The Principality of Monaco is an independent state with borders on several communes in the Alpes Maritimes region. For 700 years, it has been associated with the famous Grimaldi family.
Set off for Monaco in the morning along the road leaving from the Les Pinèdes campsite. You can park near the port thanks to the large number of easily accessible car parks.
You'll be enthralled and surprised at each step you take in the City of the Princes. All the way from the old town, a real open-air museum, to the unique Place du Casino. A single day will hardly be enough to visit the castle, the port, the oceanographic museum, the exotic garden (one of the most beautiful in the world) and the prehistoric anthropology museum. You will probably have to make a selection, so here we give you our own favourites and tips.
Also known as Monaco City, the Rocher (Rock) is where most of Monaco's political institutions are located. Here you can see the Prince's Palace, the Government building, the Town Hall, the law courts… It is also the site of the famous Monaco Oceanographic Museum and the Cathedral.
Don't hesitate to stroll through the old town with its narrow streets, shops and beautifully conserved Renaissance-style buildings
The Prince's Palace
The Prince's Palace is at the summit of the Rock, overlooking the Mediterranean. It has been the official residence of the Prince of Monaco since 1297.
The Palace had been built a century earlier under the Republic of Genoa. The fortress has been the target of many sieges and bombardments during its history.
Outside the palace, you can watch the changing of the guard at 11.55 am precisely.
Perched on the cliff at the summit of the Rock, this is the only building with direct access to the sea, 85 metres below.
With over 6,000 specimens in a painstakingly recreated natural environment and the incredible Shark Lagoon, the Oceanographic Museum is a close encounter with the sea animals of the Mediterranean. The Lagoon is remarkable both for its size and for the species living there. This giant aquarium is 6 metres deep and contains 4,500,000 litres of sea water behind a 30 cm-thick glass wall. Here you can see several different species of shark, a turtle, moray elles and many other marine animals, and from four different angles. The coral reef created in 1989 is another wonderful feature of the museum.
On the roof terrace you can enjoy a 360° panoramic view over the Mediterranean and Monaco. Here you can also see the turtle island, with presentations by museum guides during the school holidays.
The Exotic Garden has been open to the public since 1933 and provides a great view over Monaco. It contains many "succulent" plants, with cacti the best-known example.
At the foot of the cliff in the garden, you can also visit a cave known as "the observatory" due to the fact that there was a small astronomic observatory there. The cave goes down practically to sea level and part of it is open to visitors.
The Monte Carlo Casino was built in 1863 and designed by the architect Charles Garnier. It stands majestically on Place du Casino, next to the Hôtel de Paris and the Café de Paris.
This is also the site of the Opéra Garnier, also built by Charles Garnier and inaugurated at the same time as the casino. The opera house was closed for renovations in 2000 and reopened, like new, in 2005. It hosts a wide range of events all through the year.
On the way back to the campsite, take the Route des Corniches via Villefranche-sur-Mer. You will see the famous “Baie de St Jean Cap Ferrat” with its peninsula and luxurious houses.