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Nice to Monaco
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Sightseeing in Monaco is primarily divided between Monaco-Ville or Monaco's Old Town and Monte Carlo. Other districts in Monaco are Fontvieille, La Condamine and Larvotto. As Monaco is very much a work-in-progress with land constantly being reclaimed from the sea and developed the layout of this little country is erratic. There are some great walks in Monaco but to go from district to district, it's best to drive or use the excellent public transportation system. Much of Monaco can be seen in a long day but you won't run out of things to see if you stay for a few days. Here are Monaco's top sights:
Is there another place on earth more glamorous than Monte Carlo? I don't think so. Its luster is undimmed by a constant stream of tourists from every corner of the world. A procession of legendary cars, designer-clad women and sun-burnished tycoons swirl around a central square that has served as a backdrop for countless movies, fashion shoots and commercials. The two crown jewels are the Monte Carlo Casino and the Hotel de Paris, both constructed in ornate Belle-Epoque style. It's free to walk into the entrance hall of the Monte Carlo Casino and well worth it; entrance to the gaming rooms requires a fee and photo ID. Slot machines to the right of the entrance require a minimum €5. Otherwise, you can try your luck at the free Casino du Cafe de Paris which include American roulette, Blackjack, Craps and slot machines. A drink on the terrace of the Cafe de Paris is a must for world-class people-watching. In wet weather, the stylish interior is just as pleasant.
The heart of Old Monaco is Monaco-Ville, a neatly laid-out village of impeccably groomed pastel houses high over the sea. Trolling the three streets for souvenirs is a popular activity but the main highlight is the Prince's Palace. The massive exterior courtyard is impressive and you can tour the public rooms from June to October. There is a changing of the guard daily at 11.55am. From the Palace courtyard, there's an excellent view over Monaco's port.
Another highlight is the Cathedral where Princess Grace and Prince Rainier are buried. This gleaming Cathedral was built from stone quarried in La Turbie.
Oceanographic Museum and Aquarium
Founded in 1910 by the sea-loving Prince Albert I, the oceanographic museum is an important marine research center with a stunning Aquarium. The 90 pools transport the visitor directly into oceanic splendor with a vast array of fish. Don't miss the Shark Lagoon of 450 cubic meters which recreates the life of a coral reef. The Museum also hosts special artistic or scientific exhibitions.
Plastered to the rocky hillside, the Exotic Gardens contain thousands of succulent plants which flower year-round. There's also caves wtih stalactites and stalagmites plus a Museum of Prehistoric Anthropology.
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