I’ve lived in Monte Carlo for 26 years. I was born in Milan, but moved to Monaco with my family when I was little. Since then, I have made so many amazing memories there, including my wedding. Monte Carlo is a small city, only 2km², but it has a lot to offer. Firstly, the geographical position makes it ideal, as it’s situated by the Mediterranean Sea, and it’s also an hour’s drive from the mountains, so you can enjoy all the sea has to offer in the summer and go skiing in the winter. I like Limone Piemonte, which is on the Italian side, about an hour-and-a-half’s drive from Monaco. I go as often as I can during the winter, mostly for the weekend.
The best thing about Monte Carlo is the weather, because it’s always sunny; I suggest visiting Monte Carlo between April and October, because the social calendar is at its fullest. There is something different happening every week: the Tennis Masters, Formula One Grand Prix, Opera season, Bal de la Rose, Bal de la Croix Rouge, concerts, and ballet performances by artists from all over the world. Enjoy the Grand Prix at a private party on a yacht or in the Amber Lounge, but be sure not to miss the race!
I strongly recommend you bring ear plugs for the noise, and don’t forget your sunscreen. In terms of lodging, I suggest Hotel de Paris in the winter, and in the summer, Monte Carlo Bay because of the unbelievable lagoon swimming pool with sand.
My favourite restaurant depends on what I want to eat, but I would say the Maya Bay for the atmosphere. If I am looking for a quick coffee break, I go to Cova in Boulevard des Moulins, which has the best Italian coffee and pastries. For a good night out on the town, jet over to Sass café for dinner and then to Jimmy’z nightclub. Yacht Club is one of the best harbour-side bars, but it is members-only. Alternatively, there is the Quai des Artistes. For some retail therapy, the Casino Gardens or the Metropole Shopping Center have the best selection of designer brands: Chanel, Dior, Louis Vuitton; Valentino, Louboutin, and so forth.
The three things you must see are the Casino Square, the Prince’s Palace, and the harbour. Play in the casino, take a walk, and explore Monaco-Ville — Monaco old town — and have a drink at Café de Paris. If time allows, plan a day trip to Saint-Paul de Vence, one of the oldest and most beautiful medieval towns on the French Riviera — the scenery is breathtaking. Another worthwhile venture is to break out of “tourist mode” and visit the Condamine area, where you can interact with ordinary people from Monaco.