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.

Where is Monaco and How to Get There?

Monaco is the second smallest country in the world, and yet is among the most famous. Well it’s not really a surprise. Despite being barely seen in the map, the Principality of Monaco is packed with sights and entertainment – truly, there’s just a lot of things a visitor can do to make the most of the Principality.

What Brings Folks to Monaco?

Entertainment is the primary reason that drives people to Monaco, fueling the country’s tourist driven economy. Visitors get their dose of recreation by visiting attractions like the Rock and the marina, seeing the Monaco Grand Prix if they happen to come at the right time of the year, or enjoying in Monte Carlo’s entertainment complex. Meanwhile, many people – especially wealthy individuals – come and never leave, owing to the fact that Monaco does not levy income tax from its residents.

You as well might want to travel to Monaco for leisure or to stay there for good. However, if you’re no European or is simply not into world political geography, you’ll inevitably ask the question, “Where is Monaco?”

Exactly Where is Monaco?

If you are looking for Monaco in any world map, you’re guaranteed to have a hard time if you have no idea where on Europe it is. Even if you do find it, you won’t be certain of its exact location. That said, the Principality’s coordinates are 43°43′N 7°25′E.
Not that good with geographic coordinates and is still asking where is Monaco? Well Monaco is simply located somewhere along France’s southeastern coasts, 16 km east of Italy. The region on which Monaco is located is called the French Riviera, which is a geographic division denoting the Mediterranean shoreline along and near southeastern France.

Getting to Monaco

Monaco is very accessible for a small country with no room for sea- and airports. There are several ways to get to Monaco, some of which does not necessarily have to drop you straight into the city state.

  • By road. Western Europe has an excellent road network which you can use to get to Monaco. Purchasing a local road map helps if you plan to go by car, as well as knowledge on which routes to travel cheapest or quickest.
  • By rail. You can hop into Eurostar or National trains from any major European city to Paris, from which you take a TGV train to Nice, France. From Nice, you can ride a local train that heads straight to Monaco.
  • By plane. The Nice Cote d’Azur is the closest airport to the Principality. If you’re planning to fly to Monaco, this should be your drop off point, from which you can ride a taxi, bus, train or chopper to the city state.
  • By ship. You can get to Monaco by sea if you have your own vessel or can afford cruise ships operating around Monaco. Otherwise, you can always sail via a commercial ferry to major ports in southern France, then head to the Principality by road or rail.

Monaco is small and locked in by surrounding terrain, but isn’t that hard to find if you have the right idea of its location. The independent city state is also very accessible, thanks to Europe’s efficient transport system.