It only takes seven minutes to fly to Monte Carlo in a helicopter from Nice Airport, in France. Once you arrive in the capital of Monaco, it is essential to hire an Italian sports car like those parked in front of the Casino. Money might not bring you happiness, but these experiences are sure to help.
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1- Sunbathe on the deck of your yacht
To go sailing, choose any one of the yachts equipped with a lift and a pool on the deck that is on display in the Yacht Show. Every September owners and their guests meet up at the Monaco Yacht Club, designed by Norman Foster. The club, with 1,300 members from 66 countries, organises different competitions during the year for both sports boats and classic models.
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2- Go shopping like 'Pretty Woman'
If you need a suitable outfit for the occasion, you’ve come to the right place. The shopping on offer in Monaco is just as good as in Paris or London, at least as far as exclusive brands are concerned. The most elegant labels are in the Baroque-style shopping centre next to the Hotel Metropole and the streets of the Cercle d’Or. A couple of the most opulent shopping centres are La Galerie des Allees-Lumieres and The Monte-Carlo Pavillions, the temporary, pebble-shaped, white buildings installed in the Boulingrins Gardens.
3- Don’t miss even a single night on the town
To enter Monaco’s most exclusive club you have to get hold of tickets to the opera or ballet, or attend the different events that bring together the Monegasque royal family, as well as famous actors and musicians. From fundraising events, such as the Rose Ball or the Monaco Red Cross Ball, to the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters and the Formula 1 Grand Prix, which takes place in the streets of the Principality in May. There’s no doubt that this is the highlight of the year. If during the Yacht Show it costs €4,000 a day to moor a yacht in Hercules Port, for the race, the price shoots up to €100,000.
4- Live out your 007 fantasies
If you run out of cash, the Casino designed by the French architect Charles Garnier in the 19th century is open every day to tempt fortune in a James Bond style. Admission costs €10, plus another €10 to enter some of the private gaming rooms. Photos cannot be taken outside the hall and jackets must be worn after eight o’clock in the evening. Visitors are not allowed to wear military uniforms or religious habits, but sinning (and in particular indulging the sin of greed) is not forbidden.
5- Find time to relax
Time is money, and there’s more than enough of that in Monaco. The terrace of Thermes Marins Monte-Carlo is a good place to relax. The 7,000 square metres of this VIP establishment forms part of the Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer, the society that for 150 years has grouped together the most luxurious accommodation and leisure options in Monaco. From the Casino and the Opera to Jimmy’z and the Monte-Carlo Beach Hotel, Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort, Hôtel de Paris and Hôtel Hermitage, it can get you in anywhere.
6- Book yourself into a suite
When you go to Monaco, the best thing you can do is book a suite with views of the sea or the Casino. Don’t accept anything with less than five stars and demand a pillow menu. Apart from all these commodities, the Metropole offers its guests the option to fly in a Russian fighter jet as part of the Top Gun experience or celebrate an underwater wedding -just in case the surge of adrenaline you get when you play roulette isn’t enough.
7- Indulge in fine dining fit for a king
Standing out among the many Michelin-starred establishments Monaco has to offer are Alain Ducasse’s Louis XV (three stars), in the Hôtel de Paris, and the establishments created by Joël Robuchon in the Metropole: Monte-Carlo and the Japanese restaurant, Yoshi. The latter has a sushi bar and offers ‘Le bento’ a menu with a starter, a main course and a dessert inspired by the Japanese ‘bento box’.
8- Ecotourism for people with a guilty conscience
If you believe that luxury can also be ecological, then the Monte-Carlo Beach Hotel is the place for you. They have electric cars and bikes and Paolo Sari, the chef at the Elsa Restaurant, offers a 100% organic menu. Where else but Monaco would eating an organic pizza Parmigiana also be a real luxury?