The 86th annual Monte Carlo Rally will set off from Monaco’s Casino Square next week to get the 2018 World Rally Championship underway.
Most of the action will take place across the French Riviera. It will be almost impossible to keep up. However, the race will start and finish in Monaco, making it the best place to bed down during the rally.
You will want to be at the line for the ceremonial start and finish. Aside from that, you will have plenty of time to explore the principality, well known for its affluence and splendour.
If you’re planning on visiting Monaco for the Monte Carlo Rally 2018, here where to stay, eat, drink and go:
Where to stay
Hotel de Paris Monte-Carlo –
If you want to be close to the action when the rally gets underway, book a room at the Hotel de Paris Monte-Carlo. Located just a stone’s throw from the Casino de Monte-Carlo, you will be just a few minutes’ walk from the Casino Square starting line.
However, proximity isn’t all that the Hotel de Paris Monte-Carlo has to offer. Located within Monaco’s Golden Circle, this five star establishment offers the level of luxury that the region is best known for.
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All accommodation, whether you’re in a basic room or luxury suite, offers cleanliness and comfort that will make your stay in Monaco a pleasant one.
Price: from €366 per night (approximately $447)
Monte-Carlo Beach –
It might be the wrong time of year for a beach holiday. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy a nice view of Monte-Carlo’s crystal clear waters.
Favoured by the high-class, who arrive at this five star hotel’s private jetty via their luxury yachts, Monte-Carlo Beach offers a quieter stay to what you will find in Monaco’s centre.
Monte-Carlo Beach is technically located outside of Monaco on the French side of the border. However, the resort has everything needed to provide the perfect trip. There are numerous bars, restaurants and leisure centres, as well as an Olympic-size pool and private beach. If you’re not one for relaxation, Monaco’s many amenities can be reached in less than ten minutes.
Price: from €185 per night (approximately $226)
Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort –
Visiting Monaco can work out expensive. Save your money to spend in the region’s luxury restaurants, bars and entertainment facilities by booking accommodation that won’t break the bank.
Monaco is all about luxury and even its cheaper establishments work hard to keep up that image. Take the Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort, a four star that more than 1,100 visitors have rated five stars on TripAdvisor, for example.
While offering less splendour than five star accommodation, this hotel provides the same excellent sea views, luxury living and fantastic service without the astronomical price tag.
Price: from €181 per night (approximately $221)
Where to eat
Le Louis XV –
Luxury reigns in this sovereign city-state and you can’t get much more luxurious than Le Louis XV. This is the only restaurant in Monaco to hold three Michelin Stars and is, unsurprisingly, a favourite among the area’s super-rich visitors.
Headed by star Monégasque chef Alain Ducasse, one of the most decorated chefs in the world, Le Louis XV is noted for its culinary mastery, superb ingredients and excellent selection of wines. According to food critic Andy Hayler, dishes such as chilled shellfish and broccoletti will set you back, but it’s worth visiting for a culinary experience that you will have a hard time finding elsewhere in Monte Carlo.
Price: €148 for main and dessert (approximately $181)
Blue Bay –
While Michelin recommends Le Louis XV, visitors to the French Riviera prefer to dine at the Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort’s Blue Bay restaurant. Diners have voted the restaurant at the top culinary destination in Monte-Carlo on travel review website TripAdvisor. Head chef Marcel Ravin’s French-Mediterranean dishes seemingly get guests talking – the restaurant currently holds a 4.5 star rating with over 450 reviews written.
Its stylish interior offers up a pleasant enough setting, but it’s the wide glass windows, offering a perfect sea view, that really makes Blue Bay a special place to dine.
Price: €112 for starter, main and dessert (approximately $137)
Traditional Monégasque cuisine (a fusion of French, Italian and Mediterranean flavours) can be found all around Monaco. However, few offer it quite as well made as A’Trego.
Situated on a pile of rocks stretching out from the Port of Cap d’Ail into the Mediterranean Sea, this beach-side restaurant serves up an ever-changing daily menu that features pasta, salad and seafood dishes inspired by the region. While it might not have achieved Michelin status, A’Trego offers high quality dining at a very reasonable price.
Price: €19 for main and choice of dessert or a glass of wine (approximately $23)
Where to drink
Sass Café –
Monaco is known to attract the top one percent to its golden beaches, yacht-filled ports and expensive attractions. When night falls on the principality, these high-class visitors typically head to Sass Café to enjoy a drink or two among their wealthy peers.
Restaurant by day, Sass Café is transforms into one of Monaco’s most-loved nightlife hotspots, with resident DJs and live bands providing music until the early hours.
With the Monte Carlo Rally in town, Sass Café could be the perfect place to do some celebrity spotting. Previous visitors to the popular bar include Beyoncé, Elton John, Mike Tyson and Will Smith.
The Blue Gin –
Sass Café is a black tie establishment. However, The Blue Gin provides a far more laidback venue to enjoy a few drinks with your friends after a day of sightseeing.
This quirky bar has undoubtedly been designed with a younger crowd in mind – the décor is very colourful and arty – but everyone is welcome at The Blue Gin. A hookah corner and free billiards tables provide great opportunities to make new friends, but if you’re looking for a quiet, relaxed evening, this bar offers just that too. With temperatures set to drop as low at 6 degrees during the Monte Carlo Rally, The Blue Gin’s indoor terrace provides a stunning view of Monaco’s waterfront without the risk of frostbite.
Price: wine from €9, beer from €9, cocktails from €17 (approximately $11, $11 and $21 respectively)
Brasserie de Monaco –
Grab a fresh beer brewed locally on the banks of Monaco’s Port Hercule. Served up at the brewery’s own Brasserie de Monaco restaurant and bar, this is the perfect place to unwind.
With happy hour stretching from six to eight, drinks are far cheaper than you will find in other Monaco establishments. It might not offer the same level of grandeur, but it has certainly perfected the basics. Good beer, live sport and upbeat DJs – what more could you ask for?
If you’re feeling peckish, pair your pint with a plate of barbajuan, a traditional Monegasque pastry stuffed with rice, cheese, leeks and more.
Price: beer from €4, wine from €3 and cocktails from €5 during Happy Hour (approximately $5, $4 and $6 respectively)
Where to go
Casino de Monte-Carlo –
This grand casino, built 150 years ago to save the ruling House of Grimaldi from financial ruin, helped to transform Monaco into the land of the rich.
Today, four percent of revenue generated in Monaco comes from casino gaming. Much of that comes from the Casino de Monte-Carlo. The game rooms at this luxury venue offer a variety of things to play, such as blackjack, poker, roulette and slots.
Numerous gambling venues are dotted around the principality. However, the Casino de Monte-Carlo serves as the Monaco’s centre piece. The palace-like building stands in the centre of Monaco, towering over its surrounding buildings. Even if gambling isn’t for you, this is a sight that you must see.
Price: €10 for entry, minimum bets vary (approximately $12)
The International Monte-Carlo Circus Festival –
Those visiting Monaco for the Monte Carlo Rally will get the opportunity to enjoy two of the region’s major annual events. Aside from the rally and Monaco Grand Prix, the International Monte-Carlo Circus Festival is the area’s biggest event.
Those outside of the circus industry likely haven’t heard of it. However, the Monaco festival is one of the most important dates in a clown’s year. Since starting in 1974, the International Monte-Carlo Circus Festival has risen up the ranks to become the biggest and most prestigious circus event in the world.
Over the course of 10 dates, the best acrobats, animal acts, trapeze artists and clowns that the world has to offer will put on grand displays at the spectacular 3,800-seater Le Chapiteau de l’Espace Fontvieille á Monaco tent, build to permanently host the festival.
Price: €90 for premium seating, €38 for budget seating (approximately $110 and $46 respectively)
Circuit de Monaco –
If you’re in Monaco to watch the Monte Carlo Rally drivers set off, we can safely assume that motorsports is among your interests. If so, a trip to Monaco wouldn’t be complete without taking a walk along the circuit of Monaco’s famous Grand Prix street race. Take in the sea view along Boulevard Albert 1er before winding around the Fairmont Hairpin, as you relive the circuit’s famous wins.
Stretching along 2.1 miles of Monégasque road, a lap can be completed in around half an hour. However, passionate Formula One fans will undoubtedly waste a few hours stopping to take pictures of the track’s landmarks.