My brother and I have this tradition of travelling with the ‘excuse’ to see tennis. Two years ago we went to New York for the US Open and this year we decided to go ‘small’ and head off to Monaco.
WHERE TO STAY
Monaco is notoriously very expensive – I think I’ve seen more Ferrari and Porsche here to last me a life time! So to stay relatively on a budget we decided to stay in Beausoleil – just outside Monaco at the Hotel Le Forum which is 10 minutes away by foot from Monte Carlo Station. If we had more time however, I would have loved to stay in Nice which is very well connected to Monaco through buses and trains.
WHAT TO DO
As one day was entirely devoted to the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters Final, we decided to get on one of those Hop-On Hop-Off buses and have a look around the city. I know some people are against these kind of touristy things, but I feel that if you don’t have a lot of time to spend in a city is a good way to get a feel and an overview of the place.
My favourites have to be the Casino which is worth a visit even though you are not a gambler – which I’m not, the view of the French Riviera but my absolute favourite were the Japanese Gardens. It’s free to enter as it is a regular park, but it’s extremely well done as it feels like you’re in Japan but then you look around and see all these tall residential buildings. An absolute dream!
WHERE TO EAT
As for the accommodation, we tried to stay on a budget as much as possible. However, I managed to stray my brother and convince him to have calamari which I was dying to eat. We had dinner at Le Huit et Demi – a very nice restaurant I noticed in the pedestrian street when we stopped by for ice cream at L’Atelier du Glacier which you have to try if you are in the area!
Huit et Demi wasn’t cheap but if you’re trying to stay on a budget, you can get away with an entrée and dessert as their portions are quite generous.
All in all, I really enjoyed the city despite the weather which wasn’t as sunny as I would have hoped. If you’re not interested in sports cars and opulence, I would suggest you don’t make Monaco the main destination of your trip, but rather a pit-stop on your way to South of France or North of Italy.