It’s time for the Côte d’Azur, as it always should be in my opinion. In this part of our series on this area of the world, we explore three things to do in the principality of Monaco, part of the Côte d’Azur in the South of France and the furthest point of this well-loved coastal strip. You’ll know it as the land of the super rich, glitterati, James Bond-ville, and yachts, but there is a surprising amount to do outside of this for such a small place. Although every other person on the street might be sporting a $500 polo shirt, and $5000 watch and a pair of Tom Ford sunglasses, it’s not as ostentatious a place as you might imagine.
Take a gamble
The inspiration behind Ian Flemming’s Bond novel, Casino Royale, Monaco’s casino is a place where you can experience the excitement of the roulette wheel and blackjack table with the delicious dishes of its adjacent restaurant, L’Hirondelle. We kept it simple for lunch and enjoyed a traditional croque moisseur, or French version of the humble ham and cheese toastie and followed it up with a slice of lemon cheesecake – bliss!
Watch the Greatest Race on Earth
The Monte Carlo Grand Prix is regarded as being amongst the most prestigious races in the world and has been held annually since 1929. The racecourse winds through the streets of the city, with drivers coping with the challenges of narrow corners, steep hills and sheer drops. Travelling to Monte Carlo during the Grand Prix has, like its infamous tracks, its ups and downs, where the endless, maddening buzz of the F1 cars is reflected in the friendly buzz and bustle of the city. The city attempts to board round the race (even at view points) as its tickets are expensive, but we climbed a little higher and were rewarded by a stunning panorama over Port Hercule to follow the cars as they passed by.
Relax with the Yachts at Port Hercule
A natural port used as far back as Greek and Roman times, Port Hercule was reconstructed over a period of 25 years in the early 1900s and is now home to a great number of visiting yachts, crucial for attracting tourists into the principality. During our trip, we managed to spot our sporting F1 heroes, as the Grand Prix racecourse runs around the port. Even when the grand prix is not in town, you’re likely to spot the odd celebrity, and even if that’s not your thing, relaxing in a café and people watching is endlessly entertainling.