A day in Monte-Carlo, Monaco
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by Chloe Green (@SharedBucketList)
Glamorous, classy and oozing with opulence, Monaco's Monte-Carlo meets all the criteria of the well-known French saying, 'je ne sais quoi'. It is a setting, fit for a James Bond film (which probably explains why it was featured in both Golden Eye, 1995, and Never Say Never Again, 1983).
We decided to visit this prestigious resort for a day trip, traveling via train from Nice, France. Below are our top tips, based on the experience we had, and an overview of what you can expect from this luxurious destination:
The grand Casino de Monte-Carlo
When in Monaco, you simply have to visit the infamous casino of Monte Carlo - even if you aren't a Bond fan, you'll be impressed by the grandeur of the building itself and its affluent surroundings. Expect supercars, designer brands, hotels and restaurants of the finest standards, all dotted along the vast esplanade. The casino is preceded by a set of steps, creating an elegant entrance and enabling all visitors to feel like royalty. Unlike royalty, however, you will be searched upon entry and will need to bear the following in mind before you arrive:
Dress appropriately; unless you are going very early (in which case, you will only be allowed in the atrium if not considered 'too casual'), smart attire is mandatory in most parts of the casino. To prevent any risk of being turned away, avoid flip-flops, sandals, trainers ripped jeans, etc.
Take some form of ID with you (passport/driving licence) - you won't be permitted beyond the atrium without it
There is a charge of 17 euros per person to enter the gaming rooms. Alternatively, the atrium is free and very charming
If you think you've seen large boats before, think again. The ports of Monaco (including Port Hercule, the only deep-water port) boast some of the most expensive and expansive yachts in the world. But don't let those intimidate you! We were pleasantly surprised to discover that the prices of refreshments weren't as high as we had anticipated. That isn't to say they were cheap, though. Cocktails on the front of the port cost around 15 euros - not too dissimilar from what you would expect to pay in most capital cities.
Musée océanographique de Monaco
Take a short stroll around Port Hercule (see above) and you will soon come across a coastal path which leads up to the Musée océanographique de Monaco, one of the oldest aquariums in the world. We didn't go in the museum during our visit but it seemed very popular. If you're in Monaco for a full day, there's definitely time to check it out!
Side note: along the route to the aquarium, there are some lovely spots to admire views of both the port and the Côte d'Azur. It was quieter walking this way, too.
Prince's Palace of Monaco
Keep walking beyond the aquarium and its surrounding gardens and you will find yourself among an array of cafes, situated just before the Prince's Palace. This is a great opportunity to grab some lunch before taking in the majestic ambience of the palace and watching The Changing of the Guard. There is also a slope which leads directly back to the main port, meaning you don't have to go back the way you came.
How to take the train from Nice to Monte-Carlo
This really couldn't be easier! We used Rail Europe for our transport. For full details of our train journey to and from Monte-Carlo, check out our simple guide here. Our top tip is to get to the train station early due to the queues!
Whatever entices you to visit this beautiful district, trust us when we say you won't regret it. C'est fantastique!
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