Home to the most famously difficult Grand Prix of them all, superyachts and endless bling, we take in the exquisite luxury of the French Riviera.
Nothing screams F1 tradition quite like the Monte Carlo GP. With its perilous curves, the French Riviera’s circuit makes it nearly impossible for cars to overtake each other in its 78 laps of the lengthy 3337km circuit. This, along with the notoriously demanding conditions of F1 driving, make the Monaco GP one of the difficult race tracks out there, truly showcasing a pilot’s abilities – and making it all the more thrilling to watch.
But you know all of that already, don’t you? What you perhaps might not know are the best eateries, places to stay and things to do once the race is over – so buckle up and read ahead!
Places to Stay
During the Monaco Grand Prix weekend one is truly spoiled for choice when it comes to the large, ostentatious hotels which line up the jet-blue coast. But when it comes to the Grand Prix, a popular choice is to book a stay overlooking the tracks – ensuring you get views of the race from the comfort of your own suite. Popular options include the Hôtel de Paris or the ever-famous Fairmont Hotel, but you can also count on the Hermitage or La Rascasse for splendid front-row perks.
All this being said, a view of the tracks from your hotel bedroom might not be your cup of tea, and with all the other viewing options, you might instead prefer a hotel which shies away from all the hustle and bustle of the weekend.
For those seeking the traditional charm – Le Roquebrune
Located in a steep hill close to the Menton, Le Roquebrune is run by a couple which succeed in giving this place an old-world charm. It’s an exclusive charm too, as the hotel boasts of only six rooms!
For those into Design – Hôtel Metropole
From a rooftop pool area designed by Lagerfeld, to a spa crafted by Didier Gomez Givenchy and Hermès toiletries – the Metropole is a stylish stay for those with a keen interest in design. Plus, there is an in-house designer whose sole job is to manage the acoustic ambiance of the hotel.
For the Claustrophobics – Monte Carlo Bay Hotel and Resort
Comprising five acres of land (yes, you did read that right), and a sandy-bottomed lagoon, the Monte Carlo Bay Hotel and Resort is a stay for those of you who enjoy long walks around the hotel. Think seaside, archways, tiled roofs and a top class Michelin star restaurant.
Places to Eat
With a place to stay and a calendar overbooked on F1 duties, it would be a safe choice to book lunches, brunches and dinners ahead of time – even if you are truly spoiled for choice.
For a Provençal European experience, there is nothing quite like heading over to a food market to savour the different food stands. Considering you might be in a rush to get back to your viewing platforms for the GP, a great place to stop by for a quick meal is the Marché de la Condamine, open Monday through to Sunday from 7-3pm.
As mentioned above, the Monte Carlo Bay Hotel and Resort hide a Michelin star restaurant – Elsa. Its chef is the first ever to receive a Michelin star using only organic produce. Our recommendation? Order a barbagiuan – a special pastry stuffed with spinach and ricotta – and enjoy it by the Mediterranean seaside.
Places to Drink
Once the sun sets, Monaco’s nightlife begins – and Monte Carlo comes to life all over again, especially during Monaco Grand Prix week. From more intimate jazz bars to popular nightclubs – the principality hides something for everybody (and for a few budget ranges too).
For the aperitif – Blue Gin
Champagne, the Mediterranean and a sushi menu as an added plus – Blue Gin is both sophisticated and fun. Best part? You can challenge your friends at the billiard tables.
For the beer lovers – Brasserie de Monaco
Since 2008, the Brasserie de Monaco has been brewing organic beer – and offers all the screens to watch your favourite games whilst sipping on their lagers. The pub-like venue is a nice change from all the glitz and glamour that infuse the rest of Monte Carlo.
For a restaurant, bar and jazz lounge – La Note Bleue
Nestled by the Avenue Princess Grace, La Note Bleue is central, moderately priced and a haven for locals and tourists alike. Be wary, it will be packed during Monaco Grand Prix season, so make sure you book in advance.
Places to Visit
Once the GP is over, there is plenty more to enjoy in Monte Carlo during your stay – from museums to parks, to cultural events. The greatest benefit? It is not as touristy as other European destinations, so you can expect a more relaxed crowd – not so hungry to snap the greatest shot of Monte Carlo’s greatest monuments.
For gardens – Jardin Japonais, Princess Grace Rose Garden and Jardin Saint Martin
Due to the warm Mediterranean climate, you can bet the gardens in Monte Carlo are blooming in color – especially in May. Take a romantic stroll, pack your favourite read and order yourself a coffee-to-go as you stroll around the gardens that make this town so unbelievably colourful.
For a royal flare – Tour The Palais du Prince
This 13th-century Geonese fortress can only be visited when the prince is not around (so look out for the flag in the main tower as a sign that he is, in fact, home). Expect an Italianate-style gallery, and the blue room covered in gold.
For the gamblers – The Casino
You probably already knew about this one, but what perhaps you did not know is that the casino was built during the ever-famous beaux-arts in 1893 and has 28 onyx columns welcoming you to the gaming rooms. Oh, and why does it look so familiar, you may wonder? You’ve probably seen it during one of your screenings of James Bond – Casino Royale.
Remember, for the coming weekend, Monte Carlo is all about the glitz and glamour, but it will also be all about the rumble of race cars, burning rubber and a true hotspot to watch Verstappen, Sainz, Perez or any of the other amazing pilots take up the podium in Monaco.