot at taking home the amazing €150,000 prize. Become a Monaco legend this December!
Get a little bit more Riviera sun
In December, Monaco’s average temperatures range from 48°F to 59°F, so there is usually enough sun to give the atmosphere a warm glow. Even though it isn’t sunbathing season, you can still spend plenty of time outdoors thanks to Monaco’s balmy Mediterranean climate. If you are looking for ideas for what to do in Monaco in December, some places to visit are the recently renovated Jardins des Boulingrins, for example, or walk along to the Petite Afrique hilltop garden to admire superb panoramic views over Monte Carlo Casino. If you need to get away from the buzz of Monaco city, step into the otherworldly zen setting of the Larvotto district’s Jardin Japonais. It was commissioned in the 1990s by Prince Rainier III and its design features rows of bamboo, a waterfall, bridge, tea house and koi carp pool. Make the most of Monaco’s beautiful December days to perfect your swing at the Monte Carlo Golf Club while taking in fabulous coastline views.
Are you planning a visit to the Principality near the South of France and the Italian Riviera at another time of year? Check out our suggestions for winter outings, things to see and activities in January and February.