Monaco needs no introduction. I am also sure Monaco does not need another blog post written about it. The world knows that Monaco is the home of the rich and glamorous, that it hosts one of the best grand prix races of the season, that you can see fancy mega yachts that the average person can’t even imagine could be so amazing. Monaco is all that, and for the average tourist who spends half a day there on a bus tour, or comes off a cruise for a 3 hour tour, that is what they will see – the harbour full of superyachts, the old town with the royal palace, and perhaps a check in at the casino. But stay a few days and there are little pockets of the ‘average’. Go to the same restaurant a few times out of the main harbour area and you’ll meet waiters that will remember you from the day before and find you a table even though its packed with locals. Walk from Cap d’Ail and you’ll pass the hospital, the car dealerships, the mechanics, the every day mundane businesses that every city needs, even one that is all glitz like Monaco. There is even the good old shopping mall of Fontvielle, complete with McDonalds for those that need it.
We were most fortunate to be staying a week just outside of Monaco in Cap d’Ail. For us it meant that we could take our time with Monaco. We ended up going into the city nearly every day. It was nice to go early before the heat to explore the old town and its palace and narrow streets. After a day exploring Nice we went back to Monaco for dinner and take a stroll around the harbour at night. On the day that was looking a bit sketchy weatherwise we went to the aquarium. Don’t forget the exotic garden at the very top of Monaco either – its views are outstanding!
Basically, give Monaco more time than the 3 hour rush off a cruise ship if you can. It isnt all the rush and glitz of a big city. Take the time to explore the local market at Place d’Armes, enjoy a coffee nearby with the locals, stroll the streets and enjoy the spectacle of the rich and famous with their little poodle dogs decked out in Louis Vuitton.