Monaco is unique and intriguing. It’s the second smallest country in the world behind Vatican City, the most densely populated and is also one of the wealthiest, with around 30% of it’s population holding millionaire status. Surrounded by France and just 15km from the Italian border, it’s a must stop and see whilst probably on a longer journey around the Cote D’Azur or the Mediterranean as a whole.
We arrived by train after a 20 minute journey from Nice, a much cheaper and practical base to build your trip around – hotel and restaurant prices in Monaco are off the scale we’re used to being on and whilst Nice isn’t the cheapest either, we definitely saved a lot of money by getting an AirBnb there and spending a few euros on catching the train to Monaco once or twice.
Strolling around the rich and famously owned yachts and harbours, stunning exotic gardens, famous F1 landmarks and window shopping at designer stores filled Jessica’s birthday in extravagant style. We stopped off at Condamine Market for the best value food in the country, saving the expense for dinner where we’d booked a dinner at Le Train Bleu, situated within James Bond’s playground, the Casino de Monte Carlo.
We arrived early so wondered the casino itself, contemplating a game of blackjack but quickly dispersing when we found out the minimum bet was €25. To be fair, we might as well had given it a go when considering we then sat down for a drink, only to spend €18 on a bottle of Corona and coke.
To our pleasant surprise, the dining menu is of relatively good value at Le Train Bleu. We chose from the six-course menu which came in at €75 per person, which may sound expensive but you will spend that literally anywhere in these parts.
Starting with the obligatory bread and moving from fish and meat courses all the way through to panna cotta and cappuccinos, we were actually more than full despite the courses being small and delicately put together. I’d also completely forgot that I’d made a note on the booking that we were here for Jessica’s birthday, but they did not.
Candles and a big sing song from the waiters made the evening, although it turned out most of the other dining guests were a bit too pretentious to join in 🙁
Monte Carlo is absolutely beautiful and we’d love to come back, stay over and completely indulge in the opulent lifestyle that it demands from you. There’s not a whole lot to do here but nevertheless it’s a top notch European weekend getaway destination.