Monaco’s main sights—including its glamorous port, casino, and hotels—are clustered around the pedestrianized place du Casino. Its principal museums, including the Prince’s Palace and Oceanographic Museum, are situated on the history-laden rock of Monaco-Ville.
Life still focuses on the Casino de Monte-Carlo, which has been the subject of countless legends and the setting for many films (remember poor Lucy Ricardo and the chip she found lying on the casino floor?). Depending on the era, you might have seen Mata Hari shooting a tsarist colonel with a jewel-encrusted revolver when he tried to slip his hand inside her bra to discover her secrets—military, not mammary. The late King Farouk, known as "the Swine," used to devour as many as eight roast guinea hens and 50 oysters before losing thousands at the table. Richard Burton presented Elizabeth Taylor with the obscenely huge Kohinoor diamond here. Surrounded by cultivated gardens, the casino stands on a panoramic terrace, offering one of the grandest views along the entire Riviera.
Exploring Local History
On the western side of Monaco, reachable by a picturesque coastal trail cut into the coastline’s rocks, is the Villa les Camélias, 17 av. Raymond Gramaglia, Cap d’Ail (www.villalescamelias.com; tel. 04-93-98-36-57). A local history museum, albeit one with astounding sea views and a private swimming pool, the villa charts the history of this Monaco suburb by way of photographs, handwritten notes from regular visitor Sir Winston Churchill, and even a calling card from a glamorous local bordello. It’s open from April to October Tuesday to Friday 9:30am to 12:30pm and 2 to 6pm, and Sunday 11am to 6pm; and from November to March Tuesday to Friday 9:30am to noon and 1:30 to 4:30pm, and Sunday 10am to 4pm. Admission is 9€ adults, 5€ for children aged 12 to 18, and free for children 11 and under.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.