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Monaco, the second smallest country in the world, is not short of attractions and activities to get your heart stirring. Surrounded by France and the glittering Mediterranean Sea, this sovereign state is notorious for its resort town of Monte Carlo, luxurious casino, exciting Grand Prix races and glamorous royal family.
The Grimaldi royal family has ruled Monaco since 1297, when Francois Grimaldi took over the fortress of Monaco from a rival Italian group. With only small gap in their rule during the French Revolution – when the French occupied the country – the Grimaldis have largely influenced this lavish country. In 1863, the country opened the world-renowned Monte Carlo Casino in its famous resort town, paving way for its economic success. Today, why not take a gamble here and hope Lady Luck is on your side?
You can also bask in the royal family’s glory with a visit to the opulent Grimaldi Palace, where you’ll be greeted by the commanding walls of the fortress and a spectacular view of the Mediterranean Sea. As the current home of Prince Albert II, the palace graciously opens the doors of its opulent state rooms to visitors in the summer. You may also enjoy an open air concert by the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra in the beautiful courtyard.
If you’re ready to live life in the fast lane, make your way around the Grand Prix circuit on the city streets of Monte Carlo. If you’re there during race season, be sure to soak in the city’s vibrant energy as the Formula One cars whiz by. For car enthusiasts, you can also whet your appetite at the Prince of Monaco’s Private Collection of Classic Cars.
If cars and gambling don’t appeal to you, there are gardens, museums and churches aplenty in Monaco. A church worthy of a visit is the Romanesque-Byzantine Monaco Cathedral, where you can admire the tombs of Princess Grace and Prince Rainier III. Some notable museums in the country include the Napoleon Museum and the Oceanographic Museum. For the perfect place to relax, head to the Casino Gardens and Terraces opposite the Monte Carlo Casino to admire the pristine flowerbeds and lulling ponds.
Though small in size, Monaco definitely exudes a big air of luxury and excitement; you’ll leave this tiny country with big memories to cherish forever!
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