The Riviera’s Never Never Land for the rich, offering bling, glamour, sights, high-roller casinos and entertainment galore.
Ever since 1297, when it was captured by Francesco Grimaldi the Spiteful (who snuck in disguised as a monk, stabbed the guards, then let in his men), this palace set on a cliff has been the headquarters of Monaco’s royal family. Around the 17th century, opulent state apartments were added, which are now open for public visits for part of the year.
The main palace remains the private residence of the ruling Prince, and is closed to the public. Family photos add interest – look out for the portrait of Princess Grace (a.k.a movie star Grace Kelly), Prince Rainier and their children – and there are fabulous views over a marina scattered with mega-yachts.
While you're there
It’s a five-minute walk to Monaco’s 19th–century cathedral, site of the simple tombs of Grace and Rainier and a fine 16th-century altarpiece by local artist Louis Brea.
Getting there & doing it
If you’re driving, the nearest car park is the Parking des Pecheurs. Otherwise, take bus 1 or 2 (both transverse much of Monaco and stop by the train station) to the final stop, Monaco Ville. Or, brave the steep walk up from the marina and be rewarded by sparkling views. A decent audio guide, included in the price, will guide you through the various rooms and halls.
When to do it
The state apartments tend to be open April to October – check the website for exact dates and hours. Arrive by 11.50am to watch the changing of the palace guard.
Destination guides including or relevant to this experience
Sister city of Hollywood and host of the famous film festival, Cannes, with its palm-lined La Croisette, golden beach and five star hotels oozes cinematic and pure Riviera glamour.