6 THINGS YOU MUST DO IN MONTE CARLO
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1. ARRIVE IN STYLE
The best way to reach Monaco is still in an Aston Martin DB5, twirling down the hairpin bends from the Alps. Alternatively, just buy the GoldenEye DVD and see how 007 does it. There is a more affordable grand entry – by helicopter from Nice airport.
2. FULL MONTE
The cathedral, where Princess Grace is buried, dominates the old town area, but there are many interesting little streets to delve down, all as neat as a pin. Alternatively, simply mill around outside the Opera House and the Casino (strict dress code if you want to play the tables naturally).
3. DIVE DEEP
Built in 1910, the Oceanographic Museum and Aquarium is perched like a palace atop a sheer 280ft cliff. Famous deep-diving explorer Jacques Cousteau was a former director. Belying its venerable exterior, the aquarium is urgently up-to-date. Staff are leading authorities on the troubled Mediterranean and tropical marine eco-systems. Head first for the enormous basement tank, fed with seawater, where officials are trying to create a coral reef. Then go to the roof, where the views are immense.
4. GRAND CENTRAL
If you stay in Monte Carlo, chances are it is to celebrate a special occasion. So you need somewhere luxurious. The Mediterranean palace illusion is maintained in the lobby. Sunlight entering the great glass dome bathes acres of tapestries, carpets and sofas in a kaleidoscope of warm colours. There’s a two Michelin-star restaurant here but we settled for a hot chocolate in the bar. It is so tasty!
5. GREEN PEACE
Walking around the steep centre of Monte Carlo, we found delicious acres of greenery in planted public gardens. The clifftop garden near the Town Hall provides a startling view of the old harbour. The current ruler, Prince Albert, funds a raft of eco-schemes.
6. FISH TABLE
You won’t find endangered bluefin tuna on the menu of the Japanese restaurant Yoshi, or any other table in Monaco for that matter. The principality leads the world by banishing the fish from its tables and calling for a worldwide ban on catches.
That night we ate on the L’Horizon Deck restaurant in the Fairmont Hotel.