Beyond the Basics in Monaco

Beyond the Basics in Monaco

After working in #Monaco a few years, I can now recommend some of my favourite #restaurants, places to be; which includes where to watch the #ballet, travel tips and more. Treat yourself to a long #weekend in Monaco.


Monaco is a small country, which is 0.8 square miles (1.95 square kilometers) in size, making it the smallest state in the world after the Vatican City. French is its official language, but due to its location and international population, English and Italian are often widely spoken too.

Monaco can be quite daunting the first time you go. The first few times I went, I browsed, treated myself to an ice-cream at the Café de Paris and people watched. 

When you go to Monaco for an interview, it is a different kettle of fish altogether. On a map, one street can appear a couple of minutes walk from the next, and it is, IF you know where the shortcuts are. Monaco is a complex maze of winding streets, mazes and hidden lifts, fascinating if you're exploring, frustrating if you have to get somewhere (especially if you snap a heel and have to fix it just before an interview, spoken with experience).

Monaco is a complex maze of winding streets, mazes and hidden lifts

But now I have been in the area a little longer, I can finally give you a few more recommendations.

Trying to find a shortcut
Trying to find a shortcut

Day Trip Itinerary

Firstly, head uphill for people watching and car spotting; head to Casino Square and treat yourself to an ice cream at the Café de Paris. For those of you who are feeling lucky, then head for the Monte Carlo Casino (who recognizes it from Never Say Never?).

Then head to the top of Le Rocher to see the Palais des Princes, protected by cannons and guards, before heading over to the small port of Fontvieille for lunch, then wander back round in time for an aperitif in Port Hercule.

Monte Carlo is a mix of a glamorous Hitchcock set, shaken not stirred, combined with the best of Q's James Bond wheels. 

If you are here for longer, then please see below for further ideas.

Restaurants and Bars

After working in Monaco a couple of years, I am finally getting to know it a bit better, and that includes its restaurants. When fed up of my tupperware lunches, here are some of my favourite restaurants.

Mozza, one of my favourite restaurants  
Mozza, one of my favourite restaurants  

Mozza - 11 Rue du Portier, 98000 Monaco

This authentic Italian style bistro is perfectly placed if you have been to the Grimaldi Forum beforehand. The Grimaldi Forum often hosts art expositions, concerts, events and more.

Constantine - 34 Quai Jean-Charles Rey, 98000 Monaco

My favourite restaurant for a healthy lunch with the ladies, as well as being reasonably priced.

BeefBar - 42 Quai Jean-Charles Rey, 98000 Monaco

They have the best steak. Their fries and purees are delicious too.

La Saliere - 28 Quai Jean-Charles Rey, 98000 Monaco

Italian cuisine, and the best value for money in Monaco.

The Brasserie de Monaco 36 Route de la Piscine, 98000 Monaco

A trendy beer bar, serving an amazing selection of their own award winning rich organic ales and lager. They serve food and bar snacks too.

For Formula One fans, Rascasse corner is a must.

Route de la Piscine
Route de la Piscine

Buddha Bar - Place du Casino, 98000 Monaco

Exotic, and quite expensive. If you're a tourist and want see some of the real Monagasque, then you should come for a cocktail or two.  

Hotel

Novotel Monte Carlo - 16 Boulevard Princesse Charlotte, 98000 Monaco

3 minutes walk from the train station (top exit).

If you want to do Monaco properly and treat yourself, then the best value for money is the Novotel. I stayed here for work in March 2014; the food and service were amazing, and the view was fantastic. Unfortunately it was too cold to check out their pool. 

They also have great facilities for business meetings and conferences should you require them.

from  $169.38

Hotel Novotel Monte Carlo

 16 Bld Princesse Charlotte, Monte-Carlo, Monaco
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Architecture

There is also a fascinating mixture of architecture, here is my sketch of a few styles, can you recognize any of them?

My version of Monaco Architecture
My version of Monaco Architecture

Museums

Musée Oceanographique - Avenue St-Martin 

Shame on me, I still have not visited yet. According to my friends it is fun, informative and very impressive. It was founded by Prince Albert I, a keen oceanographer and features maps of the ocean floor, weird specimens a shark tank, a whale skeleton, hundreds of corals and more.

Ballet

Place du Casino, 98000 Monaco

I was also lucky enough this year to go to and see Cinderella. The room itself is worth a visit, it is gorgeous. The ballet, decor, set, everything was amazing, I hope to return soon.

For further information, click here; Schedule

(I do not envie the person who has to change the lightbulbs on the massive chandelier!)

Orchestra

I also went to see the Philarmonique orchestra in the Prince's Palace. A gorgeous setting and an amazing open-air concert.

For further information; Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo

Travel Tips

Monaco shares the French rail system, and is therefore also subject to monthly train strikes, see further info here. Monaco train station also has several exits which will take you to very different parts of town which can be very confusing the first few times.

Train - SNCF; TER, 20mins from Nice.

Bus - 100 (4 per hour), 60mins from Nice.

Grand Prix preparation
Grand Prix preparation

Note: When the Grand Prix is on in March, many of roads are closed too, and it suddenly comes alive. You can also buy tickets to one of the trial days, which is a loud exciting experience, a must if you are in Monaco in March.

Look out for Monaco's public holidays too (National Day; 19 November, which celebrates its independence as a principality), as they sometimes put on stunning firework displays. For further ideas, check out their tourist board.

Other Ideas

For my other recommendations of things to do in the region, check out:

Relaxing on the Riviera

Active on the Riviera

Active in the Mountains

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