What to see and photograph in Monte Carlo, Monaco
Monaco is the second smallest country in the world. Reasons to take a day trip to Monte Carlo are;
- Add another country to your list
- Prince’s Palace of Monaco
- Saint Nicholas Cathedral
- Monte Carlo Casino
- Port Hercules
- See a piece of work by Gustave Eiffel
- See where the famous Monaco Grand Prix is held
- Watch AS Monaco play football in French Ligue 1
Prince’s Palace of Monaco
The Prince’s Palace is home of the Prince of Monaco. It was originally built as a fortress in 1191. Because of the history of being a fortress it is one of the most unique palaces in Europe. The royal family of Monaco have lived in this palace for over 700 years. It’s the only palace this royal family of Monaco have ever lived in. The reason for this is that Monaco is such a small country that there is no room to build more palaces.
Saint Nicholas Cathedral
The Saint Nicholas Cathedral is also known as the Monaco Cathedral. It’s located around the corner from the Prince’s Palace. Many members of the royal family of Monaco were buried here. One interesting tomb here is the tomb of Hollywood actress, Grace Kelly. Grace became famous for her movies in the 1950’s. She quit acting and married the prince of Monaco in 1956. Until her death in 1982 she was the princess of Monaco. Grace Kelly’s husband, Prince Rainier III, was more recently buried in the Monaco Cathedral. Prince Rainier III was one of the longest serving monarchs in history.
Perched on a cliff edge is the Oceanographic museum of Monaco. This is the where the Mediterranean Science Commission is based. The commission is a group of countries based around the Mediterranean. It’s worth paying the entrance fee just to enter such a unique Baroque style building. Everything you learn about marine science is a bonus! There’s an aquarium and examples of the royal families contribution to the research in there too.
For an Instagram worthy image you should try photographing this building from further along the cliff side. You will get a wonderful shot of a majestic building which looks dangerously placed on the cliff edge. Alternatively you could wait for a train shuttle to pass in front of it and photograph it (above).
Monte Carlo Casino
Arguably the most famous landmark in Monaco is the Monte Carlo Casino. You’ll see lots of tourist lined up outside taking selfies in front of the building and with the flash cars. The casino has featured in many movies including, Golden Eye, Never Say Never Again and Ocean’s Twelve. The casino does not have a hotel but is part of a chain which owns the most luxurious hotels in Monte Carlo. You may enter the casino but you must respect their dress code. Upon entry your ID will be checked, this is because citizens of Monaco are forbidden to enter the gambling rooms.
See a piece of work by Gustave Eiffel
In the Eiffel lobby of the Hotel Hermitage you’ll see the Eiffel cupola. In complete contrast to the cupola on the Nice Observatory, this is one of his more majestic pieces. It’s made of glass and steel and of Art Nouveau style. The cupola is signed by Gustave Eiffel himself. You could stay in a good hotel in Nice for a week for the price of one night in the Hotel Hermitage. You are welcome to walk in to view and photograph the Eiffel cupola but must respect the guests and dress code.
Port Hercules is more commonly known as Monaco harbor. On Port Hercules you’ll see where the rich and famous moor their yachts. Some of the private yachts you see could be easily mistaken for cruise ships! The harbor is lined with bars and restaurants. If you visit during October / November there is Monaco fair around the harbor. This is perfect for those traveling to Monte Carlo, Monaco with kids. You may recognize the harbor from the James Bond movie, Golden Eye. It’s also famous from the Monaco grand prix.
Monaco Grand Prix
For 2 weekends each year in May, Monaco is turned into a grand prix circuit. It’s probably the most famous street race in the world. The Monaco grand prix is the most difficult race on the circuit. It has the fastest and slowest turns, as well as the famous tunnel (above). The tunnel runs under the famous Fairmont Casino Hotel. The Monaco grand prix has been running regularly since 1929. Many famous drivers have raced the circuit. Famous drivers to have won here are, Jackie Stewart, Graham Hill, Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton.
Watch a Football Match
AS Monaco is one of the best teams in the French Ligue 1. The stadium is rarely full so it’s easy and cheap to enjoy a matchday experience. The stadium also hosts athletics events. The Diamond League has an annual meet here. You can also take a stadium tour of the Stade Louis II during the summer months.
How to get to Monte Carlo, Monaco from Nice
From Nice Ville train station you can take a direct train to Monte Carlo, Monaco. The cost for a return ticket is less than €8. Tickets can be bought from the automatic ticket machines which are located in the train station. The journey time between the cities is less than 30 minutes. Trains run every 30 minutes.