The Parc Ferm√© guide to Monaco ūüá≤ūüá®

The Parc Ferm√© guide to Monaco ūüá≤ūüá®

Digging into our ethos of 'fast cars slow living', we hope to inspire you to travel with racing but to take a little longer; to make a road trip through the landscapes, experience the culture, the food, the art, and the architecture.

Monaco is the world‚Äôs second-smallest country, but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in sheer glamour, beauty and attitude. Perfectly placed on the French Riviera, Monaco's warm, summer-style weather invites visitors year-round, but its glitz and glam is what really draws in the crowds. Monaco is a place that exudes luxury‚Ķrenowned as a tax haven, it is often referred to as a ‚Äúplayground for the rich and famous‚ÄĚ including many drivers, both past and present.

Key Information

  • ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Currency: Euro ($)
  • ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Language: French, English
  • ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Time Zone:¬†Central European Summer Time
  • ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†In an Emergency: Call 112
  • ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Weather: The race falls in May, where average temperatures see highs of around 26¬įC and lows of¬†16¬įC.¬†

The Circuit

Monaco is considered Formula 1’s most famous circuit. It was on the calendar for the first year of the Formula 1 World Championship in 1950 and had held a race every year without interruption since 1955, until COVID-19 caused the race to be cancelled in 2020. The circuit has been revised several times over the years, but still retains the same basic layout it has had since 1929.  Because the circuit is, in itself, the streets of Monaco, it takes six weeks to set up, and three weeks to tear down.

Although it is the shortest circuit on the calendar, Monaco is very demanding. As Nelson Piquet once famously said, the circuit is: ‚Äúlike driving a bicycle in your living room.‚ÄĚ It‚Äôs tight and¬†twisty nature coupled¬†with unforgiving walls very close to the cars presents a unique challenge for drivers. At this track, accuracy and precision are key. The circuit features the slowest corner in the entire championship, at the Grand Hotel hairpin, and overtaking at this track is very rare, usually limited to pit stops strategies.¬†

Track Facts

  • Lap record: Max Verstappen in 2018 with a 1:14.260.

  • Most wins: Ayrton Senna (6 wins).

  • Most Constructor‚Äôs wins: Mclaren (15 wins).

  • Monaguesque Drivers:¬†Louis Chiron, Andr√© Testut, Olivier Beretta and Charles Leclerc.

See

Casino of Monte-Carlo - This iconic location is located in the heart of Monte Carlo and a must-see, even if you don't like to bet. This elaborate Belle Epoque building encapsulates everything that makes Monaco alluring. The tall ceilings, massive chandeliers and gold-white decoration will make you think you’re in the set of a movie. While you can go for simply sightseeing, if you’re looking to place some bets, be sure to go after 2pm with a valid ID (18+ only). 

Palais Princier and Musée Océanographique - Built as a fortress in the 13th century, The Princier palace is the private residence of the reigning Grimaldi family. It is protected by the blue-helmeted and white-socked Prince’s guards who change places at 11:55am, when crowds gather outside the gates to watch. While most of the palace is off limits to the public, you can get a glimpse of royal life on a tour of the state apartments. Here, you can see some of the lavish furniture and priceless artworks collected by the family over the centuries.

Located at the edge of a cliff, the sights at this museum are unmatched. The heart of the museum is a 6 meter deep water tank where sharks and other predators are separated from colorful tropical fish by a coral reef. You can also find information on marine biology, interactive displays and historic photographs and equipment. It’s a great addition to the trip, especially when travelling with children. Be sure not to miss the sweeping views of Monaco and the Mediterreanean from the rooftop terrace and cafe.  

The Private Collection of Antique Cars of H.S.H. Prince Rainier III - This varied and well curated collection of antique cars is a sight to behold for any car-lover. Filled with history and tradition, the royal collection has everything from horse-drawn carriages, F1 cars, rally cars, to some modern stunners like the Bugatti Veyron. For $8, this 45 minute exhibition is a great addition to any trip to Monaco. (Especially if you’re visiting for a race!) 

Metropole Shopping Centre - Opposite the Casino Gardens, is the Metropole Shopping Centre where you will find over 80 high-end, luxury boutiques. This impressive underground shopping haven, oozes glamour with it’s luxury décor, marble floors and seriously impressive period chandelier. You will also find some lovely cafés and patisseries dotted around the area. The centre is open Monday to Saturday, from 10 am to 7:30 pm.

Eat

Blue Bay - Located at the Monte Carlo Bay Hotel and Resort, this Michelin starred restaurant offers a Caribbean twist on classic French, Mediterreanean and European cuisine. While on the pricier side, the ambiance, quality and service at this place will make your experience one to remember.

Les Perles De Monaco - Les Perles de Monaco offers an extensive menu of fresh seafood and french cuisine with an amazing view of the Port de Fonvielle. Les Perles is authentic, relaxed and friendly. If you love seafood, don’t miss out on this experience! 

Tip Top Monaco - Open 24/7 tip top is the perfect stop post party on Sunday night. Serves all the good stuff; pizzas, pastas, burgers. 

Café de Paris - Get a real taste of Monaco at The Café de Paris on the Place du Casino. With its bustling surroundings, the outdoor terrace is the perfect place to enjoy breakfast or lunch in the sun, gourmet afternoon tea, or a fun dinner with friends late into the night.

Santo Gelato Monaco - A day exploring the principality isn’t complete without gelato, so make sure you stop by this place. With its extensive range of flavours there is something for everyone.

Bars & Nightclubs

La Rascasse - Located on La Rascasse, La Rascasse the bar is a Monaco favourite, especially during the Grand Prix weekend. The large terrace is perfect for alfresco drinking and finger food. And make sure you stick around for the DJ sets that carry on late into the night. 

Other bars that are worth dropping by include Brasserie de Monaco and Buddha-Bar on Casino Square. But if the party crowd is more your style then Jimmy’z or Le Living Room is the place to be. 

Stay

Columbus Monte Carlo - If you’re looking for  a comfortable, affordable and well-located stay, the Columbus Monte Carlo is the place for you. Overlooking the Princess Grace Rose Garden, the hotel offers easy access to the Old Town and Casino Square. The rooms are spacious, the outdoor pool is heated and there’s private beach access. Plus, it’s walking distance to the track and the paddock!

Port Palace - The Port Palace provides an ideal mix of value, comfort and convenience. It offers a romantic setting with a centric location, near popular landmarks such as Chapelle Sainte Devote and Champions Promenade. Located at the edge of the sea, you’ll have a prime view of some of Monaco’s best sights. 

Fairmont Hotel - If your trip to Monaco revolves around the Grand Prix, then the Fairmont Hotel is where you should stay. With complimentary race viewing for all guests and Nikki Beach party on the roof, this hotel is the best way to include the race into all aspects of your vacation, as well as enjoy the GP weekend in the most extravagant way. The hotel is located at the heart of Monaco, between the sparkling Mediterranean Sea and the Casino of Monte Carlo.

Surrounding towns - There are a limited number of hotels in Monaco, so surrounding towns such as Nice, Menton and Ventimiglia are a great place to stay instead during the Grand Prix weekend, with accommodation to suit all budgets. 

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