The French Riviera is calling! Top 5 reasons to go to Monaco

In 1954, a beautiful actress named Grace Kelly was in the South of France, filming scenes for the iconic Alfred Hitchcock movie To Catch A Thief. She received an invitation from a local monarch, Prince Rainer of Monaco, to visit the royal palace. She accepted; that meeting led to a glamorous romantic affair, and eventually there was a beautiful royal wedding. The prince, and the world, had fallen in love with Princess Grace. The publicity of that wedding helped develop Monaco into a worldwide travel destination.

Monaco is a tiny country—approximately 2 miles long, and less than a mile wide—tucked into the hills of the Mediterraean Coast, next to the French city of Nice (pronounced “niece”) coast. It is one of the most luxurious destinations in the world, with a harbor filled with yachts and hills lined with mansions, and it is a beautiful place to visit for anyone who loves glamour, and champagne, and gazing at the stunning blue waters of the Mediterranean.

The country’s wealth also makes the country a draw for social media influencers hoping to attract attention by simply having their photo taken in the country’s various glamorous backdrops. Want to pretend you’re a millionaire? Here are our Top 5 reasons to go to Monaco:

The Royal Family

If you love snooping into the lives of royal families around the world, then Monaco is definitely the place to be. The Grimaldi family has ruled Monaco for over 700 years, and it’s not unusual to either catch a glimpse or—if you are lucky enough—meet various members of the royal family at various events, or in passing in day to day life. Princess Grace is no longer of this Earth, as she tragically died in a car accident in 1982, but the Grimaldis are often spotted out and about, drinking champagne and spending money.

Money

One in three residents of Monaco is considered to be at least a millionaire. Let’s say that again: at least a millionaire. This is the playground of the ultra-wealthy, and visitors here may be shocked to see a 12-year old child wearing a $50K Chanel watch.

If you can imagine it and afford it, anything can be found or designed for you here. The usual high-end boutiques such as Hermes, Cartier, and Balenciaga have stores in Monaco, but the difference being that many of these boutiques also offer one of a kind, superior haute couture pieces of fashion or jewelry. They are like jewelry and fashion museums, but the pieces of art can be bought—for the right price.

Le Casino Monte Carlo

Monaco is also one of the safest places on earth, and those who live and visit the country are unobtrusively monitored by the most sophisticated in 24-hour surveillance system. It is not unusual to see residents or visitors wearing very expensive jewelry pieces, or driving the finest in sports cars, with little fear of being robbed since crime is extremely low: there is one police officer for every 100 residents of the country.

 

Beaches

There are little beaches all around Monaco, although the locals usually enjoy sunbathing while lounging on the deck of a yacht. The gay beach at Castel Plage is very close to Monaco, in the nearby city of Nice, where sections of the beach are made private by restaurants that rent chairs for the day.

Castel Plage

Castel Plage is in a prime spot, and they even have the rainbow flag out amongst other international flags. Pay 20 euros for a lounge chair with an umbrella, and then it’s expected you will also buy drinks during your stay. The beaches can be rocky, so renting a chair is sometimes preferable, but the rocks are smooth and comfortable for laying on a towel.

There are also many nude beaches along the Mediterranean, and the closest nude beach to Monaco is Eze St. Laurent, just 15 minutes away by car. For a more scenic and secluded nude spot, try the beaches near the lighthouse at St. Jean Cap Ferrat.

Hiking

Monaco is a spectacular hiking destination year-round, either up in the mountains or along the sea. Out of the city limits, visit villages or stop at beaches here and there for a swim, and the Italian border is approximately 2 hours away on foot.

Related: Hit the slopes at European Gay Ski Week in the French Alps

Nightlife

Life in Monaco overall is carefree, and the nightclubs are very open-minded and gay-friendly.  Open until dawn, the summer months are the best time to discover the clubs for yourself where it is not unusual to rub elbows with major international celebrities, rock stars and royalty, many of which also own amazing villas and luxurious yachts nearby. But try to resist taking photos of what’s going on in those clubs, becasue there is still a strong element of privacy for everyone.

 

Thanks to Jameson Farn for his contributions to this story.

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