Monaco's Monte Carlo Casino and Place du Casino.
'Alcatraz for the rich' Jack Nicholson
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Known for its monarchy (the longest ruling autocracy), the Monte Carlo
casino and zero income-tax, Monaco has narrow streets, CCTV cameras
in excess, 1 policeman for every 62 residents, a hugely expensive marina and shops, though it is possible to eat and drink for a reasonable price in the port area, particularly around la Condamine, like below.
The cheap and cheerful Stars 'n' Bars cafe/bar/restaurant on Quai Antoine, serving classic American cuisine of burgers and fries and pleasantly situated more or less opposite the Monte Carlo Casino.
Monaco is the second smallest country in the world after the Vatican in Rome, and officially has the highest population density in the world (depending on how you calculate it) with about 35,000 people in about 3/4 of a square mile (1.2 sq kms), except that as most of the residents are exceptionally wealthy and have a base in Monaco for tax reasons they are more likely to be found actually working in Paris, London, New York or Beijing, or taking lengthy vacations just about anywhere more beautiful and less crowded than Monaco!
One of several blocks of hotel rooms with public gardens and walkways on the roof.
Monaco Weather: very similar to the Côte d'Azur in general but even more moderate due to its immediate proximity to the sea and the vast rocky backdrop so frost is very rare as is extreme heat, though humidity can be oppressive in the summer.
The best months to visit Monaco are May, June and September, October for high sun and low humidity, with average high temperatures of 23C (73F) and lows of 19C (66F), but even in July and August temperatures are not too bad with highs under 30C (86F) and lows around 21C (70F).
Wintertime brings in about 6 days of rain a month, highs of about 13C (55F) and lows of 8C (46F).
Not like any hotel roof we've ever seen before!
Monaco's main attractions:
• strolling around the port area (La Condamine) to see luxury yachts and Monte Carlo Casino plaza to see luxury cars. Enter the Casino (see below).
• head up to old Monaco-Ville to see the Palace, views and museums especially the Oceanographic Museum and Aquarium.
• Visit the Jardin Exotique (exotic garden), home to thousands of plants from differing environments but requiring a short bus ride to get there (#2 from the station or Oceanographic Museum)
• take the Azur Express tourist train (if your ego can handle the embarrassing vehicle) for a 30 minute ride around the main sights, with multi-lingual commentary.
• walk along to the small beach to see how the other half live. Makes you sick!
The biggest attraction in Monaco is, of course, the Monte Carlo Casino (also known as the Grand Casino), the supercars parked outside and the big spenders inside.
Tourists who wish to enter the Grand Casino to gamble or just wander around will have to bring a passport as Monaco residents are not allowed to gamble, must wear formal clothing such as jackets and ties and have to pay for the pleasure of entry. The price depends on the activity chosen, but for just looking it's just a few euros and worthwhile as the rooms inside are superbly ornate and decorated with stunning art.
A little prang in front of the Monte Carlo Casino, Monaco, involving a Mercedes S class, Aston Martin Rapide, Ferrari F430 and Porsche 911, not to mention the blonde driver's Bentley Azure. Oops! Photo courtesy of DailyFun.us
Monaco is one of those places where no one looks at a Ferrari, it's just too blah. More Monaco Sights.
And don't even think about staying here during the Grand Prix time in May unless you have a big budget, though you could find good value accommodation in a nearby city such as Ventemiglia (Italy), Menton or even Nice and travel in by train along the coast.
Grand Prix fans can easily walk the race route with the help of a Tourist Office map.
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