Monte Carlo (Grand Prix),
Monte Carlo, Monaco
The independent principality of Monaco is famous as the playground of the Côte d'Azur. With its sandy beaches, elegant hotels and vibrant nightlife, this tiny domain is a favourite haunt of the jet set. Monaco has been in the possession of the Grimaldi family for more than 700 years, and treaties with France guarantee the principality's independence.
The population of this fashionable enclave, an area smaller than New York's Central Park, is 32,000 citizens. However, Monaco boasts some of the most expensive real estate in the world. In addition to its luxury hotels and beautiful beaches, Monaco is noted for its mild climate and magnificent scenery. Once an exclusive wintering stop for Europe's aristocracy and royalty, Monaco today hosts more than five million visitors annually. Although it is divided into four sections, La Condamine, Fontvieille, Monaco-Ville and Monte Carlo, the latter two rank highest on every visitor's must-see list.
In Monte Carlo, the Grand Casino and Opera is perhaps Monaco's most outstanding attraction. For more than a century, the principality's livelihood was centred beneath the copper roof of this splendid establishment. The resemblance to the Paris Opera House is less than accidental since they share the same architect, Charles Garnier. The famed Hotel de Paris and more modest Café de Paris also face the square. Monte Carlo exudes sophistication, and is the epitome of elegance and glamour. Year after year, the rich and famous from the corporate and entertainment worlds gather here to bask in the sun, gamble at the world's most opulent casino and attend spectacular parties. Nothing typifies the elegant lifestyle of the Côte d'Azur more than glamorous Monte Carlo.
Situated on a rocky peninsula, Monaco-Ville comprises the Old Town and the seat of Monaco's government. Narrow streets lead to the Prince's Palace high above the sea. The 19th-century Romanesque cathedral contains impressive works of art and the tombs of Princess Grace and Prince Rainer III, whilst the Parliament building and the Oceanographic Museum offer additional points of interest.
As if Monaco's splendid attributes weren't enough, its incredibly scenic and beautiful surrounding areas are added attractions.
Special Note Regarding the Grand Prix:
Due to traffic congestion during the Grand Prix, guests participating on tours will be required to walk for approximately 10 minutes and negotiate 10 steps to reach the coach departure area.
Taxi transportation is extremely limited during this event. Walking is required to-and-from the destination for viewing the races.
The ship will anchor in the Bay of Monaco, and tenders will reach the Port of Fontvieille in Monaco. The Old Town (Monaco-Ville) can be reached via stairs after a 30-minute walk from the pier. Other sites in Monte Carlo are a distance of up to one mile from the port. Due to the Grand Prix, taxis are extremely limited. Tall fences or tribunes obscure all harbour and racetrack viewpoints; access is very limited.
Designer boutiques offering elegant clothing and gorgeous jewellery are located around the Place du Casino, along Boulevard des Moulins and at the Galerie Metropole. Some shops observe lunchtime between 12:30 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. The local currency is the euro.
Excellent restaurants and hotels cater to the most discriminating tastes at top prices. Open-air eateries near the port or around the Place du Casino offer more casual and somewhat less-expensive options. Fresh seafood or bouillabaisse, the delicious fish soup, is well worth a try.
All of the glitz and elegance can be experienced at Monte Carlo's ornate casino. It opens at 12:00 p.m., with European gaming rooms for Roulette, Trente and Quarante; slot machines are available from 2:00 p.m.; private gaming rooms open at 4:00 p.m. The entrance fee is 11 euros (at time of printing), and a passport is required to play.
This enchanting garden should not be missed. Located above Monte Carlo, the Jardin Exotique is filled with flowering plants, palm trees and cacti.
Musée National des Automates & Poupées d'Autrefois
The museum features a compelling collection of 18th- and 19th-century dolls and mechanical figures. It is magically situated in a seaside villa and a favourite with many visitors.
Located in Old Monaco, the museum is known for its marine-life section that ranks among Europe's finest. It is among the projects that were administered by the late Jacques Cousteau.
From Monte Carlo, trips into the surrounding areas include such favourite destinations as Nice, Eze and St. Paul de Vence. Driving along one of the scenic Corniche roads is a highlight in itself.
Silver Shore Privato is unavailable in Monte Carlo during Grand Prix, due to the very limited number of qualified guides and suitable vehicles. Guests wishing to consider any private arrangements should enquire at ShoreConcierge@silversea.com for any availability and price. Please expect any private arrangements to be at a premium during this event that attractive visitors from all over the world.