Monaco may be the world’s second smallest country, but if the French Riviera is Europe’s fashionable summer crown, then this is its most glamorous jewel. Perched on the shore of the gleaming blue Mediterranean and taking a sharp climb up the steep terrain of Mont Agel, Monaco holidays offer a haven for more than tax – expect shopping, sunshine and sporting events, but also fascinating doses of local culture.
The iconic Casino, with its plush turrets and palm trees, will be familiar to any keen Bond fan, and the Hollywood connection doesn’t end there. Literal Hollywood royalty Grace Kelly met Prince Rainier here, and they lived together in the opulent Prince’s Palace, which you can visit. Her 1955 film To Catch a Thief, co-starring Cary Grant and directed by Alfred Hitchcock, was filmed up one of Monaco’s long, winding roads. With its lush looks, it’s no wonder that the international jet set have long enjoyed holidays to Monaco and helped shape its amenities. Its warm, balmy summers and Mediterranean breeze don’t hurt, either.
Entertainment here is just as luxurious as the shopping and Michelin-starred fine dining, with horse shows, the Grand Prix and the opera house being the main draws of the city-state. But if your budget doesn’t stretch to all of that, don’t worry. There’s plenty of affordable French cuisine, and besides, people-watching the jet set and their yachts is a spectator sport all of its own. What this country lacks in quantity, it sure makes up for in quality.