Monaco Ville refers to the old town of Monaco, or 'The Rock' which sits perched on a peninsula high above the Mediterranean. The train station at Monaco lies on the very scenic Nice-Ventimiglia trainline- you can then connect to local bus line 1 or 2 to get to Monaco Ville. These local buses connect all of Monaco, or you can get a hop on hop off day pass on a tourist bus for €10. If driving, there is a parking lot 'Chemin des Pêcheurs' in Monaco Ville. To get to Monaco you can also take a bus from Nice-the 110 express runs from Nice airport (€20) and the 100 runs from Nice town (€1.50). You could, of course, always fly or sail into Monaco, in which case there is Port Hercules or the Monaco heliport at your disposal. (You may scoff, but the helicopter isn't outrageously expensive at 165 euro when you consider that a taxi will generally set you back up to €90. And let's face it, Monaco's the kind of place where one should arrive in style).
Many restaurants up on 'The Rock' could be accused of being tourist-traps, but there are a few exceptions serving up tasty traditional Monegasque and Provencal fare. Family run restaurant ‘Cavagnetu’ (meaning picnic basket) is a very good choice indeed- try the barbajuan, socca or pissaladerie here. It has a lovely terrace and a cosy, vaulted interior- full of locals and tourists alike.
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The grand palace stands on the site of a fortress built by the Genoese in 1205. Today, you can admire the throne room and stunning 15th century frescoes, the 17th century chapel and the famous marble double staircase. The beautiful Romanesque-Byzantine Cathedrale de Monaco is the burial place of Grace Kelly and husband Prince Ranier, while you can see a wonderful collection of religious artworks at the Museum of the Chapel of the Visitation- Rubens and Ribera are just two of the Masters on display here. Walk in Jacques Cousteau's footsteps at the Oceanographic Museum, where the shark lagoon and coral gardens will delight young visitors, or visit the quaint Chapelle de Misericorde in Place de Palais.
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There are museum exhibitions and events throughout the year in this cultural heart of Monaco, including a wonderful outdoor theatre at the Fort Antoine. The atmospheric changing of the guard at the palace is a wonderful (if crowded) activity to watch, with thousands gathering at 11.55 am to watch the colourful display. You could also take a lovely stroll or picnic in the Saint Martin Gardens enjoying the view.
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Monaco Ville doesn't have any beaches, but there is the public Larvotto Beach nearby, which is reachable by bus numbers 4 and 6. It's gravel and man-made, but it is clean and has lots of restaurants backing the beach for a pleasant lunch. If you have money to burn and want a special day out, head to Monte Carlo Beach, which is a private sandy beach that is part of the Monte Carlo Beach Hotel. It has an Olympic sized swimming pool too. Further down the coast is the lovely beach at Cap d'Ail, or head around to spectacular Villefranche near Nice.
The Monte Carlo Golf Club is actually located in La Turbie. This wonderful century-old course is rich in history and offers breathtaking views over mountains and sea- at the fifth hole you can actually see three countries at once! The 18 holes, par 71 course has some is very hilly and requires considerable accuracy. The green fees aren't cheap, but the elegant clubhouse and those extraordinary views of the Riviera make it worth the expense. There's a restaurant open every day except Monday and a practice ground on site, as well as a pro shop and caddy and equipment rental.
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Nightlife in Monaco-Ville itself is fairly limited, but the bright lights and glamour aren't far away at all. Head down to the port for more affordable nightlife options or into Monte Carlo proper for your glitzy big name venues.
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