When you think of Monaco, you think of glitz, glamour, yachts, millionaires and Royalty. But Monaco is not just for the rich and famous, it is actually one of those places that is easily accessible and surprisingly affordable if done the right way.
During a weekend break to Nice, Myself and Himself took the short train journey to Monte Carlo for a day trip. Needless to say, we didn’t have a huge budget for splashing out. In fact there was a packet of Jaffa cakes packed neatly away in my bag for emergencies!
Even though we didn’t have a movie star budget, we did however get dressed up like screen sirens; any excuse for me to wear my favourite floral Bardot wiggle dress and Princess Grace inspired pearls!
We took the 40 minute train journey and arrived just before mid-day to climb up to the Palais du Prince for the changing of the guard. From the palace you can also see some of the most spectacular views of the Monte Carlo harbour and the Million Euro Super-Yachts.
Eating in Monaco is expensive, but for the best value you can eat a big meal at lunch time. The old town has some great lunch menus, which are a lot less expensive than Monte Carlo restaurants.
Our next stop was to go and visit the tomb of Grace Kelly, Movie Star, Princess, and I’d like to believe, in some way my relation! The beautiful brilliant-white church was the location of her marriage to Prince Rainier and also her final resting place and although there are other members of the Royal family buried there, Princess Grace’s tomb stands out, due to the large array of flowers laid by adoring fans.
We then made our way to the Oceanographic Museum and aquarium which was well located to show off some of the best views of the Riviera. Following this we hopped onto the public bus, which conveniently brought us down to the Harbour. A full day pass costs only €5 and Monaco is very hilly, so I would recommend making the most of the bus service.
We walked along the harbour and through the high-end fashion stores and jewellers and made our way towards the Casino de Paris or the Grand Casino. One of the iconic locations, this traditional casino is a playground for millionaires and international men of mystery. We paid €10 each just to enter, but we decided not to gamble. Instead, we simply admired the architecture and the gold and marble embellishments throughout. The tables have high minimum bets and we decided not to take our chances.
Instead we joined the other tourists outside and spent some time enjoying the views of the luxury cars driving by the casino. Next door, a slightly more casual casino holds some slot machines and I won a small amount of money on a (not so classy) Flintstones machine!
With my winnings we decided to treat ourselves to a drink in the Cafe du Monte Carlo and we splashed out almost €20 on a glass of wine and a Coca cola. You certainly were paying a little more for the atmosphere here and the company, as there was clearly someone famous sitting beside us. Paparazzi sat outside waiting for a good shot, but sadly, I still don’t know who this person was! However, despite the expensive beverages, we did enjoy soaking up the atmosphere and watching the Lamborghinis and Porsches drive by.
By the end of the day, we had rubbed shoulders with millionaires and celebrities and to be honest, we felt like a pair of con artists, but we had survived a day in Monte Carlo, having spent little more than €50 – not bad for one of Europe’s glitziest capitals eh!?