Ah…Monte Carlo…where the Billionaire’s playground is smaller than NYC’s Central Park yet packed with places to channel your inner James Bond. Where residents have the highest life expectancy in the world, citizens are not allowed to gamble, no one pays income tax and there is one policeman per 100 residents. There is also 24 hour video surveillance almost everywhere making it one of the safest places on the planet. There is no airport, even private planes arrive in nearby Nice, take a helicopter instead.. one lands every 20 minutes during the season. A few musts:
Casino de Monte-Carlo
As the rest of Europe was banning gambling this Belle Epoche Palace was going up… the Casino saved this small country’s finances. Until recently profits covered the cost of the government, now tourism and banking help; no one pays taxes. You won’t see Prince Albert, even the Royal Family is not allowed into the gaming rooms, but glam rules. Jackets & ties are a must after 8 but why not go full out and wear a tux! Bond always did. The largest win was over a million dollars by an unknown Italian gent playing roulette
La Note Bleue
Their new water misting system makes sure you never get to hot so rent a lounger and umbrella for the day, sip Rose, have a nibble and enjoy the best located beach club in the city. Make sure to stay for the live jazz concerts Wednesday thru Sunday nights… pure magic!
Formula 1 Grand Prix Monaco
An at least once in a lifetime sporting event, the Monaco race is the most glamourous of the Formula one circuit. It is also one of the oldest and most dangerous races. First held in 1929 the track is uniquely challenging. In order to qualify a race must be held entirely within it country. In such a small place this results in a track which passes through a tunnel, narrows dramatically in spots and has very sharp turns. It will be held May 20 to 23 in 2021. Buying individual daily tickets allows watching the race from different vantage points. Grandstand B is renowned for excitement while viewing from a yacht ups the lux factor.
Le Bar American, Hotel de Paris
Don’t worry, not packed with Americans but full of style…Great Gatsby meets leather club chair. Expect live music, tons of atmosphere and the most amazing signature cocktails which change with the seasons. If it’s on the menu try The Divine Celebration cocktail, made with . meringue, gin, limoncello, orange, grapefruit and lemon juice. It was created by Florian Pomaret to mark the 150th anniversary of the Hotel, Princess Grace’s favorite venue. Rumour has it Prince Albert pops by for a drink now and then!
Collection of Voitures Ancienne
Prince Rainier III began collection in the late 50’s eventually overwhelming his garage space. By 1993 he decided to put the nearly 100 cars on display for the public opening this specially designed 5 floor museum. Albert II shares his father’s passion and has refined the collection. The cars range from a De Dion Bouton to a 2013 Lotus F1 and include the Bugatti Type 35 that was driven by Willan Grover-Williams when he won the first Monaco Grand Prix in 1929. An axel addict’s dream.
Opera Garnier de Monte-Carlo
Opened in 1879 with a performance by Sarah Bernhardt dressed as a nymph it has been a draw for opera’s greats ever since. Built to add a bit of culture to the community, this over the top ornate space with divine acoustics is a fairy-tale place to see a performance. If opera isn’t your thing, look for stars like Patti Smith, Jane Birkin & Lana del Rey or attend the annual Jazz Festival.