After a great few days in Nice, it was time to head on to Monte Carlo. The train journey between the two is about 30 minutes, and trust me, it’s a million times better than your commute in the UK! The train works its way up along the coast, meaning you can spend the whole trip gazing at a bright blue sea and yachts. Definitely had worse train rides.
Where we stayed
As I already mentioned in my Nice post, hotels in Monte Carlo aren’t cheap. I found the Columbus hotel on Booking.Com, but then found that it was actually cheaper to book directly. It was probably the best value one that I came across whilst hunting around. The hotel is a 3/4 star, located near the heliport, about a 30 minute walk away from the main casinos. The decor in the rooms is a little bit worn, but the rooms are nicely decorated, very clean and a good size. The hotel is actually going through a bit of a refurb at the moment, so I imagine that if you visit next year then it will be even better! Another reason for picking the hotel was because it had a good size pool area, perfect for a bit of R&R before heading out for a night at the casino.
What we did
There’s not a huge list of things to tick-off when you go to Monte Carlo. It’s more the sort of place where you just walk around and stare longingly at the supercars and yachts, whilst wondering how many organs you may need to sell in order to be able to afford one! But anyhow, here’s what we did…
- Strolled around Port de Fontvieille – located near our hotel, this port has some of the more affordable yachts (read: still massively pricy but perhaps more achievable. Who am I kidding, they’re still insanely expensive!) Still, it’s nice to be able to walk around this pretty harbour, sheltered by the cliffs and daydream about your life of sipping champagne on the deck whilst someone cooks you up a top-notch meal.
- Had a flutter at the Casino de Monte-Carlo – on the evening of the boy’s 30th, we donned our glad rags and headed to the casino. The amount of people on the outside made me think that perhaps there was a strict entrance policy, but we just walked straight in. Whilst I do think that there is a smart dress code (some women were in ballgowns!), I did see some people in jeans. The entrance fee was about €17 each and you do need to take a passport for ID. Once inside, the drinks are relatively cheap and the people at the tables are really friendly and realise that perhaps you’re not a seasoned gambler and so will help you to understand the games. It’s worth a visit just to see the interior, it’s stunning!
- Climbed the steps to see the Palais Princier – located on top of the hills that look over the city, it’s easy to miss this. When you get to the top, you not only get to see the palace, but also get to take in the beautiful views of the city and the Med.
- Took in the cute cobbled streets in Monaco-Ville – turns out that at the top of the hill where the palace is, there’s also an entire town! This was probably my favourite part of Monte-Carlo. Full of pretty buildings, cute hidden street and then the odd beautiful view of the city below – it’s definitely worth the steps to visit it.
Like Nice, it was probably about 30 degrees during the day. On our second day, it started off with bright blue sky and then very quickly clouded over and rained. Luckily, it’s so warm that the rain does dry off pretty quickly but I was more surprised by how quickly the weather changed.
Monte-Carlo isn’t the sort of place that you’d visit over and over (unless you had a yacht there or were a big gambler), but it’s a beautiful place to go. It’s the perfect trip for pretending that you’re living the high life for a few days. It has (mostly) good weather, stunning views and good food/wine. What’s not to like?!