Monte Carlo Attractions
Monte Carlo casinos are, of course, one of the chief Monte Carlo attractions. However, there’s more to Monte Carlo for visitors than stylish gambling venues. Monte Carlo also boasts spectacular surroundings, and plenty to see and do.
For details of coastal attractions and swimming options in and nearby Monte Carlo, see Monte Carlo beaches.
Sight-seeing and Entertainment in Monte Carlo
Among the top sights to see in Monte Carlo are the Monte Carlo Casino, the Prince’s Palace (Palais du Prince), the Salle Garnier Opera House, the Oceanographic Museum, Monaco Cathedral, the Exotic Garden (Jardin Exotique) and the Princess Grace Rose Garden. The city also includes many exhibits associated with Monaco’s famous Royal Family, such as an exhibition of HSH Prince of Monaco’s private collection of classic cars.
The main art museums in Monte Carlo are the Museum of Nice and the Picasso Museum, both worth a visit. Monte Carlo also includes a National Museum, which includes an interesting collection of 18th- and 19th-century dolls and mechanical figures.
To get your bearings and a sense of Monte Carlo’s history, it’s a good idea to explore the Old Town. Featuring an attractive City Hall and other historic buildings, the Old Town is also a good spot for relaxed people-watching from a café.
Walking is the best way to get around the various Monte Carlo attractions. Although the city includes some steep slopes, free public escalators and elevators are available for navigating parts of the city where elevations are high.
Oceanographic Museum / Aquarium
The Oceanographic Museum – or Musée Océanographique – includes tanks housing over 4,500 fish, and has an ornate interior that is a tourist attraction in its own right. The museum was founded in 1910 by Prince Albert I, and has included the world-famous oceanographer Jacques Cousteau as one of its directors.
Palais du Prince
Tours of the grand state apartments in the 13th-century Palais du Prince are available, and tourists can watch the changing of the guard just before noon every day. A museum in the palace contains interesting historic pieces, including some of Emperor Napoleon’s personal effects. If the flag of the Grimaldis is flying from the palace tower, it indicates that the Prince is at home.
The Salle Garnier Opera House
The Salle Garnier Opera was built by Charles Garnier, who also built the extraordinary Paris Opera House, in the late nineteenth century. Between 1893 and 1951, Monte Carlo’s Opera House was directed by the famous Raoul Gunsbourg. Among the greats who’ve performed at the Salle Garnier are Patti, Tamagno, Melba, Caruso, Chaliapine, Garden, Schipa, Dalla Rizza, Gigli, Lubin, Muzio, Thill and Pons. One of the Monte Carlo attractions you shouldn’t miss is the chance to attend a live performance at the Salle Garnier.
Monaco includes several public gardens, including Parc de Fontvieille and the Princess Grace Rose Garden, which features over 4,000 rose bushes and is located near the port. Most impressive of the gardens is the Jardin Exotique, which hosts more than 7,000 types of cacti and succulents from around the world. Close to the Monte Carlo Casino is the Jardin Japonais, which includes a Zen meditation area.
For entertainment and relaxation in between sight-seeing, Monte Carlo attractions include a high-energy nightlife, five-star dining, luxurious hotels and spas, and world-class shopping. For shopping, the famous streets of Cannes and the boutiques of San Remo are also both nearby.