It has been a while since our trip to Monaco (two years, to be precise), but it left an amazing impression. Since the Monte Carlo Grand Prix is to take place this weekend, it’s a good time to impose some wisdom and share our experiences, in case any of you are going.
We made it a long weekend event – flying out on Thursday and coming back on Monday morning. We opted to stay in Nice, France, which is just a short drive away from Monte Carlo. This was a great decision, because the picturesque city was stunning and offered refuge from the Grand Prix craziness that was going on in Monaco. Our hotel was on the side of a mountain, overlooking the city and the coast.
Our first day came with a mission – go to Monaco and pick up our Grand Prix tickets. Simple, right? Well, not really. We found parking and started walking towards the ticket stands. And here comes tip #1:
Tip #1: Carefully look up maps and road closings, navigation during the Grand Prix is difficult and you may end up in a bunch of dead ends!
Tip #2: get GPS for your car or data on your phone for navigation
So, we did a lot of up and down walking to get to the ticket stand. Fortunately, it was a beautiful day and we got to admire the beautiful views that the city offers. We also watched a little bit of the Formula 3 race.
After picking up tickets (and buying team merch), we had plenty of time left in the day to explore. We hopped into the car and drove back to France, along the coast. We went past Nice, drove by Cannes, and into the small city of Frejus. Our initial goal was St. Tropez but that ended up being a bit too far. In Frejus, we visited the ruins of an ancient amphitheater and took a stroll on the beach. The coast was absolutely beautiful and if we had time, we definitely would have loved to visit more of the coastal towns. In Frejus, we got hungry, so we stopped by for drinks and tapas, which tasted great.
We then ended the day with dinner in the rooftop restaurant of Radison Blu Nice, which, again, had great food and views.
On Saturday, we went back to Monte Carlo to watch the qualifiers for Sunday’srace. We checked out our seats – Grandstand O, above the water and facing the city. We could see the pit lane, as well as parts of the finish line.
We decided to go for lunch in the immediate area, which proved to be a mistake, as everything was full and restaurants were not up to speed.
Sunday was race day! You could feel the excitement in the air. We got there early to see all the pre race events, including the drivers’ parade. Then we had lunch on the stands with food that was sold there (lines insane, but it wasn’t worth it to go back into town again).
TIP #3: bring tanning lotion! You’ll need it so that you don’t end up looking like a crab.
And then the race began! Since it was my first race, I was initially worried about recognizing the drivers, but it wasn’t an issue. It was so much fun to watch and hang out there. We loved it. When the race was over, we got to walk across the race track and as we were leaving, we heard that Benedict Cumberbatch was meeting the drivers and congratulating them! It was almost hard to tell who was more starstruck. Sadly, we didn’t see it happen.
After that, we left Monaco, went to the hotel to change and for dinner. This time, we got dinner in a small restaurant in a village on the other side of the cliff that our hotel was on. There were very few people and the food was, once again, amazing.
Sadly, that was it for our trip and we left early in the morning on Monday. We absolutely loved this trip and definitely recommend it to anybody!