© Musée océanographique de Monaco
The climate in Monaco is generally great, with roughly 300 days of sunshine beaming down across the Riviera each year. However, that statistic does still leave 65 days on average when the sun doesn’t shine.
We can often struggle to dispel a sense of disappointment when a holiday vision of sunshine and sparkling sea is marred by rain or windy weather. Happily, bad weather passes through the Cote d’Azur quite quickly after a few torrential downpours. To help you dispel the gloom and recognise all the fun still to be had when it’s raining on the Riviera, we’ve pulled together a list of the best activities for rainy days in Monaco.
For all ages
The Prince's Vintage Car Collection
Prince Rainier III was a huge car enthusiast and amassed a vast collection of vintage cars. This museum houses over 100 vehicles including a De Dion Bouton from 1903 and an American post-war 1953 Cadillac.
Monaco's Exotic Gardens
Not only are these gardens wonderful to walk around but you will also find shelter in the rather bizarre form of a cave. At the base of the Exotic Garden's cliff, an underground cavity made from calcareous rock has been hollowed out by water rich in carbon dioxide and is full of caverns complete with amazing concretions: stalactites, stalagmites, curtains, columns, spaghetti-like helictites and more. The gardens also hold an anthropology museum of prehistory.
La Condamine Market
This good old-fashioned Provencal style market is held daily in the La Condamine area of the principality. Whether sheltering under the red canopies of the outside stalls, enjoying the fresh aromas of the indoor covered space or sitting under the awnings of one of the nearby cafés, this is a place to relax and watch the world go by as Monaco residents go about their daily chores.
For the kids
Explore the ocean depths
The principality of Monaco has a rich heritage in ocean exploration which can be discovered at one of their most popular attractions, the Oceanographic museum. This museum also houses an aquarium with over 6,000 species of fish, as well as the shark lagoon, the turtle island on the museum's panoramic terrace and even a tank where you can stroke a sea star, feel a sea urchin or touch a baby shark.
One for the football fans
The national football stadium, Stade Louis II, has been home to AS Monaco FC since 1985. Having won last year's French League, the players are in popular demand although current defeats have lead to the recent dismissal of its manager and the appointment of legendary player Thierry Henry as coach. Why not step into this world with a guided tour of the stadium or even watching a match?
For the adults
What better way to spend a gloomy day than with an afternoon in a day spa? Most of the luxury hotels in Monaco will have one. Then, when you feel like following up with a cocktail or a meal afterwards, you can watch the rain sweeping across the Mediterranean from the restaurant terrace.
A trip to the Palace
You might not get to meet your prince here but a visit to the wonderful Palais Princier of Monaco should definitely be on your list of things to do. This sumptuously decorated palace has been transformed into one of the most luxurious residences in the world and the audio tour gives you a real insight into the history of the family and the current goings-on.
Visit a villa
One of the quintessential experiences in Monaco is to visit the stunning Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild on the nearby peninsula of Saint Jean Cap Ferrat. This wonderful example of Belle Epoque architecture is located in its own illustrious grounds and offers an insight into the Riviera in the early 20th century. In stark contrast, the neighbouring Villa Keyrlos takes you back to Ancient Greece. The house combines ancient luxury with the modern comfort of Belle Epoque villas using luxury materials such as stucco, Carrara marble and exotic wood, together with a sumptuous decoration incorporating mosaics and frescoes illustrating the stories of ancient gods and classic heroes.
As you work your way through our rainy day list in Monaco, you’ll soon realise that the only activity that is really ‘off the table’ in the rain is sunbathing and that most of the idyllic South of France activities that you’ve been dreaming about are still very much achievable.