Monaco is officially called the Principality of Monaco. It’s a sovereign city-state and microstate, located in the French Riviera in Western Europe. Next to France, Monaco also borders the Mediterranean Sea. It’s the second smallest and the most densely populated country in the world. We visited the state in a couple of hours. I think in two or three hours we saw the bigger part of the state :-). Yes, that’s how small it is.
The most popular area of Monte Carlo, where you can find the Monte Carlo Casino. We didn’t went inside the casino, but the building itself – and the cars in front of it – give plenty to look at. Next to the casino you can find the Hôtel de Paris, one of the most exclusive hotels in the world. The exclusiveness of the neighborhood gets lost by the hordes of tourist that are standing in front of the buildings to shoot pictures – mostly of the cars. Near the casino there are also some nice gardens to walk around.
La Condamine (the harbor) of Monaco is also worth a visit. It’s known for its super yachts and luxury cruise ships. You can easily walk along the harbor and look your eyes out.
After all the glamour and glitter, it was time for some royalties! We went up to the Palace of the Prince of Monaco. If you’re lucky enough, you can see the changing of the guards here. Not so far from the Palace you can find the Cathedral Saint-Nicolas, which is built in a Roman-Byzantine style. Inside the cathedral you can find the tombs of the princes of Monaco and their spouses. For example the grave of Grace Kelly can be found here as well.
There’s an annual Monaco Grand Prix as well, a Formula One street circuit. The street race is held since 1929 and is widely considered to be one of the most prestigious automobile races in the world.
We ended our stay in Monaco with a visit to the Jardin Exotique and the Japanese Garden, really nice pieces of nature inside the city. Here you can find some peace and quiet, before returning to France.
It’s a small state. A really small state. But we enjoyed spending our time here. It’s really worth the trouble.