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Monaco Monte Carlo Tourism - Casino, Monte Carlo
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Monaco Fast Facts

Capital : Monaco-Ville

Time Zone : GMT/UTC +1

Language(s) : French, Monégasque

Currency : Euro € info

Electricity : 220V 50HzHz

Country Dialing Code : 377


Monaco may be best known for the glitz, glamor and excessive wealth symbolized by the oversized yachts in the Monte Carlo harbor and the fortunes gambled away at the casinos.

The top designers have shops there and the most expensive cars are common in the streets... even when the annual Grand Prix is not in town. This is a playground of the rich and famous.

The reputation for opulence is something that the country cherishes. With a good part of the population employed in tourism and expensive real estate, the high rollers are welcomed and promised luxury in every aspect of their stay. From the perfect weather to the first class service in 5 star hotels, Monte Carlo has it all.

The often overlooked side of a visit to this tiny country on the Mediterranean coast is the history, culture and the ever present focus on the environment.

In 1297 the principality was acquired by a Genovese family, the house of Grimaldi. In 1793 Monaco was annexed by France and in 1815 it was made a protectorate of the kingdom of Sardinia. Monaco was restored as an independent state in 1861 under the guardianship of France. Monaco is the second smallest independent European country. The Vatican is the smallest.

A visit to the casinos is fun and exciting, but it is easy to spend a holiday in the princely state of Monaco skipping the casinos entirely and still come away with a camera full of breath taking shots of seacoast, sunsets and gardens.

Look past the yachts rocking softly in the harbor and wander (or take the affordable #2 bus) up the rock face to Monaco-Ville for a trip into the Musée océanographique et Aquarium. The experience is not to be missed. The museum sits on the top of the cliff, which means an astounding view from the outdoor terrace... but much of building is below sea level which adds to the wonder of the coral reefs and multi-colored fish swimming in immense tanks.

A visit to the neo-Romanesque Saint Nicholas Cathedral should be included in your itinerary. Built in 1875 from white stone, the magnificent Monaco Cathedral houses the tombs of former princes of the Garibaldi line and Princess Grace. Several important 16th-century paintings; the altar piece by French painter, Louis Brea; a wooden altar dating from the Spanish Renaissance; and an altar and episcopal throne of white Carrara marble are part of the religious art.

Entrance to the cathedral is free. Every Sunday from September through June, Les Petits Chanteurs de Monaco, a local children's choir, sing the Mass.

Cars - the most expensive and the fastest - are part of the history of Monaco. The first Grand Prix race on took place on April 14, 1929. The Monte-Carlo Historic Grand Prix is a retrospective of the golden age of car racing that takes place every other year on the famous track of Monaco using the same roads. Every year during the last weekend in May, the Principality of Monaco hosts the Monaco F1 Grand Prix, the only race in the world that is held on city streets.

Another international event, the Monte Carlo Master's Tennis Tournament takes place in Monaco every year in April. One of the oldest and most traditional tennis championships, the Monte Carlo tournament was first held in 1897.

Then there's the other-worldly beauty of Monaco's gardens. This area of the Riviera is well known for the beauty and abundance of flowers, but the gardens in Monaco stand out even in this company. The casino terraces and pocket park gardens throughout the country are just a foreshadowing of the spaces dedicated to showcasing the native and exotic plants, flowers, shrubs and trees.

Sample any of the many gardens for a relaxing and refreshing breather in your travel schedule...

  Monaco Monte Carlo Gardens
 
  • The Exotic Gardens

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  • The Japanese Gardens

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  • The Saint-Martin Gardens

  • For more relaxation, plan an afternoon trip to Larvatto Beach. Clean sand, warm Mediterranean waters and a very relaxed clothing code (topless is the norm for both men and women) make the Riviera experience unique. For an over the top get away, spend a bit of cash and rent a yacht for a luxurious sail in the waters off Monaco or take a helicopter ride to see the French and Italian Riviera, as well as the mountains that climb up from the sea, from a bird's eye view.

    Nice-Côte d'Azur International Airport is just a 30-minute drive from Monte Carlo. A taxi will cost about € 80 plus tip. Trains and buses run from Nice to Monte Carlo and are much less expensive... or you can splurge with a quick and exciting helicopter ride. Heli Air Monte Carlo takes about 10 minutes, cutting across the Mediterranean for an amazing introduction to the Riviera and the backdrop of the Alps.


    More about Monaco tourist attractions around the Web:

    Around the Web, discover more about the glamour and culture of Monaco, with top online guides offering tips on where to go and what to do with related photo galleries, travel video, and more reasons why a trip to Monaco should be on any European travelers must visit list:

    Visit Monaco - The official online presence of the Principality of Monaco and Monte Carlo has all the info on what to see and do during a visit and it's all set in a multilingual gem of a site..

    Monaco Monte-Carlo - Tourist Informations - Available in several languages, this site is chock full of information... and ads for pricey real estate! Be sure to check out the official Monaco Tourist Office guides (in PDF format) that you can download and print out.

    Monaco on a Budget - Is Monaco just for the super rich? Nope. Check out with these tips for getting the best for less on your visit to the country that has more millionaires per capita than any other country in the world.


    also see -> Italy Beach Guide | France Beach Guide

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