Monte Carlo is one of the 10 districts of the Principality of Monaco, almost synonymous with luxury and chic. It became so through the efforts of Prince Charles III Grimaldi, who in the middle of the 19th century decided to build a casino on the site of a sheep pasture on a hill. The idea turned out to be so successful that soon aristocrats from all over Europe rushed to the God-forgotten country – English lords, French counts and Russian grand dukes.
Note: according to allcitypopulation, the population of Monaco is 39,520 (2021).
The magnificent palace where the casino is located is still the epicenter of Monaco’s social life and a symbol of its wealth and prosperity. And although the high-rise buildings that appeared in the 1970s overly “Americanized” the urban landscape, Monte Carlo remains one of the most charming places in the Mediterranean. The best restaurants and the most expensive hotels of Monaco are concentrated here, almost all French haute couture houses have opened their boutiques in Monte Carlo, and the local glamorous parties are one of the most incendiary on the entire Cote d’Azur.
How to get to Monte Carlo
In a tiny principality, there was no place for its own airport. Its main air gate is the French airport Nice Côte d’Azur, 27 km from Monte Carlo.
From the airport to Monte Carlo
Helicopters from Heli Air Monaco (off. site in English) or Monacair (off. site) can quickly but costly get from Nice airport to Monaco. They fly from 8:30 to 20:00 with an interval of 15 minutes, travel time is 7 minutes, a one-way ticket costs 160 EUR. The Heliport de Monaco landing site is located in the Fontvieille region in the southwestern part of the Principality. The ticket price includes a free shuttle to any hotel in Monaco.
A taxi from the airport to Monte Carlo will cost 100 EUR, travel time in the absence of traffic jams is 30 minutes. The cheapest option is bus number 110 Nice Airport – Monaco – Menton, running from 6:15 to 19:15 with an interval of 1 hour. The journey takes about 50 minutes, tickets are sold by the driver.
It is convenient to travel directly from Nice to Monte Carlo by bus number 100 (from 5:50 to 20:00, departure from Place Garibaldi every 15-30 minutes), as well as by the regional train TER from the main station (from 5:30 to 23:30).
The SNCF line of French railways running along the coast connects Monte Carlo with the cities of the French and Italian Riviera – Marseille, Fréjus, Antibes, Cannes, San Remo and Genoa.
All 3 km of the railway passing through the principality, and the Monaco-Monte-Carlo railway station itself are hidden underground. The station has two exits; depending on the situation, follow the signs “Monaco-Ville” or “Monte-Carlo”.
By private car
The automobile route from Moscow to Monte Carlo with a length of 3250 km passes through Belarus, Poland, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and France. Some of the roads on the way are paid. Traffic jams on the highway around the Principality are quite common, all parking lots in Monte Carlo are paid and not cheap.
Monte Carlo Hotels
Hotels in Monte Carlo are divided into expensive and very expensive. A double room in the popular network “three-ruble note” Novotel costs 235 EUR per day during the season. In addition to a spacious room, guests receive quality service, a rooftop terrace with a swimming pool and free breakfast. For a room in 4 * hotels you need to pay 400 EUR. In addition to restaurants, they have spa and fitness centers, babysitting and concierge services, a free shuttle to the beach and discounts on the use of beach equipment, for example, in the La Spiaggia VIP area on Larvotto Beach.
The entire world beau monde visited the “fives” of Monte Carlo. First of all, this applies to the Hotel de Paris – one of the most famous in the world. Its exorbitant prices (from 625 EUR) are more than offset by antique interiors and unsurpassed services, including a private beach, preferential access to the Sea Baths and a private underground casino tunnel.
WI-Fi in hotels is free of charge, but a parking space costs 30-60 EUR per day.
Long-term visitors often choose apartments. The price for a tiny studio where you can cook your own food starts from 180 EUR, plus you will have to pay extra for the final cleaning upon departure.
City bus routes No. 1, 2 and 6 pass through Monte Carlo, which go to the railway station and other areas of Monaco. Modern comfortable transport runs from 7:00 to 21:00 exactly according to the schedule, which, along with the traffic scheme, is posted at each stop. A ticket for 1 trip or a day pass is purchased from the driver.
A free city lift connects the casino ‘s garden terrace with the Rainier III Auditorium on Boulevard Louis II.
A free taxi in Monte Carlo is a rarity. Usually they order it by phone, ask to call the porter of any hotel (for a small tip) or go to the nearest taxi rank – near the Hermitage and Metropole Monte-Carlo hotels and, of course, on Casino Square, where all free cars gather at night. The cost of a trip within the Principality is 15 EUR.
To the northeast of Monte Carlo, in the Larvotto area, there is the only public beach in Monaco, Larvotto Beach, with very small sand-like pebbles and a fairly smooth entry into the sea. However, the depth begins as early as 5 m from the shore. In the water, the beach area is fenced with a net from debris and jellyfish. The beach is crowded, but very clean and well maintained. There are free areas where you can sit on a towel, and paid areas with sun loungers, soft sun beds and umbrellas, such as Miami Plage, where it is good to relax with children and party Note Bleue with an unobtrusive jazz soundtrack. There are many pizzerias, cafes and beach restaurants on the beach, there are changing rooms, toilets, showers, volleyball and playgrounds.
Topless sunbathing is allowed on Larvotto Beach. Rent of two sun loungers and an umbrella – 35 EUR.
Following Larvotto Beach is the beach of the hotel Le Meridien Beach Plaza – a paradise with three pools and excellent service. Even further away is the beach of the Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel – glamorous, super-exclusive and very quiet. Vacationers here will be disturbed, perhaps, by the roar of the waves. The coast near the beach is rocky, swimming is possible only in the lagoon pool, from a wooden platform protruding into the sea or floating pontoons. Cabin tents are rented for a day (about 200 EUR) or for the whole season (10,000 EUR). The price varies depending on the season and the location of the tents themselves.
Nikki Beach is the only beach in the Monte Carlo area, located on the panoramic roof of the Fairmont Monte-Carlo hotel. Billionaires, racing drivers, top models and other celebrities can indulge in beach pleasures here away from prying eyes.
Spa and treatment
You can restore your nerves after visiting the casino or just treat yourself to pleasant and healthy procedures at the Monte Carlo Sea Thermae (off. site), which regularly occupy the top lines in the ratings of the best spa centers in Europe. The complex has several massage and treatment rooms, saunas, a Jacuzzi, a fitness room for cardio training and an indoor infinity pool of 325 square meters. m with heated sea water coming from a depth of 37 m, 400 m from the shore.
Underpass Marine thermae are connected to the hotels Hermitage and Hotel de Paris.
Depending on the wishes and individual indications, each guest is selected a personal program with a set of various procedures, including high-tech ones, such as cryolipolysis, radiofrequency lifting, microdermabrasion, mesoporation, etc. The procedures use Phytomer natural cosmetics based on marine extracts. The duration of the health programs “Rejuvenation”, “Slender figure”, “Potential stimulation”, “Wellness” 4 days is the optimal time to get a stable result.
The Sea Thermes L’Hirondelle restaurant is famous for its cuisine – super-dietary, but very refined. That is why it is loved by adherents of a healthy lifestyle.
Founded in 1987 with the support of Prince Rainier III, the Monaco Cardio-Thoracic Center (off. site) provides care for a wide range of problems with the heart, blood vessels and chest. The qualifications of its doctors and modern equipment make it possible to treat both adults and children with equal success, including performing heart transplant operations.
Shopping in Monte Carlo is an exciting, but very ruinous activity. This is easy to see in the shopping area “Golden Circle”, formed by the streets around Casino Square. The prices here are the highest in Monaco, and the buyers are from the category of people who have lost track of money. Among the showcases of Dior, Gucci, Louis Vuitton and other famous fashion houses, connoisseurs will also find a small jewelry boutique Fred (av. Beaux-Arts), where members of the Grimaldi princely family buy exclusive jewelry.
For those who are not ready to spend thousands of euros on jewelry, the Bijoux Cassio jewelry boutique (bv. Moulins, 10) offers copies of products from leading jewelry houses at a price two orders of magnitude lower than the original.
The largest shopping center in Monte Carlo Le Metropole (off. site) in the Hotel Metropole sheltered dozens of shops for wealthy customers within its walls. People come here for designer suits, evening dresses, exclusive shoes, beautiful lingerie, art, antiques, chic accessories, cosmetics and perfumes.
The best time for shopping in Monte-Carlo is the discount season from mid-January to mid-February and from late June to late August.
The most affordable souvenirs are copies of casino playing chips and things with Formula 1 attributes. For those who are looking for something exclusive, in the small La Boutique du Rocher (av. Madone, 1), opened by Princess Grace, there are miniature copies of ceramic buildings, interior decorations, bags, etc. Items are exclusively handmade are sold at very attractive prices, and all proceeds are transferred to the account of local charitable foundations.