x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Five things to do in Monte Carlo, Monaco

Here are the top 5 things to do while visiting Monte Carlo.

Opéra de Monte-Carlo in Monte Carlo, Monaco. Sebastien Darrasse / Realis
Opéra de Monte-Carlo in Monte Carlo, Monaco. Sebastien Darrasse / Realis

Attend the Opéra de Monte-Carlo

The 2014-2015 season offers some stellar acts, including a performance by the Argentinian tenor Jose Cura and the Korean bass Kwangchul Youn. The opera house, which was designed by the architect Charles Garnier and opened in 1879, is unusually located in the same building as the Casino de Monte-Carlo. And with 80,000 gold leaves, 540 seats and hundreds of yards of deep red velvet used in its lavish decoration, it is a sumptious sight to behold. You might even catch a Grimaldi: patron Prince Albert II has his own private entrance to the royal box, while Princess Caroline likes to sit up front. www.opera.mc/

People-watching in the lobby of the Hôtel de Paris

This iconic Monaco hotel, which opened in 1863 and is about to undergo a four-year renovation, must have one of the last of these in the world: a tuxedoed doorman whose sole job is turning the revolving front door so guests don’t have to. Scenes for several famous films have been shot here, including 1948’s The Red Shoes, two James Bond films and Iron Man 2 in 2010. Sip an espresso underneath a crystal chandalier and marvel at the high style, enhanced faces and the unhurried pace of some of the richest people in the world. http://www.hoteldeparismontecarlo.com/

Eat at the Monte-Carlo Beach Club’s Elsa

It’s no small feat that Chef Paolo Sari managed to earn one Michelin star for his restaurant - a first for one that has been certified 100 per cent organic. Sit in this crisp white space, accented in blue hues of the Mediterrean located right outside its windows (or phone ahead and score one of two romantic tables-for-two facing the sea) and meander through a menu offering work-of-art salads made of vegetable ribbons and herbs from Sari’s garden in nearby Menton, truly scrumptious warm bread elevated by olive oil tastings, delicate offerings of John Dory and flawless gorgeous souffles. http://www.montecarlosbm.com/restaurants-in-monaco/gourmet/elsa/

Take a hike up a big rock to visit a working palace

Prince Albert and Princess Charlene, who are due to become parents of twins later this year, actually still live in the Genoese fortress that is the Palace Princier, dating back to pre-1200. Stroll the lush grounds, go at 11.55am for the Carabiniers du Prince (Changing of the Guard) or, during the summer, pop in for a look at the state rooms. http://www.monte-carlo.mc/en/general/palais-princier/

Monte Carlo Sporting Summer Festival 2014

Kicking off July 4 with Lana Del Rey and wrapping up August 20 with Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, the acts in between are wide-ranging, including Julio Iglesias, Robin Thicke, Kevin Costner and his band Modern West, Paul Anka, Brian Adams and The Bare Bones and the Gipsy Kings (en.sportingsummerfestival.com/)

Return flights on Turkish Airlines (www.turkishairlines.com) from Abu Dhabi to Nice via Istanbul are priced from Dh2,335 return, including taxes. From Nice, Monaco is a 30-minute drive or a 20-minute train journey. Tickets from Dh45 via www.raileurope-gcc.com

* Ann Marie McQueen