Monaco, which lies in the French Riviera on the Mediterranean Sea, is surrounded by France and close to Italy. It is known internationally as a playground for the rich and famous. The city district Monte Carlo is famous for its casinos, gambling, glamour, luxurious yachts and frequent sightings of celebrities. The permanent population is only about 3,000, and the principality can easily be explored on foot.
Monte Carlo is home to most of the Circuit de Monaco, on which the Formula One Monaco Grand Prix takes place. Although the Monte Carlo Masters tennis tournament is billed as taking place in the community, its actual location is in the adjacent French commune of Roquebrune-Cap-Martin. The Monte Carlo Rally is one of the longest running and most respected car rallies, and marks the start of each rally season as the first event on the World Rally Championship calendar, but the rally takes place outside the Monte Carlo quarter.
Monte Carlo is one of Europe’s leading tourist resorts, although many of the key tourist destinations are located in other parts of Monaco, including such attractions as Monaco Cathedral, the Napoleon Museum, the Oceanographic Museum and Aquarium, and the Prince’s Palace.
We always try to have a Monaco/Monte Carlo stopover when we visit the French Riviera for a relaxed week of cycling or to scuba dive in nearby Saint-Tropez. A true highlight is a stay at the Hotel Hermitage. Behind its corbelled facade decorated with frescoes and perched above the port, the Hermitage harbors a few masterpieces, such as the Salle Belle Époque with its pink marble columns and its crystal chandeliers, and a winter garden topped with a spectacular glass and steel dome designed by Gustave Eiffel (see pictures to the left and above). With its direct access to the Thermes Marins de Monte-Carlo, the Hotel Hermitage is the ideal place to lend your stay a sense of well-being and refinement.