Monaco

Monte Carlo: Wikipedia

Louiv XVNo reigning Louis ever considered the price of his meals, and neither should you. You’re amid this Versailles-scale magnificence – gold, gilt and sparkling light, chandeliers, busts, portraits and flower arrangements as high as a truck – precisely to prove you don’t have to. Granted, the food is the masterful take on Mediterranean cooking which set Alain Ducasse en route to domination of French cuisine 25 years ago. So you’re eating world-class food, but should you wander in by mistake, be warned that, at dinner, there’ll be no change from €310. Add €145 if you want the restaurant’s choice of accompanying wines! 

Hotel Metropole Catering in this sumptuous spot is in the hands of Joël Robuchon, one of France’s best (or, at least, best-known) chefs. The main restaurant continues the retro-modern town-house style of the hotel itself. Cooking is modern French of the finest order, with a marked preference for Mediterranean fare, and all worked through the prodigious Robuchon imagination. This doesn’t eschew simplicity – for instance, lamb cutlets with thyme – but does get everything just right. Prices are ambitious, though slightly less so at lunch – reasonable anywhere for a two-star Michelin restaurant. In Monaco, it’s simply astounding (since everything is so very expensive). Robuchon has added a top-class Japanese restaurant to the hotel. The Yoshi is an attractively stripped-back zen composition of bright colours, wood, a sushi bar – and an inexpensive lunch… in a Bento box. It gained its first Michelin star in 2010’s guide. Full dinner prices leap up vertiginously in both eateries, as you would expect.

Quai des Artistes Contemporary brasserie right on the port. There’s little pretence of Provencal or Monégasque character here: this is eating and drinking as inspired by the great Parisian brasseries of the Belle Époque. The bar is zinc, there are frescoes and mirrors on the walls, the waiters sport long aprons and the banks of shellfish look as if the tide has just retired to reveal them. Both terrace and restaurant itself are terribly popular with all-comers – big names, locals and staff from the posh hotels on their nights off. And they look after the kids, too, with a children’s menu. The website is terrible but this is Monaco – no one is trying very hard. 

Things To Do:

Price’s Palace At the end of the 1950s, the car enthusiast Prince Rainier III began collecting old cars. His collection gradually grew over the years as he acquired more and more models, and the garage at the Prince’s Palace soon emerged as too small to contain this collection of around a hundred stunning streamlined and sporty cars, from majestic body work to gleaming hoods and regal radiator grills! In 1993, Prince Rainier III therefore decided to open his precious collection to the public.

Casino Square The idea of opening a gambling casino in Monaco belongs to Princess Caroline, a shrewd, business-minded spouse of Prince Florestan I. Revenues from the proposed venture were supposed to save the House of Grimaldi from bankruptcy. The ruling family’s persistent financial problems became especially acute after the loss of tax revenue from two breakaway towns, Menton and Roquebrune, which declared independence from Monaco in 1848 and refused to pay taxes on olive oil and fruit imposed by the Grimaldis… Until recently, the Casino de Monte-Carlo has been the primary source of income for the House of Grimaldi and the Monaco economy. Interesting fact: The citizens of Monaco are forbidden to enter the gaming rooms of the casino. Identity documents are checked at the door to enforce this rule!

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