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About Monte Carlo

French Riviera, France

Though both are incredibly well known, there is often a certain amount of confusion which relates to Monte-Carlo and Monaco, or more specifically, understanding the difference between the two. In simple terms, Monaco is both a principality, and country in itsown right, while it is also the name of the whole city, Monaco. As is not uncommon with many cities, Monaco has a number of suburbs or, in this case, municipalities, of which Monte-Carlo is one, which is that part of Monaco which is set on the hillside overlooking the rest of the city and which happens to contain the major casinos and hotels. The other main suburbs in Monaco include Monaco-Ville or le Rocher which is the country’s official capital, Fontvieille and La Condamine to the south-west, which also incorporates Port Hercules.

A short history of Monte Carlo

As you can imagine, the history behind the world’s second smallest country, the Vatican City being the smallest, is complex, and as a consequence, so is the history of Monte-Carlo. Monaco was originally a colony of Genoa at the beginning of the thirteenth century and first ruled by the house of Grimaldi, who, after ceding the territory back to the Genovese, bought the ‘rock of Monaco’ from the crown of Aragon. Thereafter the country of Monaco retained its independence as a protectorate of France, save for a brief period of time during and after the French Revolution. Monte Carlo gained its reputation and success after the opening of the first casino, La Condamine, though initially it was more of a failure. It was only after Monaco’s connection by rail that the city experienced a massive influx of visitors and the casino, having been re-sited, proved to be a success with the rich and famous. The casino was such a success that it allowed the Grimaldi’s to abandon the need to tax the residents of Monaco, which turned it in to the tax haven it is known as today.

tourist attractions in Monte Carlo

Monte Carlo is not just a name synonymous with gambling, but motorsport as well, this area of Monaco having the greatest part of the Formula 1 Grand Prix circuit within its curtilage. The Monte Carlo rally is one of the best known in the world and which has been reinstated to the International rally circuit in 2008, though not surprisingly; the actual rally takes place on French roads outside the principality of Monaco. Monte Carlo itself is the location of the Café de Paris, Hôtel de Paris and the home of the Opéra de Monte-Carlo, la Salle Garnier. Though Monte-Carlo is home to Monaco’s only sandy beach, it is not connected to the Marina areas of the city, but the size of the city means you are only a few minutes away from any and all of the facilities available, the marina in Monaco being the berth of many of the world’s most expensive super-yachts.

festivals and events in Monte Carlo

It is difficult to separate Monte-Carlo from the rest of Monaco when it comes to annual festivals, but this is certainly one of the busiest places throughout the year. In January there is the Monte-Carlo rally and International Circus Festival whilein March there is the Rose Ball and opening of the Monte-Carlo opera season. April is the month for the Spring Arts festival and the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters tennis tournament, while May is the month for both the Historic and Modern Formula 1 Grand Prix. July is the month for concerts at the Prince’s Palace as well as the International Fireworks Festival and Summer Music Festival and the Red Cross Gala Ball is also held at the end of the month. September is the month for yachting with the Monaco Yacht Show and Monaco Classic Week, November is the month for the Monaco International Marathon and December the month for the Monaco Dance Forum.

GASTRONOMY in Monte Carlo

It is impossible to single out Monagasque cuisine and its influences, though French with a twist of Italian would best sum up ‘local’ cuisine.However, Monaco is somewhat cosmopolitan and also rather expensive, so restaurants tend to serve more ‘haute cuisine’ as opposed to simple paysanne food. There are four restaurants in Monaco and Monte-Carlo which have Michelin stars, though the best, Louis XV-Alain Ducasse, has only two as opposed to the maximum three stars. The other top restaurants include Joel Robuchon Monte Carlo, Vistamar and Yoshi. Of course, if you search carefully, restaurants such as l’Instinct and La Maciota serve good cheap Provençale food with a set lunch for around €20.00 as not everyone who eats in Monte-Carlo is a millionaire.

recommended restaurants in Monte Carlo
Port Palace Quai des Etats-Unis, 7 Avenue J.F. Kennedy, 98000 Monte Carlo
Phone: +377 97 97 90 00
Louis XV Hôtel de Paris, place du Casino Monte Carlo, 98000 Monte Carlo
Phone: +377 98 06 88 64
Le Castelrock place du Palais Monaco Ville, 98000 Monte Carlo
Phone: +377 95 48 33 11
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villa rentals in the Monte Carlo area
The Frogs House

Looking for an unforgettable experience in a typical French village, 15km from Nice and the French Riviera ? Come to enjoy our 7 cosy bedrooms with views to the sea and over the surrounding hills.

  • Villa Belmonte "Villa Belmont" is a brand new luxury villa in the beautiful old village of Biot in the South of France.
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