South of France


Monaco is constitutional monarchy with Prince Albert II as head of state and he has an immense political power. The House of Grimaldi has ruled Monaco, with brief interruptions, since 1297.

Monaco is surrounded on three sides by France and occupies just under two square kilometers (0.75 sq. mile) of the Cote d'Azur, where the Alpes Maritimes meet the Mediterranean.

Tourism drives Monaco's economy; gamblers flock to the Place du Casino in Monte-Carlo and every May the principality hosts the Monaco Grand Prix.

The country is a major banking center and closely guards the privacy of its clients.

Monaco does not levy income tax on its residents.

Aerial picture of Monaco

Monaco is noted for its beautiful, hilly, rugged, and rocky natural scenery and its sunny Mediterranean climate with mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers.


Monaco is well-known around the world for being a place for the rich and famous. Expensive and luxurious resorts, hotels and apartments as well as low taxes make the country a popular location for the richest people in the world.
The Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix is famous too and attracts many tourists.

We parked our car in this area and it is filled with luxurious stores.

Streets in Monaco


We found out that to get to the Prince's palace we had to climb up stairs for a good 20 minutes.


Heading to the Prince's palace


We are starting our trek up and this is the view of the Marina


The port is really beautiful with luxurious yacht.


We are getting a bit higher now.. gorgeous view from there.




It was quite a hike with lots and lots of stairs but the view is so beautiful that it is worth it.

It was quite a hike... climbing and climbing stairs and more stairs....


On our way up to the Prince's palace there is a bronze statue of Prince Rainier in full height holding a hat

Next to the Prince statue there is a really small garden and benches for people to sit down and rest a bit.

I like this picture!  It captured a moment in time...


After a good 20 minutes climbing up stairs we have finally arrived at the entrance of the Prince's palace.


The Prince's Palace of Monaco is the official residence of the  Prince Albert of Monaco.

The modest size palace was originally edified as a Genoese fortress in 1191. In 1215 the defensive system of the castle was upgraded with the construction of a rampart with four towers and a curtain wall. The palace underwent heavy and continuing restoration from its creation to the 20th century. The Grimaldis upgraded the castle into a royal residence in the 15th century. During the French Revolution, the palace was confiscated by the revolutionaries and became a military hospital and poorhouse. It was restored to the Grimaldis in 1814 under the Treaty of Paris. In the 19th century, the succeeding Princes worked on restoring the palace and retrieving the furnishings and works of art that had been dispatched during the French Revolution.

Sentries and cannons guard the entrance to the palace.
The external aspect of the palace is a blend of medieval fortifications and Renaissance features. Unlike other royal palaces (Versailles, Buckingham…) it lacks symmetry as it was originally built as a defensive castle to protect Monaco and its coastline from piracy.

Cannons and cannon balls can be seen at the front entrance of the palace.


The white-uniformed guards are changed outside the palace at 11.55am each day. This event is called ‘la relève de la garde’ (the changing of the guard).

This the view when you have your back against the Prince's palace.

On the terrace overlooking the city, old cannons are pointed toward the city to protect the palace.



View from the palace's terrace.

Yachts are everywhere....


Statue honoring Prince Albert the 1st for his 25th years of reign.



Legend relates that in January 1297 François Grimaldi, disguised as a monk, sought shelter at the castle. On obtaining entry he murdered the guard, whereupon his men appeared and captured the castle. Thus the fortress became the stronghold of the Grimaldi. This event is commemorated by a statue of François Grimaldi in the precincts of the palace and in the arms of the House of Grimaldi where François is depicted wielding a sword while in the garb of a monk


NEXT.... Dinner at Albert 1st





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