When I mention Monaco, what would your impression of this country be? If it’s a casino heaven and a ridiculously expensive place, then YOU’RE WRONG. I’m here to burst that bubble because Monaco is definitely affordably luxurious. Feel like royalty but you pay less than Singapore’s luxury. I’m serious. There are so many myths I want to debunk about the place but I guess let me start with a simple trail to complete in Monaco.
I’ve had the opportunity to travel to Monaco in mid-January and I got to say the place is absolutely amazing. Well you might have heard of this place in songs such as Audien’s Monaco, in brand names, or even from famous instagrammers. The following is just a simple trail which you can follow through. With this completed, you would already have walked through half of Monaco easily.
- Place D’armes
This is a good starting place. It’s quite a busy place most of the time because the market (selling groceries and fresh produce) is here; there is a shopping area, ‘Espace Commercial de La Condamine’ that carries some international fashion brands and other fashionable items too; and most importantly there are plenty of buses that stop here too.
- Place du Palais
Just in front of the market you will see a flight of stairs which brings you up a fortress. Walk all the way up and you will reach the space outside the palace! Everyday at 11.55am there will be a change of guards ceremony happening outside the palace. Isn’t that something Singaporeans just get so excited about somehow? But unfortunately, you can’t take a photo with the guards here, it’s illegal to do so. But still, it’s cool to see a European change of guards no?
- Monaco Old Town
The old town is just behind you if you face the palace. There are many nice souvenir shops there to get your Monaco essentials such as postcards, stamps, F1 souvenirs, mock casino chips etc. The architecture is simply gorgeous. It really left a deep impression on me and I’m sure it will for you too. If you decide to cut through the old town to the other end, you will be able to find Chocolatier de Monaco, a very famous chocolate store which sells reallllyyyyy good chocolate. I mean realllllyyyy good. Well obviously I went for the economical path, box of 28 chocolate squares for 13 Euros.
If you stop by the chocolate shop, you will have to U-turn and head back to the Place du Palais. Look out for Rue Col-Bellando-De-Castro. Walk along this photogenic street and you will see the Cathedrale immediately. There is also the old court house beside the building. If you decide to go inside, remember to keep very silent. Something really interesting is that to the end of the cathedral are where the royalties of Monaco are buried. Yes they are buried inside the church.
- Jardins Saint-Martin
Stepping out of the cathedral, there is a small path that leads you to this garden, and where I took the photo above. Seems familiar? 😉 This is where you could take amazing photos of Monaco, the sea, the sky and the whole landscape. It’s like an iconic moment here so don’t miss out! But beware of tree trunks that grow in weird orientations, one of my friends slammed her face right onto the tree trunk and I guess I need not explain further.
- Oceanographic museum (Musee Oceanographique et Aquarium)
Walk along the path and you will see this building that is connected with the rocks of the cliff facing the sea. That is the famous oceanographic museum that displays interesting artefacts and displays of the marine life. Unfortunately I did not have to opportunity to visit it, but please don’t miss it, it’s like missing out Merlion in Singapore. Yes I was a stupid tourist I admit haha.
With the museum on your right, look out for this small pathway on your right that leads you to an open space. Walk along it and you have another photogenic spot. But hehe this is not the place I want to bring you to. Continue to walk further and you will reach the fortress. I mean like really stones and castle like structures. If you are into Game of Thrones I’m sure you will go gaga over it.
- Harbour/Port Hercule
Walk down the stairs from the Fort, and you will reach the harbour where all the yachts dock. There is also the Quai Rainier III which you can just see the sea view and feel the sea breeze. Ahhhh. If you manage to complete this by 5:30 or 6pm, why not stop a while and enjoy the sunset?
I think it’s safe to say you have completed a simple trail but you would have seen so much in a day you won’t even believe it yourself. So how’s my small introduction of Monaco? This is really just a teaser, I will share more in the coming posts so look out for them!