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Cruise Diva Goes Ashore in Europe:
The Mediterranean
Sights to see & things to do

Monte Carlo, Monaco

Looking not unlike the set for an operatic fairy tale, Monte Carlo is famous for its wealth, casino, and royal family—the Grimaldis. The most glamorous of the tiny principality’s residents are Prince Rainer, the late Princess Grace, and their children.


Only the smallest ships can dock in Monte Carlo and most passengers tender ashore or arrive either by train, bus, or car from Villefranche or Nice. Driving isn’t generally recommended because traffic can be horrendous and parking is scarce.

The old town is site of The Rock, where you’ll find the Cathedral (behind the altar is the burial place of Princess Grace), royal houses, lovely gardens, and the Palace where a small changing of the guard ceremony is held at 11:55am daily. Also located on The Rock is the Muse de l’Océanographie, one of Europe’s best aquariums. Administered by the late Jacques Cousteau, it offers a history of underwater exploration with exhibits of early scuba gear and a mockup of a submarine from the 1700s.

All streets in Monaco seemingly lead to the Casino where a neatly tended garden promenade is likely to be lined with luxury automobiles. The interiors are lavishly decorated with 19th century style frescos, gilt, and bas relief. Particularly interesting are the frescos on the ceiling of the Rose Salon, where naked cigar-smoking nymphs float above the room. Cameras are not allowed inside and admission is charged to enter the gaming rooms.

Cross the street to the Hotel de Paris and peek into the famous Louis XV restaurant. A glass of wine in the Bar Americain is a peaceful break. If you enjoy the hum of slot machines try the Café de Paris across the square for more action.


Explore the narrow streets of the old town to get a flavor of its history and to shop for souvenirs.


Relax at Larvotto Beach. Man-made with imported sand, trees, full facilities, and eateries, admission is free.

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