Sightseeing – MONACO (Monaco Yacht Show, and Monaco for families)

It’s that time of the year when another yacht show arrives on the French Riviera.  Last week it was Cannes, this week from today until Saturday 22 September you can visit the Monaco Yacht Show, one of the most prestigious of the shows in the yachting industry.

Superyachts, megayachts and all types of other yachts (!) will be berthed at the port with exhibitor stands, brokers for yacht charters, food outlets and designer yachting goods.  Strolling the quays is a great activity for families – ‘ooh-ing’ and ‘aah-ing’ at the jetskis and latest water toys parked in the aft tender bays, or helicopters nestled on the landing platforms on the top decks.

If you have children, after visiting the Monaco Yacht Show you can stop at Parc Princesse Antoinette (Princess Antoinette Gardens), La Condamine, 54 bis boulevard du Jardin Exotique, 98000 Monaco – a free park with go-karts and a playground.  Older children can be entertained there by mini golf, badminton, ping-pong, a football pitch and basketball courts.

There are carousels near the Stade Nautique, and on the Larvotto Esplanade.  In the Fontvielle area, there is a playground by the Princess Grace Rose Garden and a carousel near the Fontvielle Big Top. Kids can wander around the Trocadéro Gardens, or after some lunch the family can enjoy time out at the children’s playground area at the end of the pedestrianised rue Princesse Caroline.

Another great spot to take the kids and escape the bustle of Monaco, is the free Japanese Garden on avenue Princesse Grace in Monte Carlo – a real oasis of serenity with   waterfalls, stone bridges and Zen gardens.

Monaco is a small country and perfectly walkable though there are many slopes and hilly parts so I would recommend using the local bus service – there are 5 bus lines which criss-cross Monaco so you are sure one that passes your destination.  Tickets are 5€ for unlimited travel for one day (under 7 years old are free).  Bus timetables and routes can be found at this link here http://www.cam.mc/plan-reseau.php Taxis are expensive; carparking and traffic jams can be horrendous at peak season.  If you travel via car, park in one of the numerous public carparks where there’s free parking for the first hour. Here is a guide to the public carparks that offer ‘first-hour free’ parking https://www.monaco-parkings.mc/establishment   Traffic infringements are taken seriously, even with foreign plates so be aware of parking rules.

Travel tip: Monaco also has pedestrian elevators and street-lifts which can help immensely when navigating around Monaco. Use them if you see one, and save yourself walking up hills.  There is an eighth (little-known) street lift if you intend to visit the Monaco Oceanarium or Palace walk to the end of the old port, to the Quai des Pêcheurs car-park. Enter and, at the back, there’s a lift and then an escalator which exits right in front of the museum.

You can take the kids to the Prince’s Palace for the Changing of the Guards every day at 11.55am sharp ( I love a free family activity!). Held in front of the royal entrance on the Palace Square, this tradition is performed in full dress uniform, black in the winter and white in the summer, and has not changed for more than 100 years.

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