Sailing, eating and drinking spots around the French Riviera
Monaco, a tiny sovereign state on the French Riviera, has a reputation for being one of the richest per-capita places on earth. It has a size of less than 2km squared, yet a population of over 36,000, making it the most densely populated place on earth.
And what a unique population – so many millionaires, off-shore bankers, formula one stars, princes and pop stars. Monaco is a party spot, a state known more for its casinos, Grand Prix and huge yacht fairs and portside parties than for any political or economic activity.
Which is perhaps why the world’s yachting elite warm to it so readily, and why it continues to sustain the globe’s wealthiest revelers and their hunger for luxury and decadence. Monaco is home to several yacht shows through the year, the majority clustering around the autumn period, as the summer weather cools off a little.
However, there are plenty of opportunities to stop into the area by sea if you are travelling at other times of the year. Yacht and boat fans will want to stop in at registered and respected designers such as Monte Carlo Yachts for a look at the latest in luxury boat design.
NetJets Europe (www.netjetseurope.com) customers flying in privately can also be chauffeured direct to the port should they want to catch a glimpse of the sun setting over the various multi-million dollar seaward properties bobbing on the water. Seaside dining and drinking is also a top Monaco past-time, and ideal for further scouting the yachts you love.
The best places to eat and drink are in the many luxury 5* hotels dotted along the beaches, especially in Monte Carlo, the most fun-loving part of Monaco. Take your pick from the shining white pillars along the coastline.
The Hermitage has a private beach and Le Vistamar restaurant offers a very special ‘gourmand’ menu for dinner which will sate even the largest of appetites, and give a taste of some of the region’s best produce, alongside special items from around the world.
If you are in Monte Carlo and are breath taken by its bracketing between medieval French villages and hills and the glitz and glamour of its casino, then perhaps a night of culture is necessary. Take in the opera or ballet or wander the Japanese Gardens during the day.
Only a few kilometers from Italy, Monte Carlo also shows off its Italian pedigree in its cuisine – Lo Sifzio on Rue du Portier is a more intimate dining affair than the big hotel restaurants, tucked away and more low-key, though infinitely stylish. Here you will get some top-class Italian fare and an absolutely excellent tiramisu, whose reputation seems to have made it onto the most vocal of review websites and travellers’ forums. A great spot for a quiet romantic dinner or a slightly more laid-back meal amongst friends, looking to get away from the brashness for a while.