For my birthday this year, the boyfriend and I flew to the glitzy home of tax-avoiding businessmen, professional gamblers and retired racing drivers for a few days. Sounds weird but we wanted to do something different and I had the most amazing memories of Monte-Carlo from when I went as an F1 obsessed teenager so we packed our bags (mine considerably heavier than his) and off we went.
If you want to get away for a long weekend but don't fancy the hustle and bustle of a full-on city such as Paris or New York, Monaco is a cool option. It's certainly not a City but there is enough to do for a few days and if your idea of a mini-break is lots of exploring broken up by coffee breaks, cocktail-stops and slap up meals then this French principality is the perfect choice.
I decided to break these posts up into "Things to do" so if you're thinking of visiting, you will hopefully get a few ideas...
One thing to note is that the price of going out wasn't as sickeningly expensive as we expected - bonus! Yes we ate out the whole time (as you do on holiday) and yes we treated ourselves but we didn't really pay more than you would for a top meal out in London. We were initially shocked at the price of a gin and tonic in the Cafe de Paris but once it arrived, we understood why. The glass was three-quarters gin, one quarter tonic.
So here we go...Hope you enjoy xx
Visit Casino Square.
The first thing to do upon arriving is to head straight to the centre of Monaco. Grab a coffee and sit on the veranda of Cafe de Paris and watch the world go by. Even outside of high season, there are plenty of glamorous types swanning around to spy on.
Explore the F1 circuit.
If, like me, the soundtrack to your Sundays consists of F1 cars whizzing around, then getting the chance to walk around a street circuit that you've seen on TV is pretty cool. Here I am overlooking the famous hairpin bend (the slowest corner in Formula 1, taken at around 29mph on average).
...OR play that well known game of "don't let her go into any designer stores". Window shopping can be fun too :)
"Admire" the locals.
Apologies for the quality but look at this sight. The coat, the dog, the pram...need I say more? Only in Monaco.
Eat Japanese at Maya Bay.
Maya Bay is a really popular restaurant in Monaco and takes bookings late into the evening. Whatever time of night you go, you are guaranteed to be caught up in the buzzing atmosphere. The restaurant is actually split in two, half Japanese, half Thai. I LOVE sushi so we opted for a Japanese meal on the night of my birthday. Here I am blowing out the candle on my mango sorbet which accompanied some chocolate filled sweet spring rolls. We sampled a serious chunk of the menu, the highlight of which being the black cod. Highly recommended! We tried to book in on our last night to sample the Thai menu...sadly they were full but I'm taking that as more of a reason to go back!
Stay tuned for Part II...
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