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Events of recent months have given us plenty to think about. Not least among them is the fact that we never know what’s around the corner, so perhaps we should get on and do some of those things we never quite get around to. With travel routes gradually reopening, plenty of us are looking at the bucket list destinations we’re determined to visit “sometime” with a new type of focus.
The tiny principality of Monaco is likely to feature on many such lists. The playground of the rich and famous, it is home to princesses, playboys and most of the Formula 1 paddock. Yet the Monte Carlo lifestyle is within the reach of mere mortals too – at least for a weekend. Here’s how to get the best of your visit.
Time it right
Most of us will want to give things another month or two to settle down before we start jumping on planes, but in the case of a visit to Monaco, it makes sense to leave it till autumn. That’s when the weather is at its most pleasant and the hotels will generally have some special offers. If you decide to wait till next year, avoid the last week of May unless you are specifically going for the Grand Prix – the whole city will be in chaos and accommodation, if you can find it, will cost a fortune.
See the sights
There are more tourist attractions packed into Monaco’s 200 hectares than you could hope to cover in a weekend. But make sure you tick off the essentials. Monte Carlo is synonymous with the most famous casino in the world, and even if your usual definition of gambling is putting a pound on the Grand National or taking advantage of a no deposit casino bonus online, you simply have to visit the original inspiration for Casino Royale while you are there. Even from the outside, the casino takes your breath away, with the non-stop procession of supercars pulling up in front of those famous doors.
Speaking of cars, another spectacle is the Royal Palace. This is home to one of the most incredible car collections in the world. Lovingly assembled by Prince Rainer, it shows his eclectic tastes, with everything from priceless race winners to humble family runabouts from years gone by.
Sleep like royalty
Monte Carlo is almost as famous for its iconic hotels as it is for the casino and the yachts the size of football pitches. The Hotel de Paris and the Metropole are familiar names to F1 fans as they effectively form corners when the streets are transformed into a racing circuit. Of course they are expensive, but there is no experience quite like it. Rooms typically start at around £500 per night, but you might be able to shave something off that if you follow the advice to visit after peak season.
Alternatively, there are plenty of boutique hotels with just a handful of rooms. Family run, they offer a more relaxed kind of luxury and give you a taste of the real Monaco.