June 14, 2024 New York

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This Week In Motors - ThisWeekInMotors > Blog > Formula 1 > DESTINATION GUIDE: What fans can eat, see and do when they visit Monaco for the Grand Prix

DESTINATION GUIDE: What fans can eat, see and do when they visit Monaco for the Grand Prix

Racing cars first sped through the narrow, winding streets of Monaco in 1929, and since the inaugural Formula 1 World Championship season in 1950, the Monaco Grand Prix has become one of the sport’s most prestigious events.

Tiny in size (second only to Vatican City as the world’s smallest sovereign state) but big on glamour, this gem of a principality lies just 17 miles from the Italian border on the sparkling Cote d’Azur. It shines brightest in late May during Grand Prix week.

Where and What to Eat

Situated on the Mediterranean coast with Italy and Provence as neighbors, Monegasque cuisine is a delightful blend of these influences, featuring fresh, local ingredients like fish, citrus, olives, pasta, and colorful vegetables.

Monaco boasts its own culinary specialties worth trying:

  • Stocafi: A Monegasque fish stew made with dried cod soaked for 24 hours, then stewed in a rich tomato sauce with garlic, capers, bay leaves, and black olives. It’s best enjoyed piled on fresh bread with friends.
  • Fougasse Monegasque: A sweet flatbread flavored with orange blossom water and rum, topped with almonds and anise seeds. Traditionally, it’s broken into pieces with the fist before tasting.

La Table d’Elise: This Michelin Guide-recommended brasserie serves Provencal cuisine prepared with seasonal ingredients. The open kitchen and jars of homemade preserved vegetables create a warm, inviting atmosphere.

Conscientiae: Replacing the beloved Stars ‘n’ Bars, Conscientiae offers a sustainable menu with dishes based on seasonality. From superfood breakfast bowls to sustainably caught sea bass, the food is both delicious and eco-friendly.

La Saliere: Overlooking Fontvieille port, this Italian restaurant is popular with locals and F1 drivers. Its simple, inviting space and fresh, seasonal menu make it a perfect spot for a hearty Italian meal.

Quai des Artistes: Located on Port Hercule, this restaurant offers a front-row seat to the Grand Prix paddock. With a menu mixing meat, seafood, and traditional French fare, it’s perfect for lunch in the sun.

African Queen: Just 7 minutes from Monaco by train in Beaulieu-sur-Mer, this classic French restaurant has been a favorite for over 50 years, attracting stars like Sophia Loren and The Rolling Stones.

Where to Stay

Monaco’s small size means hotel rooms can be scarce during the Grand Prix. Nearby towns like Menton, with its range of hotels and self-catering apartments, offer convenient alternatives just 20 minutes away by train.

Where to Watch the Race

Without access to a balcony overlooking the track or a friend’s boat, your best bet is a grandstand seat. The stands around the swimming pool section provide great views of the action, or aim for Grandstand B overlooking the Monte Carlo Casino for a more glamorous perspective.

Non-F1 Highlights

  • The Palace and Old Monaco: Climb the steep steps from Place D’armes to the royal residence of Prince Albert, and explore the narrow streets and picturesque buildings of old Monaco. Don’t miss the daily Changing of the Palace Guard at 11:55 am.
  • Cathedral of Monaco: Visit the imposing cathedral where Grace Kelly married Prince Rainier III and where they now rest in peace.
  • Larvotto Beach: For some sun and relaxation, head to this sandy beach with its clear waters and surrounding eateries.
  • Tete de Chien: For spectacular views of Monaco, visit this rocky promontory, the highest point on the Grande Corniche road.
  • Japanese Garden: Created in 1994, this tranquil oasis incorporates all essential elements of a Japanese garden, providing a peaceful retreat from the bustling streets.
  • Ventimiglia, Italy: Just 27km from Monaco, this vibrant town is famous for its Friday market, offering a variety of goods from fresh produce to clothing.

Fun Fact

La Distillerie de Monaco, the principality’s first and only distillery, produces liqueurs from the bitter oranges of local trees. The distillery is housed in a building that once sold leather goods, where a young Prince Albert bought his school bags.

Monaco Destination Guide

  • Currency: Euro
  • Language: French
  • Population: Approx. 39,000
  • F1 World Championship race held since: 1950

On a sunny day in May, with the sparkling Mediterranean as its backdrop, there’s nowhere quite like Monaco during the Grand Prix.

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