Monaco-ville – A Monaco Travel Hotspot

If you’re in a Euro-trip, make sure you take time to visit the Principality of Monaco. This city truly is a rare pearl washed ashore on to the southwestern European coast. For its size, the city has quite a lot to offer, from great entertainment to a plethora of beautiful sights.

Monaco is a mix of the old and the new. On one hand, you’ll find age old architecture and a medieval stone fortress. On the other, you’ll see modern high rises that seem to compete with the aesthetics of the older edifices. From this you can judge that the Grimaldi House has done its job well, having introduced modern innovation without necessarily displacing its precedents.

Looking at the Monegasque cityscape, you’ll notice one huge rock that dominates the horizon. This huge hunk of stone is aptly called Le Rocher (The Rock), also known in its more proper name as Monaco-ville. Now Monaco-ville is not the capital of Monaco in any known sense – it is but one of the city’s four traditional divisions, and is not even a full-fledged town given its modern ward status.

From a distance, Monaco-ville looks like an impregnable fortified hill town from the Middle Ages. A closer look reveals a mix of modern and bygone architecture behind the city’s age old walls. Almost obscured in this blend are several important Monaco travel hotspots. Such are the following.

Chapelle de la Misericorde

Literally meaning the “chapel of graciousness”, the Chapelle de la Misericorde ranks among the oldest structures in the entire principality. Having been built in 1639, the chapel is a masterpiece from its elaborately designed interior to its well-maintained façade. The chapel’s highlight comes every Good Friday eve, as it is the starting point of a local, religious procession.

Oceanographic Museum

Inaugurated by Prince Albert I in 1901, the Oceanographic Museum is an impressively artistic architectural work that dominates Monaco-ville’s coastline. The museum houses an aquarium and various skeletal and preserved remains of marine fauna.

Saint Nicholas Cathedral

The Saint Nicholas Cathedral, also known in its long French name as Cathédrale Notre-Dame-Immaculée, is another magnificent building. Consecrated in 1875, the cathedral has since become a resting place for members of the Grimaldi House. It’s most notable features include the white marble Episcopal Throne, the church’s retablo, and the Great Altar. Pontifical services are held in this house of worship during religious festivals.

Palais Princier

Last but not the least is the Palais Princier, the home of the Prince of Monaco himself. This structure, arguably one of the most important Monaco travel destinations, stands out when compared to other European royal residences. The Grimaldi palace, instead of demonstrating pomp and rich aesthetics, is instead built with the protection a castle can offer in mind. In other words the Palais is more like a fortification, owing to its history of having been frequently besieged by other states. The palace has seen much renovation throughout its history, serving as the reflection of the Grimaldis’ increasing power and wealth.

These are but the major attractions in a rather small section of the principality. If you take time to explore the city, you’ll be able to find more of these Monaco travel destinations that can surely satisfy that craving for awe-inspiring sights.

Monaco Grand Prix – A True Test of Driving Prowess

People have a lot of reasons to come to Monaco. There are those who come to see the sights, there are those who simply want to engage in the city’s recreational activities, while there are those who come seeking for good entertainment. Enjoying some of Monte Carlo’s amusement can fulfill the last and the one preceding it. Failing that, visitors can always schedule their trip to that time of the year when the Monaco Grand Prix is held.

Racing is the one thing aside from entertainment that made Monaco famous. The fact that the Grand Prix attracts a multitude of spectators and racers every year is evident of this. Indeed, one of the first things that comes to mind whenever the words “Monte Carlo” or “Monaco” is mentioned is “Formula One”.

History of the Grand Prix and Formula One

The Prix was first organized in 1929 by Anthony Noghes. This was done under the patronage of the Automobile Club of Monaco. Soon after, the first Grand Prix was held, and the competitions went on until war broke out in 1939. The races resumed in September 1945, around four months after the war, a few years after which the Formula One category was introduced.

Significance of the Prix

The Monaco Grand Prix is ranked among the most important and prestigious automobile races, the others being the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Indianapolis 500. The Prix is held yearly on the Circuit de Monaco. This circuit is laid out on the streets of the city, often in the municipality of Monte Carlo. The course tends to be narrow and twisty, often including a single tunnel.

This set up makes the race notoriously more complicated than any held in normal tracks. Thus, it takes a greater amount of care on the side of the driver, whose skill is deemed a lot more important than his vehicle’s power and speed. Hence, the Grand Prix is known as the slowest and yet the most difficult World Formula One Championship.

A Look into the Circuit de Monaco

To understand the intricacy of the race, we should start with the circuit. As previously mentioned, the Circuit de Monaco is laid out on the city’s streets. The course is narrow and has a great variety of features like slopes, tight corners, and seemingly random twists and turns.

The circuit is known to contain both the quickest and the slowest corners in racing. The Fairmont hairpin, the slowest, takes around 46 km/h to pass through, while the fastest corner located inside the tunnel can be taken at around 260 km/h. Speaking of which, the tunnel is known to add a lot more difficulty to the race. Passing through makes drivers undergo a disorienting switch from bright to dark environments, and vice versa.

The Monaco Grand Prix truly is a punishing test of skill for Formula One drivers, which is the very reason why many of them kept on coming back to compete. As for the spectators, well let’s just say they’ve just taken part in a very thrilling, one-of-a-kind experience.