Jul 17, 2012

Monaco = Summer Family Fun!

Summer Sporting Festival Monte Carlo
It's probably the French Riviera's most extravagant playground. Cruise ship sized yachts float in the harbor as Gucci clad first mates pop champagne off the bow. Ferrari, Lamborghini, and cars-so-rare-and-exotic-I-don't-know-their-names purr around the Casino. The famed Cipriani just opened last month, and Billionaire is not just the moniker of the city's hottest night spots. This is Monte Carlo, and there is truly nowhere like it in the world. I come to Monaco every year, but not because I'm a millionaire or a billionaire, or a driver of  a car than ends in an 'i'. I come for simpler pleasures. The weather is warm, the welcome is warmer, and it's on one of the most beautiful coastlines in he world, hands down. An added bonus for a traveling mom like me... It's great for families!  Besides admiring the stunning views, here are a few other summer-fun things to do with the kiddies in Monaco that won't require an Italian sports car, matching bling or a billionaire's bank roll.

Oceanographic Museum
This exceptional museum hewn into the cliffs above the Mediterranean Sea is dedicated to marine science and oceanography. Kids will love the world-famous aquarium where rare species of fish and marine life swim about in 90 pools and the the Shark Lagoon. Make sure to watch during feeding time the have an ice cream on the rooftop terrace.  Cost  13.50 for adults, 6.50 for kids 4-18.

Princesse Antoinette Park
Near the Exotic Gardens, this park is perfect to let your kids blow off some steam. Set amongst lush bougainvillea and olive trees, the park invites young tots to  take a spin on kiddy go-carts and jump and stretch on the playground, while older kids can enjoy basketball courts, a football pitch and the miniature golf course. Free entrance.

HRH's Private Collection of Classic Cars
Car buffs young and old will love the approximately 100 vehicles on show, categorized by class or period ---military, horse-drawn carriages, popular, veteran, vintage, sports cars, classic and prestige. Adults 6  Children 4-18 3.

Summer Sporting Festival
For older kids and teens, a splurge night out in Monte Carlo will be memorable. Dress up and take them to dinner and a show at the Salle des Etoiles, a venue set on the water, with retractable roof. Each summer a wide variety of performances take the stage. Anything from rock concerts from the Scorpions to old time Johnny Hallyday crooning to a Rock The Ballet contemporary dance performance are on the agenda each year.  Price varies but it's usually anywhere from 100 to 200 per person, which includes a four course dinner and the show.

International Fireworks Festival
Monaco plays host every year to this international competition that brings noise, music and color to the skies above Monte Carlo. Taking place over four dates in July and August, this free event is a high energy, pyro-musical spectacle that will please young and old. The show starts shortly after dark, between 9:30-10pm, and each display lasts 25 minutes. Find a spot on the walls behind the Casino and enjoy.

Eating Idea:  Head to Condamine Market (open every morning), just behind the port and off Princesse Caroline pedestrian-only (stroller friendly) promenade. Pick up some nibbles at the various butchers, bakeries, and produce stalls, and head to a nearby Fontvielle Park, adjacent to the Princess Grace Rose Garden, for a picnic and admire the art sculptures the line the curvy paths.

Pedestrian only Rue Princesse Caroline

Cafes and vendors make shopping fun at
Condamine Market

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