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My last trip to Monaco was more than 40 years ago!


I was teaching English as a second language in Grenoble and jumped on a train at the beginning of November to take advantage of the school break called “la Toussaint”| All Saints.


The weather was glorious even at that time of year.


For me back then, Monaco was the stuff of Hollywood movies and fairy tales.


It was Grace Kelly and the princesses, especially her impossibly beautiful daughter Princess Caroline who was around the same age as me.


Princess Caroline circa 1975/Things to Do in Monaco|Google images


I remember thinking they live here, and I am here!


Of course, I did not see them on that visit but it didn’t matter.


Because I knew they were there, somewhere.


View of Port de Fontveille from the Palace|Things To Do In Monaco


View of Port Hercule|Things to Do in Monaco

Principality of Monaco


Monaco was then as it is today a canvas of extravagance, home to the Monégasquesthe original inhabitants, living alongside the transplanted ultra-rich. While the trappings of wealth are

everywhere, the residents themselves seem to be hidden in their magnificent houses and apartments that climb the cliffs, providing the perfect view of their superyachts and the deep blue of the



In this respect, it has not changed, except that there is more of everything, more yachts, traffic, tourists, and towering condo buildings where real estate prices run more than $5000 USD a

square foot.


This tiny sovereign city-state is one of the world’s wealthiest and most expensive places to live packed into only 2.1 square kilometres (less than 1 square mile) positioned west of Nice with Italy to the east.


Flowers seem to be in bloom all year round|Things to Do in Monaco


Monaco enjoys 300 days of sunshine year-round so it is a great destination to visit any time of year.

Things To Do In Monaco


1. Walk


Right out of the train station, start walking as I did taking the sidewalk to the left along the Grand Prix route but then veering off to the right to hug the shoreline high above the harbour. The views are simply breathtaking.


2.  Take a Photo in Front of the Monte Carlo Casino


I made my way to Monte Carlo which is the area of Monaco around the famous casino.


This is the ideal setting for people-watching and sneaking a photo of oneself next to one of the many luxury cars out front, as I did.

(Thanks to my BF Shardie who took the picture in front of the Rolls!)


The square was teeming with visitors and there was a lovely open-air café that seemed inviting.  However, with such a big lineup we decided to pass and walk around the commercial part of the town

where all the high-end boutiques were located.  Warning: You will need a credit card with a very high limit!


View of the Palace Square|Things to Do in Monaco


3.  Monaco’s Old Town


Buses are plentiful in Monaco so then we hopped on one that took us to the other side of the harbour into the old town.


This is where the palace is located, and the Place du Palais, the grand square where at 11:55 am every day you can watch the changing of the guard.


Side view of the Palace|Things to Do in Monaco


Guarding the Palace entrance|Things to Do in Monaco


Monaco is under the constitutional monarchy of the House of Grimaldi, and Prince Albert I, Princess Caroline’s brother.


Like on my former trip, I imagined the prince might be only several hundred feet away from me, somewhere in there!


Lunch at L’Express in the Old Town, Monaco


4. Enjoy Lunch Al Fresco


Behind the square is a labyrinth of cobbled streets with small shops and restaurants.


It was busy but at L’Express, they were only happy to find us a table where we enjoyed a pizza (Italy is right next door remember) and a delicious salad with goat cheese toast.




Bon Appétit!|Things to Do in Monaco

Salad with Goat Cheese Toast

5. Get off The Beaten Track


Take some time to wander away from the tourists.  This was the best part of the day for me.


To the left below the palace square, is the Cathédrale de Monaco built in the late 19 century where Princess Grace is buried.


The Monaco Cathedrale|Things to Do in Monaco


Nearby are gorgeous gardens, such as Le Jardins St. Martins with various lookout points out to the Mediterranean.


But the biggest surprise of the day was the architecture and landscaping around the government building  Le Ministère d’État building on Rue Rocher.





Landscaping on the Ministry of State grounds


Spectacular views of Monte Carlo|Things to Do in Monaco


In front of the government building



It was a holiday and there was absolutely no one around so we were unhampered from admiring the sculptures, the terraces, the fountains and the beautiful gardens.


It was one of those days that when you get back on the train, you feel like you have really lived that day, and filled up your soul.


Note: If I had more time I would have paid a visit to the Musée océanographique de Monaco.  It is a gorgeous-looking structure built right into the rock on the side of the cliff!


(On my list for the next trip)



Map of our route around Monaco. With a stop for lunch, it was a full 6-hour day from arriving to leaving! Most of it walking except for taking the bus from one side of the harbour to the old town.|Things to Do In Monaco


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At the famous restaurant in Paris Les Deux Magots!


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  1. Kelly on October 23, 2022 at 8:10 am

    What a lovely trip around Monaco! I was there in March of 1978 as a 17 year old with a high school tour group. I remember walking along the beautiful marina and having pizza for lunch. We also watched the changing of the guard and heard a tour guide’s account of the royal family’s life and duties. Thanks for bringing back those memories. Also, thank you again for gifting me with the book Seven Letters from Paris! I thoroughly enjoyed it and am now sharing it with my daughter.

    • Diana Bishop on October 25, 2022 at 9:29 am

      I am so glad you enjoyed it, Kelly. It is a great story, and they are still together!
      Thank you so much for the comment, Diana

  2. Catherine Willis-O'Connor on October 23, 2022 at 8:23 am

    Sounds like a fantastic place to visit

  3. Doris Squires on October 23, 2022 at 9:23 am

    Have been there twice, each time the weather was beautiful. Loved the harbour with all the beautiful yachts. First time I was only 29 and the last time was five years ago. It never changes. Hoped to see some royalty but I guess they were all busy. How the rich and famous live! Beautiful. We were on the road where they have the Monaco car race..

    • Diana Bishop on October 25, 2022 at 9:30 am

      It is a magical place. It is busier than it used to be but still so worth a trip.
      Best to Doris. Hope you have some adventures planned in the near future. And thank you for the comment.
      As always I love hearing from you, Diana

  4. Gretchen Greene O'Brien on October 23, 2022 at 9:32 am

    I, too, have been to Monaco and was struck by its beauty / its size / and its history! Was a teenager then – so memories have dimmed somewhat. Seeing your pictures and where you & your BFF walked, was most enjoyable. Thanks, Diana.

    • Diana Bishop on October 25, 2022 at 9:31 am

      Seems we all made it to Monaco in our youth! Going back now I appreciate it even more.
      Thanks Gretchen, Diana

  5. Monica Campbell on October 23, 2022 at 10:35 am

    Back in 1967 I visited my French pen pal, Marie, in Beausoleil, one of the villages on the hillside in Monte Carlo.
    We took a bus into Monaco where we watched one of the annual concerts which the Americans put on in honour of Princess Grace…it was held at the outdoor theatre…just about 5 or 6 rows ahead of us was Prince Rainier and the young Prince Albert…I was too respectful to take a photo without their permission but now wish I had had more gumption!
    I also remember the small zoo which was built into the cliff face…
    It was a memorable holiday…Monica

    • Diana Bishop on October 25, 2022 at 9:32 am

      You did see royalty! Lucky you Monica. How thrilling. What a memory to have and thank you so much for sharing it.


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