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[MONACO] - One Day in Monaco

"Shiny and glittering casinos, glitzy nightlife, flashy sport cars and thousand of yachts docking in a city beyond our imagination".

Despite all the glamour and extravaganza factors in Monaco, we somehow felt out of touch with this wealthy state on the French Riveria. We walked aimlessly in the city, coerced through the flock of tourists around Prince's Palace, skimmed through dozens of souvenir shops at the old town Le Rocher and watch enviously dozens of sport cars drove pass us. Perhaps the rewarding element here is the wondrous of their architectural design.

One Day in Monaco
The city of Monaco

Getting into Monaco from Nice

One Day in Monaco

Monaco is just a 30 minutes train ride from Nice, and another 30 minutes train ride from Monaco will get you into the Ventimiglia, the border town of Italy. The train departs on a frequent over the day.

However, the challenge lies within the ticket purchasing from the vending machine as everything is displayed in French! We had a hard time maneuvering around the machine, as we only understand "Bonjour", "Au Revoir", "S'il vous plait" and probably a few more French words! 

Thankfully, one of the staff is willing to help a few of us whom are French illiterate to purchase the tickets. Though we have to wait for his availability as everyone is trying to get his help. Return tickets for 2 pax cost us €16.40.

Attractions We Visited in Monaco

Monaco is a hilly town, meaning there are dozens of steps or connecting slopes to link different part of the city. We did not see that coming and was sweating a lot throughout the journey in Monaco. Our advice - get a good pair of sport shoes and travel light here.

1. Prince's Place of Monaco

One Day in Monaco

One Day in Monaco
The view of Monaco Marina

The 13th century residence is the home to the royal family of Monaco and is one of the major tourist attraction in Monaco. Everyday at 11.55am, the visitors can witness the changing of guard ceremony performed by the "carabiners", who is in charge for the Prince's security. 

On top of that, there are guided tours on a seasonal basis. Check out their official website for the relevant information 

Other than the vast square in front of the building, the hill side of the square also offer a panoramic view of the sea, the marina and part of the city. 

However to reach here by foot, you will need to climb a lot of steps! We seriously mean, a lot! 

2. Le Rocher 

One Day in Monaco

Le Rocher is the old town of Monaco, a picturesque site with narrow pedestrian streets. The area is usually thronged by tourists as it hosted a number of hotels, restaurants and souvenir shops. It is walking distance to other major attraction such as Price's Palace of Manoco, Jardin de Saint Martin, the Cathedral and etc.

3. Saint Nicholas Cathedral

One Day in Monaco

Build with white stones from la Turbie (a town slightly north of Monaco) in 1875, this Roman-Byzantine style cathedral houses the burial places of past princes of Monaco, from Jean II Grimaldi, Grace Kelly and Rainier III.

Besides, there are chapels dedicated to Sainte Devote, Saint Roman and the Saint Sacrament. The 16th century of Saint Nicholas comes from the old church and was produced by the famous Nicois painter Louis Brea. 

4. Jardin Exotique

One Day in Monaco

The cliff side garden overlooking the sea located hosted more than 1000 species of cacti and succulents from all over the world including Mexico, Africa, South America, United States, Arabian Peninsula. We enjoyed some time here off the crowded spots at Prince's Palace of Monaco, and the excellent shedding provided by the trees also helped us escaped the scorching sun.

5. Palace of Justice

One Day in Monaco

It is a government office but the staircase serves as a picturesque spot, should you able to get a time where there are no people there. Good luck on it, as we waited for more than 10 minutes and gave up eventually due to the scorching sun.

6. Casino Monte Carlo

One Day in Monaco

One Day in Monaco
Reflection of Casino Monte Carlo

A visit to Monaco would naturally include a trip to Casino Monte Carlo. The signature building is somehow a reflection of Monaco's wealth. Entrance is free for public but will be subjected to tight security checks. Nevertheless, if you were to try some luck by gambling here, you will need to pay a small entrance fees to enter the real "casino".

One Day in Monaco
Interior of Casino Monte Carlo

Casino Monte Carlo is totally fascinating in terms of its architectural. Glittering gold with marble paved atrium, surrounded by 28 columns made of onyx are all symbols of luxury here. Pictures are allowed in the atrium only, and we are not allowed to point the camera into the casino area.

The casino is also well known for a scene in James Bond movie Golden Eye, where it was called The Casino Royale. 

Interestingly, Monaco's citizens are not allowed to set foot inside the casino unless they work there! 

7. Monte-Carlo Pavilions 

One Day in Monaco

Monte- Carlo Pavilions is located near to Casino Monte Carlo. There are nothing other than luxury items here. If you have lots of cash to splurge, then come here to shop for luxury items such as Alexander Mc Queen, Akris, Balenciaga, Bottega VenetaBoucheronChanelChopard, Czarina, LanvinMiu MiuPiagetSonia Rykiel, Stardust, Yves Saint Laurent and Zendrini.

8. Get a Complimentary Passport Stamp at Monaco Tourism Office

One Day in Monaco

If you are a geek of collecting passport stamp like us, then you can go to Monaco Tourism Office to get a Monaco visit official stamp for free! As there is no border checkpoint in Monaco, thus the only way to get the passport stamp is via this way.

Do not worry, it is perfectly legit to get Monaco stamp in your passport though it does not hold any significant meaning other than collection purposes. 

The Monaco Tourism Office is located within a stone's throw away from Casino Monte Carlo.

Food We Eaten

I did not know majority of the restaurants in Le Rocher did not appeal to us. Most are packed with tourists, and selling food that tourists like to eat such as kebab or pasta that looked mundane to us.

As we descending to Monaco town from Prince's Palace of Monaco, our stomach started growling and we desperately needed something to eat. Our blood glucose level has fallen to below normal level.

Therefore, we left with no options other than some restaurants near the roundabout beneath Prince's Palace of Monaco. We went to a restaurant which we could not recall its name, sat for 5 minutes and nobody came.

Then only we settled down at Monte Carlo Bar, a seemingly great restaurant near the roundabout with reasonable food price.

One Day in Monaco
Andouillette Frites (€14.20)

One Day in Monaco
Ravioli Tomatoes Sauce (€13.90)

The truth was the food here were average. Andouillette was alright but we felt the pork intestine were so immense that I could not able to tolerate it, and the fries were a disappointment with the icy cold feeling.

Then the ravioli appeared to be ready made pasta sell in store and topped with some tasteless tomato sauces. Everything in this plate should be microwaved only, and we left half of the plate unfinished.

Though the service was great but the food was not something to shout about.

One Day in Monaco

One Day in Monaco
The roundabout

Well, that marks our short trip in Monaco. While we thought we would be spending a full day at Monaco during our planning, we were out of destinations after half a day. Therefore, we decided to buy a train ticket and headed to Ventimiglia in Italy. A totally uncharted destination and not within our plan at all! 

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