If speed, luxury, and celebrities are what you're looking for. Then look no further than Monte Carlo, Monaco for Formula One's Grand Prix. Celebrities such as Akon, Chris Brown, Tommy Hilfiger, Beyonce, Diddy, Leonardo Di Caprio, Lewis Hamilton and many more are just a few who frequent tiny independent city-state on France’s Mediterranean coastline known for its upscale casinos, yacht-lined harbor and prestigious Grand Prix motor race, which runs through Monaco’s streets once a year. Monte-Carlo, its major district, is home to an elegant belle-époque casino complex and ornate Salle Garnier opera house. It also has many luxe hotels, boutiques, nightclubs and restaurants.
To describe Monte Carlo in one word… "VROOOOM!"
While there if you are looking for premier seating an views then stay at The Fairmont Hotel, I must warn you though during this period suites can range all the way up to over $36,000 USD per night. Staying in Monaco itself for the Grand Prix is out of reach for most fans, but nearby Nice is a good compromise. This stunning city has accommodation to suit all budgets and is just a short train ride from Monaco. Speaking of trains, you can also easily reach Monaco from Menton to the east or even over the border in the Italian Riviera. Transport in and out of Monaco over the race weekend is frequent, with cheap options by rail and road.
Why is Monaco so exclusive?
If it's a party you're looking for? The Amber Lounge Monaco is a pop-up venue for the Grand Prix. It is famous for its wild parties, drunken nights, and exclusive atmosphere. An array of A-list celebrities, including many of the drivers, throughout the duration of the event. From the famous fashion show, charity auction, and the UNITE party, right through to the drivers’ after-party, the selection of attractions at the Amber Lounge is alluring and diverse. Be prepared for four unforgettable evenings, full of luxury champagne, glamour, and a chic feel. Anyone who’s anyone yearns to be seen at The Amber Lounge in Monaco after the Grand Prix.
Nikki Beach Monaco Grand Prix
2) Nikki Beach Monaco at the Fairmont Hotel is one of Monaco’s most exciting venues. Set on the roof of The Fairmont Hotel, the lively club combines poolside elegance with nightclub atmosphere to offer a unique experience in the heart of Monaco. Once the Grand Prix is over, and guests have witnessed the race overlooking the famous hairpin bend, Nikki Beach comes to life as spectators flock from all over the Principality. Arrive early to ensure a place, as competition for daybeds and seating is strong.
3) Luxury Yacht Parties a leading organizer of events around the time of the Grand Prix, will be hosting parties on three luxury yachts next to the track. Each night will include a different DJ set from a renowned act under a beautiful view of the setting sun. With canapes and complimentary champagne served throughout the evening, what better way to celebrate a day of racing?
My Yacht Group will once again be hosting their legendary annual event – without a doubt one of the most exclusive parties in the famed Port Hercules. Traditionally attended by HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, as well as other royal members, Olympians, astronauts, CEOs, celebrities, and influencers from around the world, this is one of the most exciting events to be held over the course of the Grand Prix. Those who join the four-day experience will be treated to high-powered speedboat transfer to and from the private yacht, VIP access to the F1 team and partner activities, as well as five-star hospitality that includes champagne, caviar, and the finest wines in the region.
Sunset Monaco Grand Prix
4) Sunset - Set in the Meridian Beach Plaza Hotel, the outdoor club welcomes famous faces for a full day of cool beats, fine champagne and cocktails, and general debauchery. From noon until midnight, revelers will dance in the warm summer conditions to a line-up of celebrated DJs. Fine cuisine can be sampled in the venue’s waterfront restaurant and the race’s action can be viewed on screens all day.
The ultimate Monte-Carlo experience, it’s hard to beat this fabled Casino Square location combined with Mediterranean harbor views. Step out of the hotel into the square to listen to opera in the Salle Garnier, attempt to break the bank at the casino, browse the parked Ferraris over coffee at the Café de Paris, or explore the immaculately manicured gardens. Designer shops and restaurants are within 100 meters, while the port is a five-minute walk.
Fairmont hotel, Monaco
This luxury hotel in Monte Carlo, propped up on pillars over the sea, offering fabulous views of the ocean, an excellent choice of restaurants and a rooftop pool. Land-side, it also oversees the Fairmont hairpin bend, one of the most dramatic elements of Monaco’s Grand Prix circuit. Rooms come with balconies, so those towards the front offer prime views of all the action.
Hotel Hermitage, Monte Carlo
Bang in the middle of the principality’s prestigious Carré d’Or district and a one-minute walk from the main square with its casino, opera, restaurants and designer shops. The hotel has the advantage of a quiet garden square on one side, while the other side gazes over the Mediterranean port littered with superyachts towards the rock topped with the Prince’s medieval castle. The racetrack can be viewed from the Salle Belle Epoque terrace.
Port Palace hotel, Monaco, France
Right by the Port Hercule, where the big yachts cluster, the Port Palace’s seven floors back into the rock-face which rises to the Monte Carlo headland. The views across the port to the other headland (with Monaco-Ville on top), and then out to sea are sensational. And you’re five minutes walk from the central Place-du-Casino.
Hotel Metropole, Monaco
In the heart of the Monte-Carlo district, just up from the Casino and off the Boulingrins Gardens, the Metropole could scarcely be more central. While not quite on the race route, the hotel does offer a Grand Prix package, which includes free access to the Karl Lagerfeld-designed pool, accommodation and breakfast.
If you are ready for a beach day to relax after your long journey, Perissa beach is the place to go. Tavernas and beach clubs with cosmopolitan lounge areas and DJs line the long black sand beach. If you are not into beach clubs, many of the tavernas also offer lunch service at the adjacent beach chairs with umbrellas for a rental fee.
Looking for places to eat?:
Restaurant, Mediterranean, French, European,
One-Michelin star restaurant Blue Bay is an exquisite experience. The view from the terrace is quite something and the chef’s menu fusion of Caribbean and Mediterranean is unlike anything else in the principality. Opt for the six-course tasting menu, which will surely awaken your taste buds with flawless food pairings and complete creativity.
LE LOUIS XV
Restaurant, French, Vegetarian, Vegan, Mediterranean, $$$
The prestigious Le Louis XV – Alain Ducasse is one of Monaco’s most celebrated Michelin-starred restaurants, which been included on lists of the world’s top restaurants. Its executive chef, Alaine Ducasse, is the second in the world for most decorated Michelin Star chefs so guests can be sure of one of the most exquisite fine dining experiences of their lives here. Set menus start at €165 and contain every delight from local seafood to caviar, truffles and Monégasque delicacies.
JOËL ROBUCHON MONTE-CARLO
Restaurant, Mediterranean, European, French, $$$
An exquisite Joël Robuchon restaurant in the luxurious setting of the Hôtel Métropole, which in itself is something to see. Come to dine on expertly crafted dishes that always incorporate the flavors of the sun-drenched Mediterranean. The restaurant itself oozes opulence and grandeur, but stylishly so, with subtle and well thought out pieces. Executive Chef Christophe Cussac’s creations will make it hard to choose. Menus start from €62.
Restaurant, Italian, Mediterranean, European, $$$
This colorful restaurant serves up fantastic Italian cuisine for lunch and dinner. Olive oil adorning the table cloths and fruit and vegetables in baskets ready for buying at the entrance give this establishment a traditional and relaxed feel, which isn’t always the case with restaurants in Monaco. The restaurant doesn’t lie too far from the Beausoleil border, so once you’ve tucked into antipasto, pasta, fish and more, take a walk across to France where you’ll have an incredible view back over the Principality.
Cafe, Restaurant, Fusion, Vegan, $$$
Vegan tasties at Eqvita Restaurant
If you’re looking for a plant-based place to eat, then be sure to head to EQVITA. You can get pancakes without the guilt at this healthy food joint. There is less cream and more green but they’re equally as delicious, if not more.
Restaurant, French, $$$
Castelroc restaurant is a family-run business in the historic old town of Monaco, which has been in the Bonafede family for almost 60 years. Traditional Monegasque cuisine is served, along with dishes that are Mediterranean-centric from the land and sea. Their terrace is the absolute highlight, with views out over the pine tree tops of Monaco. Set menus start at €48.
CAFÉ DE PARIS
Restaurant, European, $$$
This iconic brasserie can’t be beaten if you want to tuck into gorgeous local and regional cuisine in an atmospheric setting. Located across the way from the Principality’s famous casino, Café de Paris is exactly where you want to be for people-watching and general Monaco frolicking.
QUAI DES ARTISTES
Restaurant, Mediterranean, French, European, $$$
Quai des Artistes lies right at Monaco’s Hercule port, the perfect place for watching the world (and the super yachts) meander on by. Seafood is the preferred dish here, and both the outside terrace and rich, traditional internal rooms make for relaxed settings to feast. Even though this restaurant occupies a popular spot, it never feels too overrun with tourists. Finally, for Monaco, it is very reasonably priced with lunch menus starting from €23.50.
Bar, Restaurant, Japanese, Sushi, Asian, $$$
Our second Joël Robuchon restaurant. This one is an incredibly chic Japanese restaurant in the glittering Hôtel Metropole. The style is bright, striking and minimalist, with the dishes served matching the light and subtly playful dining room. Interior architect Didier Gomez is the man behind the style, who is also known for designing the Yves Saint Laurent commercial spaces. Takéo Yamazaki is head chef and he’ll tempt and delight you with his dishes of Maki, Sushi and Sashimi as well as the ‘à La Carte’ menu. LA MONTGOLFIÈRE
Restaurant, Mediterranean, French, $$$
One of the highlights of La Montgolfière is its old Monaco charm, just 200 metres from the Royal Palace in the historic centre. The three-dish menu is €48 and the four-dish menu is €55 – both of which chef local Henri Geraci concocts with regional flare.
BEST CLUBS IN MONACO:
Jimmy’z Jimmy’z epitomises Monaco, and drinks here will cost you at least €30. The club is set around a stunning Japanese garden, overlooking the Mediterranean, complemented by a pool.
Le Living Room
Le Living Room is another late night club in Monaco. Here, you’ll be surrounded by plush décor, and most likely, a very sophisticated crowd.
So this needs little introduction – you’re in Monaco after all. A night out in the principality cannot be complete without at least visiting this iconic establishment. Read our Monte-Carlo Casino guide for all you need to know about your outing here.
Like many other places in Monaco, La Rascasse is a café by day, and a bar and live music venue by night. If you’re an F1 fan, you should definitely check out La Rascasse as it is situated on the Rascasse bend of the circuit. Furthermore, the terrace is great here, and the vibe is more casual.
Monaco definitely delivers when it comes to nightlife. La Note Bleue
This beach bar is what Monaco does best: sun, sea, and cocktails – altogether. La Note Bleue is chic, and the place to be if you’re looking for a chilled-out yet unforgettable night in Monac
Le Bar Américain
If you’re into jazz then this is the piano bar for you. Located in the plush Hotel de Paris, Le Bar Américain will offer you an unforgettable night, away from strobe lights and heaving crowds. Furthermore, you can also enjoy a great coastal view from here.
Throughout summer, Monaco’s small fortress turned open-air theatre, Fort Antoine, hosts evening plays. Although by day this venue is just another peaceful corner in the principality, nothing can beat the evening experience it offers. Definitely not to be missed.
Brasserie de Monaco
With one of the most expansive terrace spaces in the principality, Brasserie de Monaco is open from midday to 2 a.m. for beers and merriment. Beers because it is home to Monaco’s only craft beer, and merriment because it’s Monaco, after all!
Café de Paris
This is perhaps one of the most iconic places in Monaco. This famous spot, in the shadow of the Monte-Carlo Casino, is open until 2 a.m. and is just as great for a nightcap as it is for day-time people watching.
L’Opéra de Monte-Carlo
For a sophisticated and memorable affair, Monaco’s Opera should be at the top of your list. Pure opulence and beauty, just make sure you book ahead.
To describe Monte Carlo in one word… "VROOOOM!"
10 FACTS ABOUT MONACO
1. Monaco has a total population upward of 30,645 (July 2016 est.) and a total land area of 2.02 sq. km. This makes it the most densely populated and second smallest country in the world. Wondering which is the world’s smallest country? It’s Vatican City.
2. Almost 30% of the population of Monaco was a millionaire in 2014, similar to Zurich or Geneva.
3. Monaco does not have its own major defense force. The country’s defense; however, is France’ responsibility.
4. Monaco Grand Prix is one of the main events that the country hosts every year. If you are curious about the winner of the event, note that “Ayrton Senna” has won the Grand Prix 6 times, more than any other race car driver.
5. Monaco is the only country in the world with Human Development Index above 1.
6. Three of James Bond Films have been shot here in Monte-Carlo Casino. Why not? The casino is so classy that even the best of the James Bond films need to shoot a scene or two here.
7. For the rich and famous people from across the world, Monaco is a premier tourist destination and recreation center.
8. Casino de Monte-Carlo first opened in Monaco 153 years ago, in 1863.
9. Do not be surprised to learn that the natives of Monaco are not allowed to gamble here and visit the casino. The rule is imposed by the country’s government, which does not want its citizens to gamble away their money. The casino is a source of income for the country and provides employment to its residents.
10. Monaco is a tax haven. The country survives solely on the revenue generated by its tourism and casinos.
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