Monaco – One way to do

My wife and I recently made a port visit to Monaco while cruising on P&O’s Britannia. This edition in my series of “One Way To Do….” covers how we spent a full day covering the sights of the Principality.

For Britannia Monaco was a ‘tender’ port. Tender allocation was efficient and we were fortunate enough to ensure that we were on the first tender ashore.

Tenders at Monaco berth just inside the breakwater at a spot relatively convenient for whichever part of Monaco one may intend to see first, whether it be the historical area of Le Rocher or the more glamorous Monte Carlo district

Though not of interest to us the local Ho-Ho buses have a convenient stop at the tender berth…

Our plan for the day was to visit the Le Rocher Secteur first and hopefully capture a few photographs of the Royal Palace before the major influx of tourists arrived.

 

There is a convenient, well signposted zig zag walkway from the harbour to the top of Le Rocher which  begins not far from the monument to that greatest of racing drivers, Fangio

And so onwards and upwards…

There are public conveniences on the route, the odd statue to Prince Rainier III…

…and some excellent spots for enjoying the view across the harbour and on to Monte Carlo…

 

…though of course, the view from the top is the one to aspire to…

 

We were in luck, the square in front of the Palace was perfect for that full on ‘tourist-free’ view…

Until, that is…

On entering the Palace Forecourt there is a memorable statue of François Grimaldi which commemorates his capture of the fortress disguised as a monk in 1297…

 

Once away from the Palace our luck deserted us at Monaco’s  Palais de Justice – Court House –  just a short distance from the Royal Palace…

 

An architectural gem, it was, of course, open for business on the day of our visit as was Monaco’s Cathédrale Notre-Dame-Immaculée: also known as Saint Nicholas Cathedral and resting place of Princess Grace and Prince Ranier III, just a stones throw from the Court House…

The cathedral was open and we found the interior quite magnificent…

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Our Cathedral visit complete we turned left on exiting and followed the public road, Avenue Saint-Martin ….

…in the direction of the Oceanographic Museum (seen above in the distance) and here a little closer….

*****

 

The yellow submarine, named Submarine Anorep 1, was built in 1966, the same year that the Beatle’s song was released as a single. It also has a striking similarity  to the one in their 1969 album and movie.

However, it was actually the first submarine of Jacques Cousteau. It stands in front of the Oceanographic Museum as an eye catching announcement for the Oceanographic Museum’s Twitter account @OceanoMC.

Continuing further along the Avenue Saint-Martin we reached Port Neuve, an open park area that is also the home of Fort Antoine…

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Fort Antoine is also the venue for open air concerts…

Back in the park above Fort Antoine we enjoyed placing ourselves in the frame, so as to speak…

*****

But enough of this tom foolery, we have other sites to see.

We retraced our steps as far as the Oceanographic Museum and then entered the ‘Jardin de Saint-Martin’, another park sitting high on the cliff top, with many statues and some cracking good views…

Statues include Prince Albert the Seafarer

The enigmatic Le Carrefour de la Vie – ‘The crossroads of life’ – by Swiss Sculptor Edouard-Marcel Sandoz…

and Maryse au Miroir or Le Temps Inalterable by the French Sculptor, Cyril de la Patelliere…

Not to mention a view of the south western facing Oceanographic Museums seaward side…

…and from the opposite end of the garden Saint-Martin, this view over what is loosely described as the Old Harbour…

We ventured back into the Le Rocher township for a wander along the ancient narrow streets full of bustling cafes, restaurants and shops…

Found the Marie

…and, hidden away in the warren of streets,  La Chapelle de la Miséricorde ‘Chapel of Mercy…

also with a rather stunning interior…

At the heart of the old town, on the Town Hall Square, the Chapel of Mercy was built in the mid seventeenth century in baroque style. It remains the property of the Brotherhood of the Black Penitents. The chapel retains some masterpieces, amongst them a Christ carved in wood by the Monegasque François-Joseph Bosio, official sculptor of Emperor Napoleon I,  and a polychrome marble altar.

 

A point of interest here regarding cafes and the internet. The Cafes that sit on the Princes Palace Forecourt are by law not allowed to offer free internet wifi. The cafes and restaurants that are situated in the streets between the Palace and the Oceanographic Museum do. For those who may require a wifi service this area is the one to have that coffee.

That concluded our visit to ‘Le Rocher’ and we now headed back down the zig-zag path where we would pick up the signposts that were to take us to our next visit…

…the Jardin Exotique.

In existence since 1933 and  beautifully located on a rocky cliff overlooking the Sea, Le Rocher and the Fontvielle Secteur, the garden has a remarkable panoramic view over the Principality of Monaco and offers an opportunity to discover nearly a thousand plant varieties from semi-arid environments, including the world’s second largest cacti collection.

From the harbourside the walk to the gardens takes approximately 25 minutes using a series of public lifts…

and many more signposts…

Alternatively it is possible to catch a local bus for the 10 minute journey.

Admission for the two of us to Jardin Exotique was €11.00…

*****

The admission ticket includes a guided tour of the Grotte Observatories

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Incorporated into the garden’s landscape on one of the lower path levels is the entrance to the grotto…

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And so we entered, a group of six and a guide…

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On completion of our Grotte tour we took the next available service bus from the Jardin entrance to the district of Monte Carlo and the Cafe de Paris for the must have coffee stop…

 

A circular tour of the Casino is of course also a must…

The side elevation…

and not forgetting the sea facing aspect…

Indeed the waterfront offers some pretty interesting sites. The statues of Adam and Eve…

The Fairmont Hairpin, the worlds most famous bend…

and the opportunity to view the eastern coastline…

…before heading back to the harbour and a quick glimpse of the three prestigious hotels in the area – the Metropole Hotel…

The Hotel de Paris…

…and The Hermitage…

Our walk down the Avenue d’Ostende  to the harbour threw up two more interesting pieces, this sculpture of ‘Tebe in Costume’ by the self taught Italian sculptor, Giacomo Manzu…

…and this fitting memorial to William Grover Williams, the famous racing driver who won the first Monte Carlo Grand Prix and whose fame was synonymous with his ‘British Racing Green’ Bugatti…

Readers may recall that while high on Le Rocher we looked down on the old harbour. Finding ourselves with a few hours to spare we decided to explore that harbour area which is actually located in Fontvieille, the newest of the four traditional quarters (districts) in Monaco and which we over looked from the Jardin Exotique…

From the harbour side it is probably an easy 15 minute walk to reach the Rainier III Esplanade in Fontvielle…

On the Esplanade are may cafes, restaurants and shops but also the Museum of Antique Automobiles

 

 

…and the Monaco Naval Museum…

But the walk along the harbour wall is also great fun. So many motor yachts from so many countries and, as one looks up, guess who is looking down…

Yep, you can’t get far in Monaco without spotting a statue of a Prince.

There is of course one great photo opportunity not to be missed from the Old Harbour, a view with a difference and obviously, for those who appreciate a good angle, a better way to do the Oceanographic Museum and aquarium…

…get the angle right and one can even include one’s cruise ship…

 

 

Monaco is a great place to visit and this review hopefully shows just what can be achieved in a day. The walk back to the harbour and the tender jetty threw up two more images of Monaco that weren’t linked to the Grimaldi family, this portable fire pump

…and a final reminder of Monaco’s place in the motor racing world, Fangio

 

If you have enjoyed this review of Monaco and would like to be amongst the first to hear of new reviews ( which will soon include Oporto and Cartagena,  as well as a number of Australian ports of call)  why not join the many other followers by clicking on the ‘Follow’ link on the front page.

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8 responses to “Monaco – One way to do

  1. Absolutely fabulous blog, brilliant photos.  Its been at least 10 years since we went to Monaco , it brought back happy memories.  Well done and keep blogging xx

    Sent from Samsung tablet

  2. a very good way to do Monaco Richard,i bet you had a good nights sleep after that,it was a lot to do in a day.did find one small thing i know its called The Fairmont Hairpin now, the worlds most famous hairpin bend…but F1 fan’s only know it as loews corner after the first hotel there

  3. I am new to this Blog. Richard, how do you do it?! How do you get such good photos? Do you spend your life cruising? I imaging you’re a great travel companion. I am going to save your blogs as my travel guides!! Thankyou.

  4. It is such a long time since I was last in Monaco, I had forgotten how lovely it is and how much there is to see. I am always amazed how much you fit into in the short time you have there, especially if on a cruise and only there one day. Good research in advance I guess is a the best way to get around and make the most of your day. Super photos as always. Carry on cruising.

  5. It must be many years since I last visited Monaco. I had forgotten how lovely it is, and how much there is to see. You always amaze me how much you fit in during your short time ashore if on a cruise. Good planning is the key and you do that well I guess. Lovely stunning photos as always. Carry on Cruising!

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