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Must-see places in Monaco

Monaco at night

When talking about Monaco many people will confuse it with Monte Carlo, in order to clear that little problem we’re going to start by saying that Monaco is the principality, or country, and Monte Carlo is one of its five districts. The whole confusion stems from the fact that Monaco is a very small place, but despite its size it is packed with many attractions and sights, and we’ll be talking about a couple of the main ones.

 

Royal Palace

The Royal Palace is where you can see the daily changing of the guard at 11:55 AM, the exterior of the building doesn’t give off the impression of a palace right from the get-go, it looks more like a big sanatorium, however on the inside it is a grandly Renaissance style, everything from the courtyard’s frescoes and columns to the flamboyantly decorated apartments, clash with the somewhat austere exterior.

The entry ticket will also give you access to the Napoleon Museum, which is next door, where you can see an exhibition combining the memories of the emperor with insights from Monaco’s past.

 

Oceanographic Museum

This is hands down the best museum in Monaco, truth be told there’s not a lot of competition, however the building looks much grander than the Palace does, with its columns and pediments giving it a distinct Victorian feel.

Main sights of the museum include a ninety foot whale skeleton and a great aquarium which features a shark lagoon pool.

 

Jardin Exotique

Despite its very small surface area, Monaco packs in a surprisingly high number of gardens, and the Jardin Exotique is arguably the most interesting.

Located very high up at the very entrance to the principality, it has an almost perpendicular drop down the rock face. An interesting setting to say the least, for a world-class collection of cacti and succulents, some of which date from early last century.

 

The Monte Carlo Casino

This is probably the most characteristic building of the principality, there aren’t very many other places where one can sense such a focus on general fancy and wealth. Both the inside and the outside of the Casino are captivating, the inside is extremely lavish with everything that you might think you should see in such a place, columns, marble, chandeliers, haut-reliefs of nude women, and those are just the start. The outside is like a light opera in horticultural form, with the fountains, flora, lawns and contemporary sculpture creating a great setup to what you’re about to see once within the building.

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