Kim and I had each separately visited Paris almost 20 years ago. This trip would be our first time visiting together as well as a first visit for the kids. When I booked the flight to Paris, I had to squeeze in a visit to a new country and Monaco was the perfect option!
I booked us a flight to Nice so we could check out another city in France and also as a way to get to Monaco.
We arrived in Nice on the sixth day of our trip. Soon after checking into our hotel, we headed to the train station to catch a quick ride to Monaco (about 30 minutes).While Monaco isn’t a member of the EU, you won’t pass through any sort of immigration or passport control on the way in or out of the county. Regardless of this, I still wanted a stamp for my passport!
We headed up a long, steep hill from the train station and walked to the Monaco Tourism Office.At the office, the friendly rep was happy to stamp our passports! Mission accomplished.We were all starving, so we headed to McDonald’s for lunch to see if there were any interesting menu items served in this tiny nation. (More on this in a future post.)While walking up the road to our next destination, I spotted this sign for the Monaco Grand Prix. (The sign reads: The Fairmont Hairpin , the world’s most famous bend.)Next up was a visit to probably the most famous and visited sight in the country, the Monte Carlo Casino. I wasn’t sure if we could go inside or not, but it didn’t hurt to try.The entrance and lobby to the hotel and casino were beautiful. We wandered around a bit and snapped some photos before I went to check out the gaming area. (Kids are only allowed in the lobby so Kim hung out with the boys on the fancy couches while I explored.)A small room with slots is open for adults to visit for free. I didn’t play any of the machines but I was glad I could see something since…
The main casino floor is blocked with a few walls. If you’d like to go inside, you’ll need to pay an entry fee. No thanks!
I was able to get a glance of the room and it looked amazing but I didn’t see the need to waste any money just to go in and take a peak.
Next, we caught a bus to Le Rocher (Monaco Ville), the old town.On the way, we came across this post office. The building looked really cool so Lucas decided to take a jump! We also went inside and bought a couple of post cards as a souvenir..Wandering the narrow streets of the old town was a lot of fun. The only issue was that I wish we had more time.After we passed through the streets of the old town, we were rewarded with awesome views just outside the Prince’s Palace.Here’s Lucas on guard duty!We then moved on to get a better look (from the outside) of the Prince’s Palace. Lucas and I found this a perfect photo opportunity and place for a jump.
We then got a bit closer to check out the palace guards. There were a few on duty but they didn’t seem all too friendly.The last stop of our visit, was to the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco. The entrance fee was kinda pricey and we didn’t really know what to expect. We soon discovered that it was an aquarium and traditional museum in one. In the end the museum was definitely another highlight and a great place to take kids. Tip: allow about 2 hours to check this place out. We only had an hour and half which felt very rushed.We started off downstairs in the aquarium. There’s lots to see including jellyfish and clownfish.The clownfish were a fav of the kids- they found Nemo!The exhibits upstairs were made up of various rooms. There were lots of things to see. Again, I wish that we had more time!
I felt that this massive whale skeleton was one of the most interesting things in the museum.We headed up to see what was on the roof and came across a small playground! By this point it was already dark out. The kids played and climbed for a few minutes and I got in on the fun too!
Overall, we were really impressed during our short visit to Monaco. The country, while small, offers great views from all around. There are some interesting things to do and we would’ve liked to have had a bit more time. We didn’t realize that the sights would be so spread out and didn’t bring our stroller which ended up being a huge mistake. If you are traveling with little ones definitely keep that in mind, especially with all the hills!
If we end up on the French Riviera again, we’d most likely visit Monaco again!
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