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Monaco – there’s more to it than meets the eye

Monaco is arguably the most famous principality. It conjures up images of glitz, glamour, expensive yachts, casinos, supercars and the super-rich. Whether you’re part of the elite or someone wanting to experience what it’s like to live life like the rich and famous, Monaco has something for everyone.

Despite its size, the Principality is a host of several international sporting events, from the Formula One Monaco Grand Prixto the European Poker Tour. Monaco is a country full of high rollers, but what is there to do away from the casinos and race track?

Prince’s Palace

Prince-Palace-Monaco

The official residence of Monaco’s Sovereign Prince, the Prince’s Palace was built in 1191. This grand building fits its surroundings perfectly, just as you’d expect of the house of a prince. The Changing of the Guard ceremony takes place daily at 11:55 am, attracting thousands of visitors daily. If crowds aren’t for you, a visit to the Prince’s Palace in the evening will provide better opportunities for taking photos without unwanted extras in the background.

Japanese Garden

It’s not something you’d imagine when you picture Monaco, but the Japanese garden is a beautiful, picturesque area that contrasts quite significantly against Monaco’s glitzy sports cars and super-yachts. Perhaps it’s a place to contemplate how to spend your winnings from the Monte Carlo Casino.

The Musée Oceanographique

Musée-Oceanographique-Monaco

Opened all the way back in 1910 by Prince Albert I, The Musée Oceanographique is the oldest aquarium in the world. Around 100 pools contain the aquarium’s many rare species of underwater creatures. If you’re fortunate, you might even be able to hold a young shark!

Monte-Carlo

Monte-Carlo

Monaco and Monte-Carlo are used interchangeably in common vernacular; however, these two are not the same thing. Monte-Carlo is what you picture when you think of Monaco: the glitzy area of Monaco that contains the marina, the Place du Casino and the Formula One race circuit. With Monte Carlo attracting the majority of Monaco’s wealth, you’ll likely find plenty of Ferraris and Lamborghinis on the streets.

Private Yacht Cruise

You may not have the money lying around for a yacht, but you could pretend for a day. A private yacht cruise from Monaco’s Fontvieille Harbour will allow you see the French Riviera in style, with visits to towns like Menton and Beaulieu. Cool off by taking a swim, just like you’ve seen on Instagram.

Casino Square

Known locally as Place du Casino, as the name suggests, this is home to the palatial Casino Monte-Carlo. But Casino Square is not just a casino. It is also home to a number of fountains, luxurious hotels and grand statues. Visiting at night is recommended, as the historic architecture takes on an additional level of beauty when lit up.

Café de Paris

Just outside the Monte Carlo Casino, the Café de Paris is the place to be seen, with bustling surroundings visible from its cosy terrace. Play a game of super car bingo while you enjoy the brasserie fare, prepared by the Café de Paris’ Chef Jean-Claude Brugel.

Despite its small size, Monaco really packs in a lot, with more to see and do than you can imagine. You can walk the paths taken by over 60 years of racing legends, rub shoulders with the high rollers in the casino, and enjoy the many ways to wind down afterwards.

Shane Haumpton

Shane Haumpton is a contributing writer for several websites and blogs. She has written on a variety of topics, ranging from lifestyle, photography, travel, and arts and crafts to gadgets, social media, and internet safety. This self-confessed coffee addict and shutterbug manages to do all these while enjoying life as a first time mother.

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