Victoria Trott is a freelance travel writer who specializes in France. A former resident of the Côte d’Azur, she is co-author of Frommer’s Provence & the Côte d’Azur with your Family and has updated many guidebooks on the region. Her favorite thing to do in Monaco is take in the views over the coast from the Place du Palais.
One of the most glamorous destinations in the world, Monaco is best known for its annual Formula One Grand Prix. Each May, thousands of people line the streets of the world’s second smallest country to spend a few hours watching two dozen drivers race around the narrow, twisty, two-mile course.
Described by actor Jack Nicholson as “Alcatraz for the rich” and by writer Somerset Maugham as “a sunny place for shady people,” the Principality of Monaco is worth a day of anyone’s time – especially if you want to follow in the footsteps (or tire tracks) of the world’s best racing drivers.
Five Incredible Car Experiences in Monaco
1. What better way to see Monaco than from the passenger seat of a Ferrari? Liven Up offers 15-, 30- and 60-minute tours of the Principality, including the Formula One route and surrounding corniches (vertiginous coastal roads), from €69.
2. Monaco is governed by Prince Albert II, whose father, the late Prince Rainier, amassed a collection of 100 vintage cars. Models range from a 1903 De Dion Bouton to a hackney carriage used by Albert’s mother, the late Princess Grace. For information about visiting, see www.palais.mc
3. Ever fancied owning a helmet belonging the great Ayrton Senna or an overall worn by seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher? Monalisa Motorsport has a wide variety of memorabilia with posters starting at around €20.
4. Overlooking the luxury yachts in the port of Fontvieille, chic Hotel Columbus is the ideal place to rub shoulders with the Formula One community – it was once owned by David Coulthard and is now a popular base for visiting drivers and racing teams. Rooms start at €145, but if money’s tight, head to the cocktail bar for a drink in stylish surroundings.
5. Monaco is home to some of the world’s best restaurants, but the racing drivers like to keep things simple. Hidden away down a back street in the Larvotto area, Pulcinella serves delicious Italian food on a shady terrace or in a dining room decorated with photos of its famous regulars. Stars ‘n’ Bars, which has hosted many post-race parties, is an American-style diner with big-screen TVs and great views over the old port.
Featured Image: Monaco (Shutterstock.com)