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By Chris | May 5 2007
While the image of Monaco might not present itself as a sporty or cultural destination, don’t be fooled: below is a collection of world renowned museums, beautiful citadels and competitive sports grounds.
But don’t confine yourself to Monaco, beyond its non-existent borders there is the whole French and Italian Riviera to explore.
The Royal Palace is the backbone of Monaco’s fascinating history and for part of the year, between April 2nd and October 31st, the State Apartments are open to provide an intriguing insight into this history.
Built in the style of Louis XIV, it is one of the most luxurious Royal Palaces in history. Galleries are adorned with frescoes attributed to Francesco Mazzuchelli and Orazio Ferrari and canvases by Breughel and Mignard. The Throne Room is perhaps the most dramatic of them all, with more frescos from Ferrari and, of course, the throne itself that is the center of all official ceremonies. Ask your concierge about summer concerts held in the Royal Courtyard, undoubtedly the finest way to see the Palace.
+377 9325 1831
Although not technically in the Principality, located 6 miles north of Monaco, Monte Carlo Golf Club boasts some of the finest views of its namesake.
This 18 hole course is positioned high on the limestone hills that make the Riviera so dramatic. Wandering amongst its fairways and greens you are spoiled for views across the Cap Martin and Monte Carlo 3,000 feet below. The course itself is unique, the topography making for exciting and challenging play, after which you can relax in the clubhouse restaurant.
+33 4 9241 5070
Route du Mont Agel, La Turbie
The thousand-year-old Eze Village clings, almost impossibly, to a hilltop 1,300 feet above the Côte d’Azur.
Although not in Monaco itself, it is a smart day trip from the crowded principality. Have your concierge arrange a car or chauffeur to take you on the 20-minute drive up the steep roads. The village itself is too narrow for cars, so explore these charming cobbled streets on foot before dining at one of the village’s fine restaurants. In Eze Village you are spoiled for Michelin-choice, there is the one starred Restaurant Château Eza and the two starred Château de la Chèvre d’Or. Whichever one you choose, the beautifully prepared modern Mediterranean cuisine combined with those astonishing views across the Côte d’Azur, Cap Ferrat and Cap Martin will remain a treasured memory.
You go to Monte Carlo Country Club for the tennis: with 21 courts opening onto the sea it is one of the finest locations to play or watch one of the many anticipated events such as the annual Tennis Masters Series of Monte Carlo.
Last year Spain’s Rafael Nadal won an Open Era record sixth successive title at Monte Carlo Country Club while other tennis stars such as Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer have also played here. This year’s event is 9 – 17 April. It is just a stone’s throw from the Monte Carlo Beach Hotel and Beach Club making it very convenient for a brief game in the cool of day or under floodlights during the evening.
The glamour of 1930s Monaco has shown no signs of ageing on the Monte Carlo Beach Club, not since its recent refurbishment preserving all of the 30s style while upgrading it to five-star luxury.
The Olympic sized heated outdoor pool, sea pier and stripy tents epitomize fashions gone-by, yet the Vigie tapas restaurant and the trendy Sea Lounge allows The Beach Club to meet the high expectations of today’s Elite Travelers. Days spent here can range from gentle sunbathing and light lunches to a variety of fast water sports and lively soirées held at the Sea Lounge.
+377 9806 5246
Avenue Princesse Grace, Roquebrune Cap Martin
Though few realize it, this corner of Europe contains some of the earliest traces of human settlement on the continent.
The Museum of Prehistoric Anthropology pays homage to this; located within the Exotic Gardens the exhibit follows major steps in the history of humanity, from the Australopithecus to Homo Sapiens and on to the Paleolithic, Neolithic and Bronze Age civilizations. Artifacts and fossils provide captivating illustrations of these evolutions that are bound to intrigue everyone from anthropologists to inquisitive families.
The Oceanographic Museum is Monaco’s finest museum and principle cultural attraction.
The grandest setting you will ever find for an Oceanographic Museum, housed on the Rock of Monaco, it straddles the cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean. Inside, the renowned ethnographic collection is housed in fabulous old glass cases, while in the basement a modern aquarium is home to some bizarre and fascinating species. Still a world famous research institution, the displays are ever changing according to the frontiers of science so, although routed in time, the displays here are also as modern as you can get.
General Manager: Patrick Maute
+377 9315 3600
Avenue Saint-Martin, Monaco Ville
Perched right on the edge of Monaco’s dramatic limestone cliffs, this extraordinary garden is home to a staggering number of rare and colorful plants.
It overlooks Monaco’s old town and the Port de Fontvieille 600 meters below, making it a pleasurable spot to wander amongst these peculiar species. The Observatory Cave at the base of the Garden’s cliff is an underground cavity. Vast and entreating, it is sculpted with stalactites and stalagmites, beautifully lit and easily accessed making it a perfect curiosity for all the family. The remains of prehistoric humans have been found here, perhaps some of the earliest human settlers to arrive in Europe.
Monaco’s principle exhibition center, the Grimaldi Forum hosts concerts, exhibitions and ballet throughout the year.
It often hosts the Monte Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra’s larger concerts and the annual Art Monaco art exhibition is a yearly favorite attracting critics and admirers of contemporary art from far and wide. Now in its fourth year, Art Monaco’11 runs between March 31st until April 3rd and promises to be as big a hit as last year when the works of Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso and John Nicholson were displayed alongside modern and contemporary canvases and sculptures.
Director of Cultural Events: Catherine Alestchenkoff
+377 9999 2019
10 Avenue Princess Grace