Monte Carlo…the mere name invokes images of jet-setting sophistication, glamour and all things chic.
Nestled between France and the foothills of the Alps Maritimes mountains, the world’s second smallest country is set against a backdrop of yachts, Rolls-Royces, casinos and palaces. It’s easy to see why this tiny principality (only two miles long) is often known as the “international capital of luxury.” And speaking of backdrops, Seven Seas Explorer, the world’s most luxurious ship, was officially welcomed to the Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ fleet in a glamorous gala christening ceremony in Monte Carlo on July 2016.
Historically, Monte Carlo exudes Old World charm. The sun-kissed Mediterranean port is home to the royal family (that would be the Grimaldis who have ruled since 1297) as well as the late Princess Grace a.k.a. Grace Kelly. Royal aficionados will enjoy visiting the state apartments (open March through October) and the courtyards of the Palais du Prince that are located in the city’s old quarter of Monaco-Ville. Built in 1911 by wealthy Genovese merchants and designed in the style of Louis XIV, the crème colored palace remains both the home and working headquarters for Prince Albert of Monaco. Be sure to catch the changing of the guard that occurs daily at 11:55 a.m. Fans of the late actress-turned-Princess will also want to see the Monaco Cathedral where she married Prince Rainer as well as her grave.
If it’s action you are looking for, Monte Carlo is famously known for its nightlife where gaming is the order of the evening. Designed by architect Charles Garnier, the Beaux-Arts style Casino de Monte-Carlo features everything from European and English roulette to Punto Banco and Baccara. The entertainment complex also houses the Grand Theatre for opera and Les Ballets de Monte Carlo. Monte Carlo is also home to the prestigious Grand Prix Formula One races. Held yearly in the month of May, the best of the best have raced 78 laps down narrow streets, turn tight corners and face hair-raising curves since its inception in 1955.
Monte Carlo has enjoyed many a cinematic travelogue moments as well, from the harrowing chase scene in the Alfred Hitchcock’s 1954 Cary Grant/Grace Kelly caper To Catch A Thief to the Bond films Goldeneye and Never Say Never Again.
Visit this enchanting city on an all-inclusive Mediterraneanvoyage this summer. The moderate Mediterranean climate (75 degrees is the high temperature in August) ensures it’s always a good time to holiday in Monte Carlo!