Situated along France’s gleaming Mediterranean coastline, the principality of Monaco is perhaps the epitome of the good life. Whether it’s the yacht-lined harbor, classic Monte-Carlo Casino or unbeatable blend of luxe hotels, restaurants and nightclubs, this tiny independent city-state is universally recognized as a playground for hedonists, billionaires and A-listers alike. No matter what you’re looking for, there’s nothing short of over-the-top glamour in Monaco, making it one of Europe’s most legendary destinations. With the prestigious Formula One Grand Prix right around the corner, here’s a complete breakdown of how to enjoy Monaco.
Where to Stay
It’s nearly impossible to conjure up a picture of Monaco without thinking about the number of iconic hotels immersed in luxury, yet Hôtel de Paris may be the grandiose of them all. Located within the very heart of Casino Square, this landmark hotel is an ode to the Belle Époque period with its striking architecture and interior extravaganza. Regularly playing host to the rich and famous, the 207 elegant suites offers white and cream-colored interiors that are matched with precious wood and marble elements. The rooms are spacious and feature simple lines and precious materials, designed so that guests can feel calm and refined throughout the stay, whereas exquisite Mediterranean harbor views make for a wonderful sight. Gastronomy is one of the strong suits at the Hôtel de Paris, featuring a 3-Michelin star restaurant that serves cuisine inspired by the French Riviera, while Le Bar Américain boasts a sophisticated jazz atmosphere that’s perfect for evening drinks and conversations long into the night. When it’s time to relax and unwind, the hotel offers a thermal spa and private beach resort complete with striped cabins and sun loungers–with both having no shortage of over-the-top decadence. Be sure to check out our Luxury Hotel Guide to Monaco for the complete low-down on recommended accommodation during your stay.
Where to Dine
While there’s certainly no shortage of fine dining along the French Riviera, Monaco stands out as a place that knows how to celebrate food like no other. Located in the famous Hotel Metropole, Joël Robuchon Monte-Carlo puts forth an elegant menu that consists of Mediterranean-inspired cuisine, delicate flavors and fresh local ingredients. Designed by Jacques Garcia, the beautiful restaurant features an open-style kitchen that invites a sense of intimacy, as well as a bright space that takes full advantage of the picture-perfect surroundings of the sea and city. This is taken to new heights on the superb terrace that offers a view of Monte-Carlo like no other place in Monaco. Executive Chef Christophe Cussac and his team prepare all the courses that are complemented by an impressive wine selection and graceful service that certainly lives up to its two Michelin stars. Don’t forget to check out our Restaurant Guide to Monaco for a complete breakdown of the top fine dining experiences in the city.
What to Do
When it comes to famous sites, it’s hard to top Monaco. Whether you consider yourself a high-roller or not, the iconic Monte-Carlo casino is an absolute must-see during any visit to Monaco. The legendary casino is decked out in lavish marble and gold, while it’s hard not to marvel over the fascinating display of Belle Époque architecture. Elsewhere, Monaco Ville, also known as Le Rocher, is the only part of Monaco that’s retained its original Old Town. Trek through the narrow cobblestone streets that wind upwards on a pistol-shaped rock, its strategic location overlooking the sea that became the stronghold of the Grimaldi dynasty. At the top, you’ll find a 13th-century fortress complex that once housed the Grimaldi family. Protected by blue-helmeted, white-socked Carabiniers du Prince, the changing of the guard takes place daily at 11:55am.
When it’s time for some rest and relaxation, Monaco boasts a lovely beach season that lasts from May through October. The fabulous weather means that these months are characterized by lots of sun, blue skies and little rain, whereas the exquisite seascapes offer the deep blues of the Mediterranean. Kicking off for four days at the end of May, the annual Formula One Grand Prix is when the streets of Monaco are transformed into a mythical circuit that attracts automobile enthusiasts from around the world. Every street in town is closed for the race and the focus is fixed on the prestigious race, with the many elevation changes and tight corners as well as a tunnel making for one of the most demanding tracks in the world. During the event, Monaco boasts an atmosphere that’s even more sophisticated, opulent and exciting than normal.
What to Wear
If there’s one place in Europe where you’ll want to bring your A-game when it comes to style, it’s the Côte d’Azur. From May through October, Monaco is characterized for its endless sunshine, vast blue skies and seaside glamour. Whether you find yourself cruising along the harbor or actually onboard a superyacht, a trusty pair of shades in an absolute essential. These Alexander McQueen Cat-Eye Acetate Sunglasses feature a rounded cat-eye silhouette with gold-tone stud accents and tinted lenses. Not only will they provide you with an elegant yet simple look, but they’ll provide the practical protection to carry you through sightseeing, al fresco dining and, of course, the Formula One Grand Prix. What’s more is that in a place of ultra glamour, the watch is one of the few ways that you can truly distinguish yourself from the rest. We’re looking towards the Rolex Submariner, as its iconic design, robust functionality and beautiful simplicity will make a strong statement in itself and complement just about anything. Check out our Style Sheet for Monaco for a complete breakdown of what you need to pack ahead of your trip.