Things To Do in Monte Carlo When You’re Rich

When you’re working-class and unrecognisable your leisure options are almost without limit. There’s the camaraderie of the 45 minute wait for a two minute ride on a rollercoaster at Disney and the communal learning experience on the first Sunday of the month when the Louvre is free to students.

But when you’re burdened with wealth and celebrity you need to be much more creative with your precious vacation resources. Happily there are some destinations that are well-suited to this vexing problem. Monte Carlo, for instance, in spite of its tiny size and proximity to populist centres like Cannes and Antibes, offers a varied and diverting break from the rigours of privilege. Here are only a few of things you can do in Monte Carlo when you’re rich:

Gamble with your own kind

One of the best-kept secrets of Monte Carlo is that the stunning Grand Casino is in fact accessible and affordable to just about everyone. It has no strict dress-code, no entry fee and no visible bouncers. The table minimums are much like those at the casinos in Nice  —  €5 for roulette and €10 for Blackjack.
So enjoy this beautiful building, designed and built by Garnier in the style of his only slightly more ornate Opera in Paris and as enjoyable to simply look at as it is to play in, but guard the secret carefully or soon enough just anyone will be playing alongside the movie stars and industrialists and you.

Moor your yacht

Monaco has no natural resources apart from fresh, sea air, the entire world’s supply of descendants of Princess Grace and a deep water port. So the tiny Principality has gotten very good at crewing, docking and maintaining your floating mansion. The Condamine quarter of the city revolves around the marina and even if you’re between yachts at the moment  —  say you deliberately sank the last one because you didn’t like the colour  —  it’s still an enjoyable afternoon’s stroll to marvel at this charming part of Monte Carlo and the ostentatiousness of your comrades in kind.

Travel incognito

Although Monaco is its own country it’s effectively part of France and very much a part of the trail of beautiful cities punctuating the Cote d’Azur, like Nice, Villefranche, Ventimiglia and Genoa. Indeed, the poor employ this proximity to easily access the coast via the busy international airport at Nice and then by train from Marseille into Italy and Monte Carlo makes an excellent middle point along the way.
Anonymous working class tourists can even headquarter themselves in Monte Carlo at some of the cheaper hotels on the French side (see below) and be on the beach of Nice or among the countless markets stalls of Ventimiglia or enjoying the famous bouillabaisse of Marseille within the hour. An with a pair of dark glasses and a little confidence you can too.

Sleep safe

Obviously when selecting accommodation in Monte Carlo you’ll want to avoid down-market people-places like the Metropole which, while near the casino, asks only €350/night for a superior room overlooking the city. And you’ll particularly want to stay away from the hotels on the French side of the border  —  they’re effectively within the city itself and no more expensive than any three star hotels anywhere else in France. What’s worse is this area is charming and accessible and walking distance from the train station and everything else in Monte Carlo and hence crowded all year round with people who can’t even afford the Metropole.

Fortune and fame don’t have to stand in the way of enjoying your life and your leisure time. The odds are stacked against you but destinations like Monte Carlo can go a long way in taking the edge off.

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