Formula One’s quintessential race may not be its fastest or longest but the Monaco Grand Prix is undoubtedly one of the most anticipated and glamorous dates in the calendar. This weekend, we'll continue our 2023 F1 campaign in Monte Carlo, which roars into life as the world descends on its steep streets and historic attractions.
Where can you enjoy the F1 action?
The Monaco Grand Prix has taken place since 1929 and is the classic F1 street race that inspired newer iterations like Jeddah. The circuit is a mere 3.3km long and viewing spots are like gold dust. If you can’t bag a trackside perch there is another great option. The MGP Live Fanzone will bring the event to life with activations and a live feed of the race on the big screen in the fan park. Events include the pitstop challenge, F1 simulators, virtual reality experiences, F1 driver interviews, live music, and a miniature circuit.
How can you get your design fix?
E1027 and Le Cabanon, located in Roquebrune, just east of Monaco, are both key works of modern architecture that were well ahead of their time. E1027 is the star of the show – an Art Deco villa designed and built in the 1920s by Irish legend Eileen Grey. Everything from its cryptic name to its long years of forgotten dereliction make this the most enigmatic modernist house. Now of course it is completely restored, looks stunning inside, and can be visited on tours. Look out for the incredible wall tapestries and sofas which are so futuristic they look like they were designed last week, not 100 years ago.
How can you enjoy the Monaco vibes?
The Fairmont Monte Carlo is built out over the cliffs in a modernist style that Le Corbusier would have surely approved of. It hovers over the sea on piloti on one side and also sits on top of part of the F1 track. Nikki Beach will be one of the key places to party during the F1 weekend with daytime DJs, pool shindigs and its famous selection of Champagne. Nobu will be slinging sushi and seafood in the evening and you should expect to spy celebrities at its storied tables.
Where can you get the best view of the principality?
Once you complete the strenuous hike up to the top of Tete de Chien, or Dog’s Head, you’re rewarded with panoramic views down to the city and race track below and the sea in the distance. The peak itself is over the border in France near to the village of La Turbie and comes in at 550 metres. It is the high point of the Grande Corniche Road and is said to resemble a dog’s head in shape, as the name suggests. Look out for sea birds circling up in the sky.
Where should you party?
Head to Cap d’Ail, one of the most opulent neighbourhoods on the coast where the great and good come to let off steam. This is technically part of the French Riviera, just across the border from Monaco, but still has those millionaire vibes, especially here at Bolinas. The classic French steak tartare and Bolinas tapas plate containing Barbajuans (a Monegesque delicacy like a little empanada), breaded shrimps, falafel, pumpkin hummus, pitta bread are the things to order if hungry. Champagne fans will enjoy the Louis Constant - Brut Réserve which is on the menu here. Bolinas is set across a terrace at the plush Riviera Marriott with poolside banquets and sea view dining tables, plus music of course.
How can you get a dose of history?
Walk in the footsteps of Grace Kelly in Monaco’s compelling Old Town, where the American actress lived until 1982. Travellers with an interest in her union with Prince Rainier can take in historic sights like St Nicholas Cathedral, where they married, as well as the Chapel of Mercy, Museum of Old Monaco, Princess Grace Irish Library, which contains Kelly’s personal collection, St Nicholas Square, and Chapel of Visitation, which features a painting by Rubens. The Government Building is here too. The whole district sits on a rock above the sea and is Monaco’s oldest neighbourhood.
How can you explore the natural world?
Monaco’s most spectacular natural sight is the famous Jardin Exotique, which clings tantalisingly to the cliffs above Monte Carlo in the district of La Condamine. Green fingered gardeners and plant lovers come for the 15,000 square metres of gardens packed with succulents and cacti which thrive in the sun and heat of the Mediterranean climate. The gardens were founded 90 years ago, back when trips to the deserts of South America and Australasia were an impossible luxury for most Europeans, and this was a way to discover their horticulture. Trails and paths lead through the plants.
Where is the best place to check out the super yachts?
Monaco’s heroic harbour is one of the world’s most famous ports. Here you can see some of the most opulent yachts in the world moored by the docks. The port is presided over by the Rascasse bar (and of course the section of the F1 circuit which took that name too) and on the opposite side by the Yacht Club, which mere mortals can only stare at from the dockside. The harbour is ancient but has been much expanded and modernised so today it can hold 700 glistening boats. You might recognise it from its role in the movie Goldeneye – Bond was very much a Monaco man.
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